City 1, Blackpool 2

It's a pity no-one actually got to see this performance.

City produced a really positive display yesterday against Championship opposition before going down to an 89th-minute sucker-punch.

However, the game was played behind closed doors' at Coral Windows Stadium with only a handful of press and a smattering of squad members watching. They doubled up as ball-boys.

All that could be heard was the constant din of players shouting for the ball, barked instructions from coaching staff and a lone radio man giving the most bizarre full commentary of his career in surreal surroundings.

Boss Stuart McCall was delighted with the performance but joked: "I did think the crowd was a bit disappointing today. I thought they might have been a bit noisier!"

He could afford a smile after seeing City quickly put behind them their woeful loss at Conference outfit York.

This was more like their impressive draw with Burnley and McCall admitted: "It was a lot better.

"After the disappointment of the York defeat, there was some top performances and if we can keep the performances from those two home games for down here against Macclesfield when we kick off proper, I'll be well pleased."

Barnsley loanee Thomas Harban came in for injured right back Darren Williams and slotted in well while Joe Colbeck rested a knock, meaning Omar Daley was promoted from the bench.

Eddie Johnson also won a starting spot alongside Paul Evans to form a very useful midfield partnership while trialist Alex Rhodes featured on the left wing.

Rhodes had a couple of early opportunities with two left-foot strikes as City started brightly but it was Blackpool who opened the scoring with a classic effort on 17 minutes.

Former Sheffield Wednesday star John Hills showed just why he had been a summer target for McCall.

The winger worked a clever one-two down the left to create himself space before swinging in an inch-perfect cross from deep.

Striker Andy Morrell was perfectly positioned to scoop it up at the far side of the penalty box, looping a header back past the helpless Donovan Ricketts into the opposite corner of the net.

Hills went close later on as well with a volleyed shot that the keeper did well to turn behind with a spectacular save.

But City were not overawed by their visitors, who boasted talent such as former Leeds left back Stephen Crainey and former Huddersfield duo Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Paul Rachubka, along with one-time Bantams favourite Claus Jorgensen.

Commanding at the back and competitive in midfield, they made Blackpool work hard throughout.

Nathan Joynes also produced some delightful touches up front and it was one of his neat turns that handed City a position to equalise seven minutes before the break.

Blackpool skipper Michael Jackson was caught out by the striker's deft roll away and ruthlessly hacked him down 25 metres out. Eager Evans made an immediate beeline for the ball and it was soon obvious why.

The City terrier has obviously been practising his dead-balls; he stepped up to deliver a cracking free-kick that curled straight into the top right-hand corner, leaving Rachubka flailing.

Daley moved up front after Barry Conlan was taken off at half-time, Rhodes switching to the right and allowing Xavi Barrau a chance on the left.

The Frenchman fared well and produced some clever work down the line while willingly fighting back to scrap for possession.

Daley just shaved the crossbar with one rasping drive after cutting inside off a Barrau pass while Johnson went close with a header after Daley's fine cross.

City were rarely threatened in the second half but suffered the hammer blow when Ben Burgess roamed down the right channel and was allowed to square for fellow substitute David Fox to race into the box and side-foot home.

McCall said: "That was probably just a bit of tiredness. They put a lot of fresh legs on in the second half while we only used a couple.

"It was disappointing to lose in the last minute. I don't think we deserved that but it was a good display.

"York had too many chances against us at the weekend and we wanted to sort that out.

"We've worked on our shape and we did look better yesterday. The back lads were excellent and the middle two - Paul Evans and Eddie Johnson - were too.

"Evo was disappointed with his performance at York but he linked well yesterday and got all over the pitch, while his goal was great."

McCall added: "We were a lot stronger and Blackpool didn't have too many chances at all.

"Their first goal you just have to hold your hands up and admit it was a great effort. It would have graced any game and we can't complain but they didn't trouble us too much.

"We need to work a little bit more in the final third but we've got to remember also we were up against Championship defenders yesterday so overall, collectively and individually, I was well pleased.

"Now I've said to them we don't want to go again from Burnley down to York and then from Blackpool down to Halifax on Saturday. We have to keep it up."

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