Often the majority of the five goods/bads have been underlined with draws and losses. Finally, we get to be positive and leave most of the negative undertones at the door. Here, I pick out the positives and slight negatives from yesterday’s win at the Pirelli Stadium.
1. Back to winning ways on the road
It was our first away win in 410 days. Four hundred and ten days. Getting rid of that statistic with a long overdue win is a massive relief. It wasn’t plain sailing against a team that will, in all honesty, do well not to be relegated. However, let’s be positive and the fact that we came back and didn’t accept a draw having been pegged back, like in so many games we have done previously and that three teams who played Burton prior to us did, shows the hunger and desire of the players.
2. Yates off the mark
Jerry was finally off the mark with a smart finish and a well taken penalty. He could’ve arguably bagged himself a hat-trick but his other effort agonisingly bounced back off the post. It’s a shame fans couldn’t celebrate in the stadium with him, but the floods of messages that got sent to him on social channels will surely let him know our appreciation. He sounds like a real character in the dressing room, and everyone is pleased for him, which was shown in the celebrations of his goals yesterday.
3. An assured midfield
In the past I have hammered the Blackpool midfield for not doing their roles properly and for looking completely unbalanced. They look a lot more secure with Williams and Dougall (who was simply fantastic yesterday and a much welcomed addition) in the midfield and gave the front four more freedom in their attacking roles. It’s always going to be difficult to get attacking minded players to put in a defensive shift. Sometimes, they are just not that good at it too, you only have to cast your mind back to the previous game when Kaikai’s lack of defensive duties ended up in AFC Wimbledon scoring and taking 3 points from us.
4. We look like a team
This is the first time the players look like they’re actually playing for each other. The celebration for Jerry when he scored both his goals really showed that this team is together, with half of the squad celebrating with him after we retook the lead from the spot. I asked these questions in an earlier blog about our mentality and the spirit of the dressing room but I’m glad there has been a response and the new boys look more settled.
5. Finally, the rub of the green?
We have had our fair share of bad luck to the start of this campaign. Even this week, we’ve had Robson sent off for a 50-50, Ballard’s questionable off-the-ball red in the same game and now Ben Woodburn getting COVID-19. The list goes on. There’ve been so many decisions that Blackpool have come off the worse, but today it looks like that might have changed. The referee essentially gifted us three points with a bizarre penalty decision – Marvin being adjudged to have been fouled in the box, which gave Jerry the opportunity to nick the win with his second goal.
Not so good – the Negatives
1. The left back position
Despite having three left backs in the team I have never felt so uncomfortable about this position. Mitchell for all his attacking play going forward doesn’t seem to have the defensive capabilities to mix in with the better attacking players from the opposition at present. Arguably our first choice Luke Garbutt is injured, and the temperament of Husband is always questionable after his two recent red cards. The left back position is often an overlooked position, with much of our strength coming from the right hand side. This was the case for Burton yesterday and Hubby really struggled. I actually didn’t think he would last the 90 so there’s a positive there.
2. Own Goal for Gretarsson
The iceman wasn’t as cool as maybe we would have thought he would be. I thought he did ok, yesterday – he wouldn’t be my first choice for a centre half pairing, just yet. I still think he needs time to adjust to the English game. It will be interesting to see how he potentially fares in the FA Cup next week against Eastbourne – in front of the BT cameras. There was a period of 10-15 minutes yesterday where he was really under the cosh, which unfortunately led to them equalising with an own goal when he could simply have cleared his lines with no real pressure. It was unfortunate, but ultimately he was at fault. He did well for being thrown in prematurely, due to the circumstances from Ballard’s suspension, so take nothing away from that. I just feel he needs a few more weeks to get fully up to speed.
3. Chopping and changing
Much of this has been forced upon Critchley, but there were another five changes to the starting 11. The disclipine has been lacking with four red cards already this season, so suspensions along with bad luck has ensured that more rotations have had to happen. Short term, you have to think of the impact that this may have on the team’s chemistry. There have been a lot of different styles of football and formations that have been put on to the Blackpool XI – which for a new, fresh team will be difficult to adapt to. Hopefully in the future there will be a more consistent first team and formation/style which Blackpool will look to adopt. As for a clear positive, long-term players will benefit from knowing everyone’s individual style and the squad will be closer together – more than just the first team is now having an impact on the games and results. The obvious positive is that player rotation means everyone can rest, and hopefully they will have an impact on their return to first-team action.
4. Madine not firing
For all the positives that there were for Jerry Yates and in all honesty the link up play between the two (which worked well) there were a few negatives. Most obvious being that Madine missed that sitter. He now finds himself in a similar position to Jerry – yes he has scored before, but he needs to find some consistency in his performances.
You would think that this should only develop when the two are working together. Yates praised Madine for his workrate in his interview on the club’s official site, and highlighted that Gary did most of the ‘dirty work’ for Yates to be able to bag his chances. Although I thought it would be the other way around, it is great to see a fluidity between both players who will work for each other.
5. Missing key players
You don’t want to get a really solid player on loan for them to be ruled out for the next three games, but that’s what has happened for Ben Woodburn who has contracted COVID-19 – a sign of the current times in which we are living. It is really unfortunate but hopefully he will be able to rest up and come back after the break to the league season.
Keshi (injury) and both Ballard / Robson (suspension) are also unavailable, but luckily we have the new signings in Gretarsson and Dougall to come in. We are starting to see the strength of the whole squad which will surely be to our benefit as we get into the season.
What were your thoughts on the game? Let us know in the comments below.
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