Blackpool 2-2 Nottingham Forest, Tuesday 23rd October
Nottingham Forest striker Dexter Blackstock came off the bench to score a dramatic late equaliser as the Reds took a point away at Blackpool on Tuesday evening, writes Shaun Wheatcroft.
Southampton loanee Billy Sharp opened the goal-scoring with his second in as many games tapping the ball home five minutes shy of the half-hour mark.
The Reds went in at the break with the lead and looked to have weathered the storm until Blackpool boss Ian Holloway made some key substitutes that turned the match temporarily in the hosts favour.
In the space of five minutes Blackpool led after two goals from Elliott Grandin and Gary Taylor-Fletcher. However – substitute Blackstock came to the Reds’ rescue with his last-gasp goal earning his side a deserved point.
The Seasiders began the game brightly and the highly-rated Thomas Ince caused problems for the Forest defence immediately playing a measured pass to Blackpool defender Stephen Crainey who fired against the woodwork.
Veteran Reds midfielder Andy Reid was the architect of the away sides first attack of note – surging down the left before finding Simon Cox who struck over the bar unmarked from 12-yards – but the Republic of Ireland forward was flagged offside anyway.
Forest did soon open the scoring thanks to another goal from Sharp who opened his account for the Reds against Cardiff at the weekend. The experienced forward reacted quickly when Greg Halford’s shot looped towards him to strike past Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks from close-range.
And before the half time whistle Sharp came close to grabbing his second when Brendan Moloney fed the ball through to the former Sheffield United frontman whose shot was deflected wide.
The visitors began the second half as they had ended the first with some great attacking play. Polish midfielder Radi Majewski nearly forced a goal when his cross was almost turned in by Blackpool defender Alex Baptiste.
And soon after Reid came close to netting against his former club with a trademark free-kick that flew just wide of the target from long-range.
However it was Blackpool that looked to have turned the game when they hit an equaliser followed by another strike within the space of five second-half minutes.
Scottish international Matt Phillips crossed from the right-wing and Frenchman Grandin was sharp to react - beating the Forest defence to power home a header past Lee Camp in the Reds’ goal.
Then moments later Ian Holloway’s men grabbed another when a sloppy clearance fell to Taylor-Fletcher on the edge of the area –the forward needed no invitation to shoot and fired home well past Camp.
Jermaine Jenas and Blackstock were introduced to the action for the Reds as they looked to get back into the game.
Sharp came close to an equaliser with a late effort that struck wide but it was his strike partner Blackstock that had the final say as Reid picked out the frontman in the area and the Antigua and Barbuda international chested the ball down and slotted coolly into the net.
The Reds now sit in 10th position in the Championship table and are two points from the Play-Off positions. They face Barnsley next in the league at Oakwell on Saturday 27th October. Kick-off is at 3pm.
Nottingham Forest: Camp, Halford, Ayala (Moloney, 44), Collins (c), Harding, Gillett (Blackstock, 81), Cohen, Majewski (Jenas, 77), Reid, Cox, Sharp.
Blackpool: Gilks, Crainey, Eardley (Dicko, 69), Evatt, Phillips, Gomes (Grandin, 59), Ince, Taylor-Fletcher, Sylvestre (Delfouneso, 69), Baptiste (c), Osbourne.
Man of the match: Chris Cohen
Referee: Eddie Ilderton
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