Pre-season Match Review: Blackburn Rovers (h)

Blackpool fell to a 3-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers on a blustery evening at Bloomfield Road, it was an experimental side for Blackpool while the likes of former Premier League players Bradley Johnson, Lewis Holtby and Adam Armstrong appeared for the visitors.

First Half

Line up: Sims, Howe, Nottingham, Trialist, Mitchell (trialist), Antwi, Virtue, Devitt, Shaw, Feeney, Sarkic

The stream was difficult to watch in that the replays were played very slowly, but didn’t actually show much action. The rain also didn’t help with working out which player was on the ball. Positively, Bloomfield Road looked good in the rain from the new camera angle on the East Stand, and the pitch looks in good nick.

On the pitch, Rovers took the lead in the fourth minute, a strong header from Ben Brereton who’d gone close a moment earlier with a rasping effort. He nearly bagged his second a couple of minutes later, but his header came off the post – the assistant had his flag up on this occasion.

Blackpool then started to get a grip of things, Feeney finding himself clean through one-on-one, with Nathan Shaw in support. The assist King could’ve picked out the youngster for a tap-in, but instead opted to go alone and had his shot saved. Oliver Sarkic also had a couple of efforts, though they were fairly tame efforts which didn’t make the keeper work too hard.

Pool were victims of our own downfall with Jack Sims coming to the rescue on a couple of occasions, with the midfield playing wayward passes to allow Rovers to test the young keeper.

Sims was a standout performer over the opening 20 minutes, but then tried a back-heel when being chased down by the attacker and was nearly punished, before the trialist slid in to prevent a second goal for the visitors.

Brereton was finding space in between the two trialists on the left side of defence, who understandably looked like they were playing together for the first time, and added his second goal on 29 minutes, with a ball played through and he raced clear of the two to slot past the keeper. The midfield failed to close Blackburn down, allowing them time to turn and slide a pass through to the front man.

Matty Virtue pulled one back for the Seasiders 10 minutes later with a tidy finish after being slipped in by Michael Nottingham, meaning Pool had something to build on going into the second half. That said, the stream didn’t show the goal as it was still stuck on the previous replay in ultra slow motion.

Winners: Sims, Nottingham, Trialist, Mitchell (trialist)

Losers: Howe, Antwi, Devitt

Second half

Subs: ON Alex Fojtíček, Jordan Thorniley, Ben Garrity OFF: Sims, Nottingham, Devitt

The second half was breft of action as both sides made a few changes and allowed the pace of the game to slow. Garrity sured up the midfield a little, while Pool looked toothless in attack without Jerry Yates on the pitch.

Nathan Shaw showed some good feet to get past his marker and through on goal, but his effort went wide of the far post from a tight angle.

Alex Fojtíček looked competent and decisive in goal, while Howe seemed to struggle after picking up a knock.

73 mins – subs: ON: James Husband, Grant Ward. OFF: Mitchell (trialist), Virtue

The game then began to open up. Shaw did well in the middle, taking on a couple of players and sliding in Feeney for a golden chance, who tried to take the shot early and chip over the goalkeeper, but the ball didn’t come down and ended up high and wide.

Blackburn then had a chance to add a third with a free-kick on the edge of the area, in a similar position to that of Gylfi Sigurdsson at the weekend, albeit at the other end of the goal. Fortunately Fojtíček was perfectly positioned and able to catch comfortably.

Rovers added a third with three minutes to play, Fojtíček getting his feet tied up and losing the ball when challenged by two attackers, Dolan slotting into the open goal.

Summary

In truth, it was a dour game of football that wasn’t really worth the £6 – particularly following such an exciting game against Everton at the weekend. It appears that Critchley has selected his preferred XI ahead of the weekend’s game and we won’t see too many of tonight’s lineup in that fixture from the start. There’s plenty of work to be done in the next fortnight, ahead of the opening league fixture at Plymouth Argyle as we look to finalise our squad for the upcoming campaign.

Winners: Trialist, Mitchell (trialist)

Losers: Howe, Devitt

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Published by Tom Johnson

Seaside exile living in Leeds. Been watching the Pool home and away since 2001

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