Blackpool batter woeful Wigan
Blackpool opened up their debut Premier League campaign with an emphatic 4-0 victory away to Wigan.
By Jamie Casey
Last Updated: 14/08/10 7:06pm
Newly-promoted Blackpool opened up their debut Premier League campaign with an emphatic 4-0 victory away to Wigan Athletic.
The Seasiders took full advantage of a shocking display from the Latics and held a three-goal lead at the break thanks to a Gary Taylor-Fletcher strike and a brace from debutant Marlon Harewood.
Wigan upped their game in the early stages of the second half but the away side frustrated Roberto Martinez's team by piling men behind the ball to protect their lead.
And Wigan's misery, in particular keeper Chris Kirkland's, was complete when Alex Baptiste's hopeful cross somehow beat the former England international at his near post on 75 minutes.
Home fans then left the stadium in their thousands and the remaining Latics inside the ground booed their side at the final whistle, with boss Martinez sure to come under pressure following the display.
Blackpool's performance was made all the more remarkable by the fact that Harewood, Elliot Grandin and Craig Cathcart were not even at Bloomfield Road at the start of the week.
Once the champagne corks have stopped popping and a breath can be taken, Ian Holloway will be pointing out that in Blackpool's remaining 37 games, they will probably not be meeting a team quite as woeful as Wigan were.
It appears Martinez has not managed to instil any defensive discipline into his team and the omission of Charles N'Zogbia suggests unrest in the camp.
The winger is the subject of transfer speculation and is reportedly keen to leave the side, who looked well short of the quality required to survive in the division.
Gaping holes were evident from the second minute, when Brett Ormerod twice failed to turn home relatively simple chances from the centre of the six-yard box.
Harewood also put a header wide and the sense of foreboding among the home support began to grow. Those worries turned out to be completely justified.
When the excellent Charlie Adam found Harewood, Ormerod made his way across the box, dragging a couple of defenders with him before allowing the ball to run on to Taylor-Fletcher at the far post.
For a play-off scorer at Wembley, tapping home unmarked was easy.
A second should have followed when Harewood was sent clean through, only for Kirkland to make an excellent save. It was a brief reprieve.
The next time Harewood got hold of the ball, he tried his luck from the edge of the area. Kirkland appeared to have the effort covered but somehow allowed the ball to slip through his grasp.
Audible boos from the home support turned into full-scale dissension two minutes before the break when Kirkland failed to hold a Grandin effort and Harewood tapped home the rebound.
Yet the cat-calls were drowned out by the celebrations amongst the visiting fans, who could not have imagined in their wildest dreams that their top-flight return would turn out quite like this.
That Wigan improved after the break was not saying much.
Steve Gohouri had a goal incorrectly disallowed at the start of the second period that might have made a difference and Mauro Boselli saw his angled header clip the bar.
None of this erased the truth of a truly horrendous performance that must place major question marks over Martinez, even at this early stage, and the knowledge Chelsea are to be faced next week will not bring any consolation.
For Blackpool, that is an irrelevance. They will have their own bad days this season, perhaps even worse ones than Wigan endured.
But that sea of orange will gorge on this incredible day for a long time and when Baptiste caught Kirkland out with a shot from the touchline that crept in at the near post, it left them looking down on Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and the rest.The league giants had not yet played of course, but Blackpool fans will not be bothered by that.
|Wigan Athletic||Team Statistics||Blackpool|
|0||1st Half Goals||3|
|5||Shots on Target||6|
|4||Shots off Target||3|