With that Blackpool win it almost certainly puts Gillingham’s promotion push to bed. If Blackpool lost it would have made it a whole lot tougher for the Seasiders. This game really was crunch time, a milestone which would define either side’s season. Pre-match nerves were at an all time high, but they needn’t have been. Seriously, what a performance by Blackpool.
1. Jackpot Jerry Strikes Again
We’ve come a long way since our 20 goal striker hadn’t scored in the first 10 games after signing from Rotherham following a successful loan with Swindon. It seems a long time since he split opinions with his top off outside Manchester pubs. But, wow. He works his socks off, he closes down and he gets his just rewards as he did with his first well taken goal. He missed that header but more than made up with his tidy finish for the second and it’s now 20 goals in his last 32 games.
2. Blackpool or Brazil?
What a wonderful team goal for the third Blackpool goal. Simply magnificent stuff. Kaikai is playing with some confidence and what a difference when he is. Blackpool certainly turned it on in that first half and in some style too. It’s even more remarkable when you consider the number of players that Blackpool are still missing in the attacking areas.
3. Best half of the season?
Many of us thought so. It was fantastic to see so many great individual performances from Yates, Embleton, Kaikai, Garbutt and Maxwell to name a few. They’ve been clinical with their finishing and so fluid with their passing – it was a joy to watch. Pre-kick off, so many of us were worried about what the outcome would be… but this game has certainly made me more relaxed for what’s to come in the future. Come on you tangerine wizards!
4. Critchley’s and Calderwood’s Confidence
Let’s give them both some credit because at both ends of the pitch we are positive. Defensively we have turned a corner and we’re dealing with physical front men that would have caused us all sorts of problems at the start of the season. Attacking wise we are finally finishing our chances – we looked ruthless and it’s the work of two men at the helm. Every player knows their job and Critchley and Calderwood are getting the maximum from this group of players.
5. Silky Sullay
The rasping finish for the first. The silky skills and slide in assist for the fourth. Sullay Kaikai you we simply terrific today. Yes you can give away a needless foul, yes sometimes you go missing in games but when you turn up… you’re the best player on the pitch. If you had that level of performance every week we’d struggle to keep you in League One.
1. The linesman getting injured
Waiting for the fourth official to get replaced… again! A break in the action of watching Pool demolish Gillingham whilst we twiddle are thumbs… great. Added ten minutes to the game and increased the nerves that Gills would get back into it.
2. No sign of Madine
Simms had a fantastic game and held the ball up so well so we are lucky on that front. Had that not happened it would have been a game made for Madine. Unfortunately, there was still no place on the bench for Madine as we wonder when he will be reintroduced to the action.
3. Dirty play
There were a few harsh tackles, a few flying elbows and not enough bookings for my liking. The Gillingham front men are clearly used to this sort of style and it was frustrating to not see a yellow given early for a Gills man who was guilty of some dangerous play on Ballard.
4. Lacking attacking options
It’s remarkable to consider how we managed to put 4 past Gillingham especially with the injury hit squad that we currently have. The substitute bench really highlighted the lack of attacking options as we subbed Gabriel to RM for Embleton. It’s the one thing that could cost us in the run-in.
5. Steve Evans
Final word for the large and in-charge man Steve Evans. With many mind games pre-match and the usual foul language throughout the game – even going out his way to shout out the additional amount of minutes needed for his team after the four official was changing. I honestly would have thought four goals would have been enough for the red-faced manager. It’s great to turn him over and send his side packing.
Reminiscent of the days under Ian Holloway. Critchley and his staff have us Blackpool fans dreaming again. The players have been wonderful. The game would’ve been perfect for us to return to Bloomfield Road in the sun. Hopefully, in May we will get to visit Wembley and if we continue this style of play… we certainly will.
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