HUDDERSFIELD Town came within 60 seconds of what would have been a massive Boxing Day boost.
But even the most partisan of fans would have found it hard to deny Blackpool deserved at least a share of the spoils.
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Michael Appleton’s side completely bossed the first half and had the better of the second until somehow finding themselves behind.
Anthony Gerrard, only playing after Town appealed his controversial red card at Crystal Palace last Saturday, struck on 66 minutes.
The centre-back who had cleared off the line from Tom Ince in the first half headed his first Town goal from Adam Clayton’s corner.
The breakthrough came hugely against the run of play, and certainly knocked the Seasiders out of their stride.
Jermaine Beckford came close to doubling the lead with an audacious 30-yard effort which just cleared keeper Matt Gilks’s bar.
But Blackpool survived and persevered and got their reward in the fourth minute of time added on.
Nathan Delfouneso, on loan from Aston Villa and off the bench as Appleton shuffled his pack, flicked home Ince’s low delivery.
And while Blackpool deserved their leveller, it was tough on Murray Wallace, who made his Town debut as a substitute.
Normally a centre-half, the 19-year-old came on at left-back after Calum Woods took a knock, and responded well to the challenge.
Ince is one of the hottest properties in the Championship, but Wallace worked hard to keep him subdued until losing his man late on.
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Seeing Delfouneso steer the ball home, and extend Town’s division-longest winless sequence to eight games, was a sickener.
But in reality, Simon Grayson’s side could have been one down within 20 seconds, and four behind by the break.
Town old boy Gary Taylor-Fletcher wasted that initial opportunity by shooting over, then headed wide from another good position.
Ince played a lovely one-two with Taylor-Fletcher only to put his shot too high, then Wes Thomas drove wide on the turn.
Next, with Town looking distinctly sluggish, Isaiah Osbourne sauntered through and put an angled shot across the face of goal.
Then Ince had a shot blocked before Thomas fired one effort wide and another over while Gerrard thwarted Ince with Town in disarray.
Home skipper and Blackpool old boy Peter Clarke screwed an attempted clearance into his own side-netting in another let off for Town.
And Alex Smithies denied both Thomas and Taylor Fletcher, before Town’s first real chance in the 61st minute.
While Beckford headed wide from Clayton’s cross, Gerrard made no mistake five minutes later, but sadly Town couldn’t hold out.