Hull 2 Blackpool 3: Luck is in for Holloway as bench strength beats Hull

WATCH out for Ian Holloway putting on his midweek lottery numbers somewhere in the north-west today.

After showing the midas touch by virtue of two inspired substitutions, which reaped almost instant dividends by way of goals, the Blackpool boss is entitled to think his luck is definitely in.

For Hull counterpart Steve Bruce, there was a touch of disbelief with an impressive, largely free-flowing second period blighted by two defensive aberrations, which followed the charitable nature of Saturday’s home loss to Peterborough.

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Having seen City get so much right after shrugging off the early blow of going a goal down to a blistering Matt Phillips strike and forge a deserved 2-1 lead thanks to cracking goals from Sone Aluko and Stephen Quinn and threaten at several more, Bruce probably didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the final whistle.

As the saying goes, managers earn their corn at half-time and by way of substitutions Holloway’s first inspired move came when he threw old goal-slinger Kevin Phillips into the fray, with the veteran netting within four minutes of his introduction.

Then after introducing Nouha Dicko after 75 minutes, Holloway came up trumps again with the sub’s fine overhead kick settling the contest seven minutes from time as Hull slumped to their second successive home reverse and third loss in a row.

Bruce may have alluded to the unpredictability of the Championship ahead of last night’s fixture, but the pre-match promise of goals – with Hull and Blackpool plundering 29 in 16 games between them this term – proved a sound one.

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Both sides showed their qualities on the deck on a slick surface early on, before the visitors drew first blood in the 11th minute.

Abdoulaye Faye inexplicably failed to cut out a routine throughball and with Hull stretched, a slide-rule pass from Tiago Gomes picked out Nathan Delfouneso close to the byline. His inviting cut-back was clinically fired home into the top corner by Matt Phillips.

After banging the drum about the need to cut out the errors before the game, Bruce’s warning clearly had fallen on deaf ears, with one or two more mistakes subsequently putting City on the back foot, which is never advisable against an adventurous side like Blackpool.

It took some slick work involving Robert Koren and Quinn to create Hull’s first substantive chance with Jay Simpson’s close-range acrobatic effort deflected wide and soon after the Tigers’ top-scorer blazed over after more home enterprise.

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A terrific last-ditch tackle from Alex Bruce denied Delfouneso after another Faye faux pas before Simpson warmed the hands of Matt Gilks after Neal Eardley’s error. Eardley then had a major let-off after a decidedly untidy-looking challenge on Aluko inside the box wasn’t penalised by referee Stuart Mathieson, much to the home fans’ ire – and Aluko’s.

Fortunately the former Rangers man, who spent a brief spell at Bloomfield Road earlier in his career, had more to smile about on 40 minutes. The summer signing brought the home fans to their feet, firing home a stunner after his purposeful run ended with a magical swerving drive which beat Gilks for his third goal of the campaign.

Simpson’s control then let him down when through on goal after Aluko’s clever pass, as Hull finished the half in the ascendancy. They carried on where they left on after the interval.

A break down the left saw Aluko send over a teasing low cross, which was turned in effortlessly by ex-Blackpool target Quinn, low past Gilks’s left-hand post.

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Quinn then saw his goalbound strike deflected just over, with the Tigers’ swagger courting plenty of favour with the KC faithful.

Aluko in particular was posing problems for the flustered Blackpool rearguard and after seeing an effort ruled out for offside, his sharp header flew just off target.

At the other end, Blackpool’s attacking armoury looked blunted and it was no surprise when Holloway threw on Phillips on 67 minutes. It proved a shrewd move.The poacher supreme soon bundled home almost on the goalline after Stephen Crainey’s curling free-kick was turned across goal by the unmarked Ian Evatt – with the home back four failing to cover themselves in glory once again.

It was galling for boss Bruce, whose side had hitherto dominated the second period.

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Simpson then blazed over before City’s defense was all at sea again on 83 minutes and with Ben Amos stranded out of goal, Kevin Phillips latched onto the loose ball with his centre expertly hooked in by Dicko.

Hull City: Amos; McShane, Faye, Bruce (Rosenior 45); Elmohamady, Koren, Olofinjana, Quinn, Dudgeon (Mclean 85); Simpson, Aluko. Unused substitutes: Oxley, Dawson, McKenna, Evans, Proschwitz.

Blackpool: Gilks; Eardley, Baptiste, Evatt, Crainey; Ferguson, Gomes (K Phillips 67), Osbourne; Delfouneso (Sylvestre 80), Taylor-Fletcher, M Phillips (Dicko 74). Unused substitutes: Halstead, Basham, Angel, Eccleston.

Referee: S Mathieson (Cheshire).