Fan’s View – 2020/21 – No.40 – Blackpool at home

Article by Paul Beasley Saturday, March 20th, 2021  

SEASON 2020/21 No.40 BLACKPOOL AT HOME

Before

Tuesday night with the hand brake off, entertainment followed as did a re-igniting of play-off dreams. Pressure, in a good way, therefore remains.

Eighth in the table in real time and on a PPG basis. Blackpool though are only three points behind us with two games in hand. A win therefore is essential to push them back but they’d still only be an arm’s length away.  They’re 12th which shows how bunched the pack chasing the holy-grail which is a top six slot are.

Towards the end of October the Seasiders were second bottom but, like us, have improved noticeably.  They’re considered a form side. They’ve lost just one of their last eleven league games.

But I’m going to go down the lies, damned lies and statistics route and claim we’re on better form than they are. Blackpool have taken seven points from their last five games. We’ve taken eight. They’ve also entered one of those binary periods that all clubs do from time to time. In their last six they’ve had three one all draws, a nil-nil, and a one-nil win. For anyone pointing out that we’d not been scoring many either until Donny rocked up with a defence that could be described as “fake” I’ll point out that until then they’d not been conceding many at all. So it was all down to our pressing.

There, I’ve done it again. Talked it all up. Is this a worrying sign?

Oxford United 0 Blackpool 2

First half

The pressing being imposed from the very beginning came from them, not us, meaning they had grabbed hold of the game and we did little to wrest it back from them.

The only good passes of note that we made were those that found their way to Brandon Barker. He was our only real danger clearly being able to beat white shirts with his pace and skill. Other than that we put together zero passing moves that equalled a threat or that hinted we had the ability to keep the ball and ensure Blackpool’s dictation would be challenged.

To be fair to Mark Sykes he did look lively compared to much of what was going on and he did hit one decent shot that wasn’t that far away.

With the visitors not allowing us to play out from the back and without any weaponry to allow us to effectively go long from time to time they had us where they wanted us which, given their defensive record away from home, isn’t surprising. Doing homework wins football matches.

Attacking wise they were superior too and the two goal half time lead was fair enough. Two corners well delivered that we couldn’t deal with and a goal each time. Double pisser. And the corner for the second couldn’t have been more gift wrapped. Knocked out by Liam Kelly. I’ll cut him a bit of slack and go with the bobble that I didn’t detect at the time, didn’t help. But this little incident said so much about the pattern of the game. Once they’d pressed and marked all Blackpool had to do was wait for us to make mistakes. We were kind enough to oblige with plenty of misplaced passes.

I wrote most of this before the second period began in the hope that the second 45 minutes would be a completely different story.

Second half

Was there a turnaround? Was there bollox.

Kelly who I probably cursed by singing his praises after Donny and Alex Gorrin who hadn’t prowled and snapped in midfield to establish any territorial advantage did not re-appear. In their stead were Olamide Shodipo and Anthony Forde.

This may have resulted in a bit more pressure from us but nothing to shout too loud about and we were back to not being able to find the back of the net. Shame all defences are not as shite as Doncaster’s were.

At least we didn’t concede more but at no time gave the impression that we had it in us to get back into the game.

We weren’t winning any battles. We weren’t doing much right. With nearly three quarters of the game gone Sykes swung round and missed from inside the six yard box. Soon after Matty Taylor, a centre-forward, took a throw, a foul one. Bloody basics.

We certainly did not deserve anything from the game where as Blackpool absolutely did. They knew how to defend. They were better going forward than we were by some distance and their game management was exemplary.  Our display had me as frustrated as probably at any time this season but I also have equal frustration when it comes to this game management stuff and the way the official just go along with it. Aiding and abetting. It’s a topic I come back to every now and again. Peter Wright was another totally guilty of this. There were many times when there were little tugs which didn’t actually stop us but didn’t help and play on was quite rightly allowed but common sense says if that keeps happening get the yellow cards out sooner rather than later in the interests of football being an entertainment. The first booking didn’t arrive until the 79th minute. The recipient was Luke Garbutt who I wish had been on our side. He’d got away with a lot.

The next card came in the 88th minute and was correctly shown to Cameron Brannagan. His frustration was getting the better of him too. This was a game when he was never allowed to get on the ball.

The final yellow was given Jerry Yates two minutes later and proved that the men running the game were just as much those from Lancashire as the so-called officials. Every time we had a free-kick one of theirs stood very close to prevent us doing much meaningful with it. (Not sure why because we were quite capable of achieving that without their involvement). Broken record but this does my head in. At long last Wright actually did something about it. Then Yates walks a few yards away, stops again and picks some mud from his studs. Basically what he was doing was sticking two fingers up to Wright who was so oblivious that he had his back turned. If I’m allowed just the one set of two fingers I’d aim them at Wright over Yates any day. If a player can get away with something to help their team due to the incompetence of the officials then how can anyone blame them?

After

Head should rule heart. We’ve still not beaten a team that have played well against us this season.

I’ve banged this out pretty quickly which is in contrast to what I normally do and as is the case when we lose I refuse to look at the league table for quite some time. I am though told we’re down to eleventh. Based on today I drop back into the nowhere near good enough to get into the play-offs thinking. If a team has a half- decent defence and is fit enough to stop us playing out from the back we’re buggered. We’ve got no plan B. Well that’s what it seems to me less than an hour after the final whistle. Perhaps it’s all about getting our pressing in first as against Doncaster but I think it is probably more than that.

This was another of those games when I looked at a number of the players and thought they’re really not up to it if we’re talking challenging at the top of this division. We can beat the poorer teams and off form teams but that’s not enough.

Have I given the season up yet? Not if we get six points from the next two games. Then I’ll be straight on that league table.

And

Tiger, Erick Thohir, Anindya Bakrie, and Horst Geicke controlling power shift? New investment. Onwards and upwards or at least away from the Kassam?

Watch this space. Time will tell.

But I’ll tell you one thing – if it’s about making us one of the “top thirty Clubs” in the country those money men with the business acumen to make this happen will know if they’ve watch today’s match that we’re a long way from that.

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