News24

Blackpool, Fulham deadlocked

2010-08-28 18:37

Blackpool - Fulham midfielder Dickson Etuhu hit a late equaliser to rescue a 2-2 draw against Blackpool and deny the Seasiders a win in their first home game in the top-flight for 39 years.

Mark Hughes' side took the lead as Bobby Zamora underlined his international credentials in front of England coach Fabio Capello.

Blackpool, promoted via the Championship play-offs last season, roared back to the delight of a full house at their tiny 15 000 capacity Bloomfield Road thanks to a John Pantsil own goal and Luke Varney's debut strike.

But the hosts, whose first scheduled home fixture against Wigan two weeks ago had been switched due to work on the ground, were denied in the closing moments when Etuhu slotted home.

Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale, reportedly a candidate for the England squad for next month's Euro 2012 qualifiers, made a good stop early on to deny Varney.

Blackpool had the ball in the net after 18 minutes but Brett Ormerod's header following a cross from Charlie Adam was ruled out for offside.

Varney was looking lively and skipped past Pantsil two minutes later, only to find the wrong side of the post with his effort.

Fulham made the breakthrough in the 35th minute with a simple move that split the Blackpool defence.

Damien Duff slipped the ball through to Moussa Dembele, who delivered it into the centre and Zamora sent a powerful header beyond goalkeeper Matt Gilks.

Ian Holloway's side responded well after half-time and Stockdale spilled the ball following a challenge by Varney.

It fell to Elliot Grandin and he found the net but again Blackpool were out of luck.

Referee Mike Oliver ruled that Stockdale had been fouled and disallowed Grandin's effort leaving Holloway incensed on the touchline.

Blackpool drew level in the 70th minute when Varney's shot came off Aaron Hughes and back to Pantsil, who diverted the ball past his own goalkeeper.

With Zamora going off after taking a knock Fulham appeared to have lost their way a little.

And Blackpool took the lead in the 76th minute through Varney, signed on loan from Derby earlier this week, who fired across Stockdale after a defence-splitting pass by Ormerod.

That goal drew a superb response from Fulham and they drew level in the 87th minute when Etuhu lobbed Gilks after being released by Dembele.

AFP