Review: Five good, five bad – Crewe (h)

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.

Five good

  1. 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.

3. Entertainment

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.

Neil Critchley’s win percentage is the third best in the club’s history for managers who’ve done 30 games or more

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.

Check out our Wes Hoolahan graphic – get your own by visiting our Shop

Five bad

  1. 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.

Here’s how our points tally matches up against our three most recent promotion campaigns. We’re three points behind where we were in 2007, but four in front of 2010 and six in front of 2017

Summary

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!

Image: Blackpool FC Twitter

Published by Tom Johnson

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

6 thoughts on “Review: Five good, five bad – Crewe (h)

  1. Quite clearly your definition of excitement differs to mine.The only excitement last night was could the Pool hang on to their 1goal lead could we hold on for a draw once Crewe had equalised. As for quality Critchley himself said Pool were not at their best .To be fair Crewe playrd some half decent stuff and were a tadge unlucky to only pick up a point. So what did we learn from last night.Firstly we struggle to score against ahalf decent side even one that concedes regularly. our passing is laboured and slow with to many square and passes backward no inventiveness or penetration..Once CJ is back it willbe long ball down the line for him to chase .Full of imageination..It would be interesting to see the result of a survey on who thinks Blackpools games are exciting and entertaining as you suggest

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  2. It is insult to injury having to endure Chisnall on the only way we can currently watch the game. He is dreadful, not just because of his former pro-Oyston stance. There is also his infatuation with Virtue – perhaps our most overrated player and one who is only in the team due to circumstances.
    Crewe were well-worthy of at least a point last night; a lack of creativity at home was once more evident but this was a game we never looked like holding on to a single goal lead. Hamilton returning is a massive bonus but we are no nearer solving the issue of who plays on the left, with SK once more being hooked before for the hour mark. Mitchell might be worth an extended run but last night he couldn’t control a bag of sand. Madine is massively missed, if only for the way he holds up the ball and brings others into play; Simms cannot do that to anywhere near the same extent.
    Thorniley…You are spot on. I have seen him caught out of position on several occasions, often ahead of the ball only to watch it sail over his head. Gretarsson and Ekpiteta are greatly missed, and tbf Husband would last night have been preferable to JT.

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    1. Can’t say I disagree with most of your comments. Virtue is not overrated though, I think he’s clearly recognised as our third best midfielder, but does give us more attacking flair than Dougall / Stewart so is good have on the field

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      1. Am not a fan of Virtue; aside from Dougall/Stewart and CJ we have never been able to establish a settled midfield. Mitchell might work on the left instead of SK or even move Garbutt further forward to allow Husband or Shaw to play left back. Lubala now seems to be way down the pecking order; I would say that he and Robson are probably the two signings made by Critchley who’ve been the most disappointing.

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