Blackpool 2 United 3
After going two goals down United engineered a remarkable comeback to take all three points at Bloomfield Road.
Sir Alex Ferguson shuffled his pack for the trip to Bloomfield Road, Anderson and Giggs dropped to the bench to be replaced by Gibson and Scholes. O`Shea missed out altogether as Rafael returned from suspension, whilst Smalling continued to deputise for Ferdinand. On the bench, easing his way into first team contention was our new keeper, Anders Lindegaard.
Incidentally, the 19:30 kick-off was the first in the Premier League for almost four years, strange considering it used to be the norm.
Team - Van der Sar, Evra, Smalling, Vidic, Rafael, Nani, Scholes, Fletcher, Gibson, Berbatov, Rooney
Subs - Lindegaard, Fabio, Evans, Anderson Giggs, Owen, Hernandez
After a slightly delayed kick-off it was United that looked the more lively team in the opening ten minutes. Sir Alex had obviously compiled a game-plan to nullify Charlie Adam by asking Fletcher to man-mark him.
But the home side were to take a surprise lead when Craig Cathcart, a former United youngster, scored. Adam took a corner and Cathcart powered home a header, from eight yards out, for his first ever goal for Ian Holloway`s tangerine army.
Blackpool 1 United 0 (Cathcart - 15 minutes)
United, a goal down, tried to get back into the game. Rooney and Berbatov started to link well, but it was to be Blackpool that were to come the closest and almost doubling their lead. Varney fed Campbell but the striker shot over the bar. Previous to that, Van der Sar had performed miracles to produce a save to prevent Vidic scoring a spectacular own goal after a stooping header went wrong.
Sir Alex sensing it wasn`t going to plan, swapped from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 moving Rooney up alongside Berbatov. Our hosts were continuing to test us defensively and Van der Sar watched anxiously as Varney`s deflected shot crept over the bar.
As half time approached, United started to get going, Kingson, having recovered from a head knock received at the weekend, saved Rafael`s header before Berbatov fired wide from outside the box. But United were to leave themselves a mountain to climb when they conceded a second before half time.
The scorer was DJ Campbell who netted after United failed to deal with another set-piece. Van der Sar had done well to tip a Vaughan sot around the post but when Adam`s corner was flicked on by Gibson, Campbell was lurking a the far post to nod home.
Blackpool 2 United 0 (Campbell - 43 minutes)
It has to be said that as the half time whistle sounded, Blackpool deserved their two goal lead.
Half Time - Blackpool 2 United 0
Sir Alex shuffled his pack at half time introducing Giggs for Gibson.
United started the half well and almost reduced the arrears but Fletcher, flicking on a Giggs corner, saw his effort hacked off the line. Blackpool were then deprived of a penalty when Rafael clearly fouled Varney but Peter Walton waved, much to our delight, play on.
United continued to press and Kingson was forced to deny Scholes palming away his long range effort. Sir Alex further shuffled his pack introducing Hernandez for Rooney.
As the game began to slip away Scholes forced a good save from Kingson, with a long range shot before Hernandez, one-on-one with Kingson saw the keeper do well to save with his feet. The pressure paid dividends though when Berbatov finally did reduce the arrears with the goal coming after Berbatov volleyed home a Fletcher cross.
Blackpool 2 United 1 (Berbatov - 72 minutes)
Two minutes later United were level when Hernandez scored with the Mexican making arrears for his earlier failure to beat Kingson one-on-one by collecting Giggs through ball and finishing with aplomb.
Blackpool 2 United 2 (Hernandez - 74 minutes)
Could United force a winner to make a remarkable comeback? Rafael departed the action after a clash of heads. But just as you thought United would have to settle for a share of the points Berbatov popped up to ensure all three points were ours collecting a ball from Scholes to smash home his 20th goal of the season.
Blackpool 2 United 3 (Berbatov - 88 minutes)
With that Rafael injury there was an excessive amount of stoppage time to navigate. Blackpool after giving their all looked a shadow of the side who had torn us apart in the first half and the points were ours.
Full Time - Blackpool 2 United 3
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