April 16, 2013
Rivals boost survival hopes
Blackpool and Sheffield Wednesday were pulled one point closer to the npower Championship relegation zone as they played out a drab goalless draw.
Results elsewhere meant the the Owls are now just three points clear of the drop zone while the Tangerines are one point better off.
The visitors subjected their opponents to a barrage of early pressure but Matt Gilks pulled off a string of crucial saves to keep the scores level.
Paul Ince's men settled as the half progressed, with Thomas Ince having his side's best opportunity tipped around a post by Chris Kirkland.
The second half saw the match become a fitting contest for the appalling quality of playing surface at Bloomfield Road, as chances became increasingly difficult to come by.
The Seasiders were unchanged from the side that picked up a 1-0 victory over Burnley at the weekend, while Danny Pugh and Steve Howard replaced Reda Johnson and Leroy Lita for Wednesday after their 2-1 defeat at Elland Road on Saturday.
Jermaine Johnson forced Gilks into an early save when he latched onto the end of a Steve Howard cross with a volley inside the opening minute but the Blackpool goalkeeper was equal to it.
Gilks needed to be alert once again just a few minutes later, as Johnson capitalised on some lax defending to surge into the penalty area, only to see his shot tipped around a post.
The hosts continued to invite pressure with their questionable defending - Giles Coke the next to drill a fizzing effort from 25 yards, but Gilks once again came to the rescue.
As their goalkeeper performed heroics at one end of the pitch, Blackpool struggled to settle at the other, with chances few and far between for the Seasiders in the opening stages.
Ince tried to force the issue after 19 minutes when he sent a left-footed effort wide of the right post from 20 yards.
Wednesday goalkeeper Kirkland was called into action for the first time shortly after, as he dived to stop a Ludovic Sylvestre effort from distance.
Despite being under-utilised in the opening 20 minutes, Kirkland showed no ill-effects as he came to the fore again to tip a close-range effort from Ince around a post.
A furious Johnson felt he was stamped on by Stephen Crainey 10 minutes before the break, but it was the Wednesday man who went into the book for his overzealous protests.
The hosts went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock shortly after half-time as Kirk Broadfoot headed against the crossbar from an Ince corner.
Kirkland had to wait until the 86th minute to be called upon to make a save in a second half largely void of goalscoring opportunities, with Gilks' first action coming in stoppage time as he parried a late Chris Maguire shot.