After a good run of form, there was an air of positivity starting to build around the club. A win tonight would’ve made the teams in the play-offs sit up and take notice of the tangerine juggernaut. As it goes, we remain in the bottom half and continue to sneak under the radar – perhaps that suits us for now. Here, I take a look at the positives and negatives from the game.
- Garbutt’s delivery
We’re never any good at set-pieces, never have been. Unless we either have Peter Clarke in the side, or Charlie Adam taking them. But that all changed against Crewe with Luke Garbutt’s sumptuous delivery for the first goal. It was Dan Ballard on the end of it to notch his first goal in tangerine. Garbutt had put a beauty in just before it which was cleared, but from the resulting corner he whipped it with pace and the Arsenal loanee headed us in front. Lovely stuff.
2. Return of CJ
Is there a better sight? CJ Hamilton returned to the substitutes bench having been out for two months. There may be a chance he can start before long – either on Saturday or next Tuesday. Next, we want Gary Madine back in the squad and we’ll be looking back to full strength for the run-in. CJ got half an hour tonight and showed what he was capable of, but unfortunately couldn’t make the difference.
Under Neil Critchley, every game tends to be exciting. Crewe played their part in the first half hour with some of the best football we’ve seen all season, and we matched it with some solid defending, good battling in midfield and even opening the scoring from a set-piece. It’s well worth the £10 on iFollow and would be worth a full ticket to see it in the flesh, and that’s all you can ask for. When we’re in good form, it’s a win-win.
4. A playable pitch
We managed to get the game on, which is an achievement in itself! Thankfully the rain and frost held off, and we were able to watch 90 minutes of exciting action.
5. The midfield pairing
Who’d have thought a Blackpool midfield would look better without Kenny Dougall in it? Kevin Stewart looks to be our best midfielder at the moment, and we have more balance in the midfield when it’s Matty Virtue next to him. Virtue won Man of the Match for his endeavour and real quality on the ball, having an impact in both halves and giving the side a real look of capability.
- Hearing the names ‘Donervon Daniels’ and ‘Anthony Evans’ again
I hoped the days of hearing those sorts of names were behind us, and thankfully it was the opposition who fielded these two. I don’t want to be too critical of either of them and they actually both played well on the night, but I definitely get a sinking feeling in my stomach when either name is mentioned.
2. The Chisnall-Greenall duo
I mentioned it in my review of the Rochdale game and they were just as unbearable here. They get pumped up about some of the menial details and you just know that Chisnall will be telling his wife about how Colin Greenall spotted Donervon Daniels’ hamstring strain before him and knew that Luke Garbutt wasn’t actually injured. Scintillating stuff.
3. Thorniley’s distribution
It’s clear to see that JT’s not as comfortable on the ball as Marvin or the two Daniels. He also gets caught out of position once a game as a player seems to consistently get in behind, leaving us massively open at the back. Sadly I don’t think he’s Critchley’s type of defender and, given he’s one of the bigger earners in the squad, he’s likely to move on in the summer. That said, he’s still a steady performer and has helped us to some good form recently.
4. The linesman’s injury
Unfortunately for the linesman, he picked up a knock. The fourth official had to run the line and it meant the added time at the end would be even tougher for us who just wanted to hear the final whistle having taken the lead. Crewe manager David Artell had to put the fourth official’s board up to signal his own substitution which was rather comical.
5. Their goal
What on earth happened? On iFollow, it all looked rather comfortable but one ball over the top caught our whole defence out and allowed Stephen Walker to apply a smart swivel and shot past Chris Maxwell. You have to feel that if Gretarsson and Ekpiteta play, we don’t concede that goal but we’re always susceptible with that long ball over the top with Ballard and JT.
Overall, it was a well-earned point. You could see it as two points dropped, but it would’ve been a little fortunate to take all three against a very good Crewe side. The goal was preventable and that leaves a slight bitter taste in my mouth, but win on Saturday and we’re right in the mix. Will we ever get out of the bottom half? Five of our next seven games are at home so we’ve got every chance of a late charge upwards.
Ahead of the visit of AFC Wimbledon, we spoke to former Pool and current Wombles defender Ben Heneghan. Listen to it here from Wednesday 3rd March.
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You can also check out our most recent pod where we spoke to former Pool forward Stephen Dobbie to get his view on the helping the Seasiders to the Premier League, as well as his other three loan spells with the Pool!
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