Star Phillips gives Blackpool a Matt finish

Matty Phillips
Matty Phillips

Matt Phillips must think all of his Christmases had come at once when he hit a Boxing Day hat-trick for Blackpool.

Phillips cancelled out Barnsley’s 18th-minute opener with a thumping low drive shortly before half-time, cracked in an even better effort midway through the second period and made sure of the points with a late penalty.

The Aylesbury-born star, who is the cousin of Wigan Athletic defender Emmerson Boyce, enjoyed his best game for Blackpool after returning from a productive loan spell at League One Sheffield United and came off the pitch to high praise from madcap manager Ian Holloway.

“He’s been absolutely on fire and I’m delighted for him,” said Holloway.

“It’s all about confidence and he built that up at Sheffield United.

“I loaned him out to get a bit of confidence because England (Under-20s) ruined him in the summer. He didn’t score and they didn’t get any goals (in the Under-20 World Cup).

“He was a problem to them all afternoon so ‘well done son’. All I can say is that I’m glad I’m retired because when you see a player built like that who can run with the ball like that...”