Blackpool drew to Accrington Stanley for the second time this season and weren’t allowed to play the sort of passing, free flowing football that wins us matches.
There are four players for Blackpool who hardly saw the ball. And those are our four key attacking players. When Yates was in possession, he looked the best player on the pitch, but he barely got a look in.
Blackpool looked unadventurous and unimaginative, choosing to hold onto the ball and go back rather than play the through ball and find the runner. It’s the sort of Pool performance we haven’t seen since the run of draws in the first half of March. It’s a reminder that though there have been 7 football matches since then, it’s still not that long ago. That’s two draws Blackpool have had against Accrington this season and if they can’t score more than a single goal against a side that have conceded more than 5 goals on several occasions this season and not get a win, then it doesn’t bode well for our on-the-day performances in the playoffs, *if* we make it that far. It’s another reminder that this is still League 1 and though Blackpool might look the best team in the division when they get the ball on the deck and play football, if a team stops them doing that we have no plan b.
That said, their keeper made a couple of cracking saves early on in the match to stop Pool going ahead and Kaikai had an open net in the second half that he should have put his foot through and buried. Instead, his side-footed shot allowed them time to get men back and block on the line.
Biggest positive to take from the game is that we didn’t lose, which I really didn’t think I’d be saying after 90 minutes, especially given that I bet on pool to win 5-1. Though given both teams’ performances recently, I think I can be forgiven. (Also, it was only 80p and at 110/1 I thought worth a punt). Maxwell saved a penalty in the 88th minute to protect Blackpool’s unbeaten run and it was a brilliant save. He got down low and stopped the shot, which was hit hard, managing to follow up the save and land safely on the ball. Excellent shot stopping and a piece of essential brilliance from our captain and last line of defence.
That is almost certainly our chances at automatic promotion gone. Next stop, cementing a playoff place and ensuring we have the confidence and run of form to do well when we get there.
I do wonder why Critchley didn’t make any changes. Simms plays brilliantly when those around him do, but when they don’t, I feel like we lack that little bit of brilliance or class that will find a way to win in any game, no matter how mediocre the performance. I think I would have brought on Demi Mitchell for Simms on 60 minutes.
Left back Luke Garbutt hit the inside of the post on 72 minutes and it was the sort of thing that might have been the difference between the two sides in such a match. I wonder if Blackpool looked a bit cagey. Though they’ve played some incredible football recently, it’s hardly been the whole season and I wonder if the accolades and the pressure is getting to them, especially considering we’re slightly short on personnel at the minute.
Next stop, Sunderland on Saturday at Bloomfield Road. We tend to play better against the better teams. Can we get back to our scoring ways?