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Blackpool caretaker manager Barry Ferguson 'gutted' after late Billy Sharp equaliser

25 January 2014

Barry Ferguson was denied a first win in caretaker charge of Blackpool but he felt he had done a good job despite watching Billy Sharp nick a late point for Doncaster Rovers.

Andy Halliday looked to have given the home side a win with his debut strike on 78 minutes but Sharp popped up with a late header to salvage a 1-1 draw for the visitors.

It was one-way traffic in the first half as a rejuvenated Blackpool side looked to stem a run of nine defeats in 10 games.

But they were missing wantaway striker Tom Ince - who was excluded from Ferguson's matchday squad - and Blackpool perhaps lacked the quality to snatch all three points.

"I loved every minute of it; you could see that on the sidelines," said Ferguson. "I'm just gutted for the boys because they gave me absolutely everything out there.

"I was nervous when I woke up. It was a mixture of emotions, I was nervous, excited.

"But I knew after the training session on Thursday when I took the boys - they gave me hard work and commitment and I knew they'd do that for me today.

"It was probably the shortest team talk they've ever had. I just gave them a couple of minutes on Doncaster but I wanted to focus on us. Today was about us.

"We played some good stuff today and got the one goal but we could've had more.

"I've decided as soon as or if I take over then I'll hang up my boots, it wasn't difficult not to pick myself today."

The Seasiders were full of endeavour from the first whistle and Steven Davies might have put them one goal ahead had he not been hauled down by Bongani Khumalo as he sped through on goal.

In the ninth minutes, a ball over the top of the back four from Isaiah Osbourne sent Michael Chopra free in behind, but the striker could only fire straight at the advancing Ross Turnbull.

With the next attack the hosts carved out another good opening.

This time Davies was the architect when he sent a delivery across the face of the goal from the left, only for Chopra to inexplicably miss the ball completely from six yards out.

The Tangerine tide continued to consume the Doncaster half and, with the opening period drawing to a close, Chopra was denied by Turnbull for a second time, with his turn and shot palmed away.

Doncaster slowly began to turn the tide and Coppinger forced Matt Gilks into making two decent saves - the first a low shot from the edge of the box on 63 minutes and the second a curling 20-yard effort the Pool keeper clawed away from the top right-hand corner.

Tiredness appeared to be creeping into the legs of the men in orange and Paul Dickov's side should have taken the lead when a lofted Paul Keegan pass found Chris Brown inside the area, only for the striker to blaze over the bar.

But just as the visitors looked to have taken control, a hopeful ball into the box by Jack Robinson ended up at the feet of Davies and, though he could not connect with his shot, substitute Halliday prodded home from close range to give Blackpool the lead.

Ferguson's side looked to have snatched victory but with the clock ticking down Sharp got the faintest of touches on a David Cotterill free-kick to earn Doncaster a share of the spoils.

Doncaster boss Dickov said: "It looks as though he (Billy Sharp) nicked it and that's what he's been brought here for.

"We played better and created more chances when we played Blackburn up here a few weeks ago and they beat us 1-0.

"But we've got a fox-in-the-box striker who can score you goals and today he's managed to nick us a point.

"I feel given the quality of our delivery and the size of the team we should score more goals from set-pieces and we managed to do that today.

"We struggled to find our feet in the first half; they came storming out of the blocks as I knew they would do knowing Barry (Ferguson). But we slowly got into the game and I felt we deserved the goal when it came.

"It's a massive psychological advantage to move out of the bottom three. I told them before the game, let's get out of the bottom three today, get a result, and then kick on from there and that's what we've managed to do."

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