Progress. A word that is our motto and stitched on the Blackpool badge. Signs are showing that improvements are steadily coming to the forefront, though we are still susceptible to counter attacks as proved by Crewe’s only real solid chance that provided them their goal.
1. MJ Williams
What a very assured performance from the midfield man. He did the simple stuff but he did it well and had a calming influence on the midfield. In the past, we have had an urgency which has rushed our decision making and made us panic on the ball, ultimately conceding possession. MJ provides the option of the short ball. A simple, easy pass which can slow things down and make us think on our decision making for a better final ball. He also allowed Ethan Robson to play further forwards and have more of an impact in the opposition’s half.
2. Ollie Turton
Another one who doesn’t get the credit for doing the simple stuff week in and out. Mr reliable, who won’t set the world on fire but will put a shift in and barely put a foot wrong. He had a MOTM performance for me yesterday, saw plenty of the ball and was consistent in defence.
3. Balance in Midfield
We need that protection of a defensive midfielder and we looked more solid in the middle of the park. Yes, Robson can do a job in that position but it’s not his preffered role – he has a natural sense to move forward with the ball and impose his attacking style with his passing. I question whether he has the discpline to remain at the back through long periods of the game and felt he is better in an advanced position, letting MJ be the protection instead. That’s another reason why the additional signing of Aussie Kenny Dougall makes complete sense. The shape was more balanced and we really benefitted from that against Crewe.
4. Heads held high
The response to going 1-0 down was the best I’ve seen this season. We were victims of lots of possession and no clear chances and it could have easily been ‘one of those games’. So I’m proud of the response by the 11 on the pitch. They responsed well, instead of completely losing their heads like against Ipswich a week earlier. They had confidence and it showed, this resilience will be needed and I’m glad it’s getting tested earlier on in season. The emotion from the players when we equalised was clear to see.
5. We’ve got a target man
It’s not 100% yet but it feels like we have a clear option up front in Madine. He moans, he throws his arms about but he’s a constant pain for the opposition and is someone to aim for. The goal came from a rebounded Madine effort. We just need to get him firing more consistently and the goals will come for Gary.
1. Their Goal
Again we conceded first. It seems to be a recurring theme for Blackpool to have the most possession, passes and chances but still manage to concede and have to chase the game. We really need to sort this ugly trait out as their goal came from pretty much their first clear chance. It can’t just be a case of sides being clinical anymore, it is down to our defending and finishing the clear cut opportunities we are creating at the other end.
2. Keshi’s injury
Keshi wasn’t in the starting line-up after picking up a knock and he’s expected to be out until November. This could prove to be a big loss as the midfield man has provided plenty of energy in the final third for us so far this season and we don’t really have a like-for-like replacement.
3. Garbutt is injured…again.
Luke Garbutt pulled up after 4 minutes with what seemed to be a hamstring injury. Hopefully it isn’t too serious, but if it is we are paying another high earner to be injured. With the likes of Kaikai not getting much game time either, you have to consider if it is worth having them at all. A lot of our success this season will be determined on how many players we can keep fit.
4. Lack of chances
We seemed much more confident and the pressing style was clearly back. However, if you don’t create chances you don’t score goals and in this department we are really lacking. We need to think about what we do with the ball more. At the moment we don’t seem to have anyone who will drive on the ball through the middle of the park. The majority of our chances come from the wide men in Yates or CJ. Hopefully Woodburn will offer another option in our attack and we can become more prolific in front of goal.
5. Lack of match fitness
None of our four most recent signings have started yet and only Daniel Ballard made the squad. Dougall hasn’t had a preseason, Gretasson hasn’t had much experience on grass and Woodburn is injury prone so will not be rushed. New boy Ballard got a place on the bench but it remains unclear whether Critch will disrupt the new partnership of Husband and Ekpetita. If he was to take one out you would think it would be Marvin, but only time will tell.
It was a better performance than the previous week. Yes, we didn’t create much going forward, but we looked comfortable on the ball, stopped Crewe playing and earned ourselves a hard-fought point away from home. We might reflect on this in the future and be happy that we picked something up and didn’t lose the game which could easily have happened given how things have been going recently. Plenty of things to be positive about, bring on Charlton on Tuesday night!
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Image: Grant Ward Twitter