Blackpool 1 Bury 1 - Not a great display, but a point is a point

Blackpool's Jim McAlister is held back by Bury defenders
Blackpool's Jim McAlister is held back by Bury defenders
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Four down, eleven to go.

I suppose the fact Blackpool earned another point towards Neil McDonald’s survival target was the only real positive on today’s game.

With just eight games remaining, Pool are quickly approaching the do-or-die stage of the season, they are currently 11 points short of the 50 survival mark.

Throwing away one goal leads when at home doesn’t exactly help.

If they are to find those much-needed points, the Seasiders have to at some point genuinely attempt to win games.

On Friday they welcomed a Bury side who had earned just three out of 32 points away from Gigg Lane, they’d only scored once on the road in 2016.

With that in mind, why didn’t McDonald go for it?

In came striker Jacob Blyth in attack, a player who’s clearly a target man, but there’s no point having one of those if you don’t get the ball into the box. While things were slightly better after the break, Pool came out with a style which can only be described as narrow and negative, particularly in the first half.

In the build-up to the game McDonald continued his positive at all costs style of pre-match interview, this time bigging-up new striker Blyth.

The Pool boss claimed his squad had been ‘wowed’ by the striker during training - it’s fair to say big things were expected of him yesterday after that.

On first impressions he had some decent attributes, particularly in the air where he looks very decent, but you can put Didier Drogba up front, if you don’t get the ball up to him even the best target men the in the world will struggle.

For Blackpool as a whole it was another disjointed display which excited no-one, Pool’s whole game plan appeared to revolve around getting the ball forward and hoping for a lucky bounce or defensive mistake.

Unlike last weekend against Crewe, it never really looked like coming yesterday, only a penalty saw them break the deadlock in another game of very few clear-cut chances.

But in fairness the tactic eventually saw Pool break the lead, the biggest crime being the way Bury were allowed to instantly get back into it.

Blyth was the only change to the side which won at Crewe last weekend, replacing the suspended Jack Redshaw in attack.

In Bury’s side there were a couple of very familiar faces, with Peter Clarke and Nathan Delfouneso needing very little introduction to Blackpool’s fans.

The latter was in the thick of the action after just two minutes.

A long ball wasn’t dealt with and as Blackpool only half cleared Delfouneso had a very decent shooting chance just ten yards out, only for Tom Aldred to typically throw himself infront of the ball.

It was a block we’ve seen plenty of this season already.

With almost perfect weather on the Fylde coast Blackpool’s struggling pitch will soon start to recover from the winter, but yesterday you could see it was a little bobbly.

It’s the sort of surface which keepers will hate with the ball bouncing just in front of them and Pool had to deal with just that after three minutes.

Andrew Tutte found space 25 yards out only for his bobbling effort to be well held by Colin Doyle.

Much of Bury’s success in the opening stages came via striker Danny Rose who they tried to play off as often as possible.

He’s not the biggest in the world but back to goal he was excellent and it was through him which came Bury’s third chance of the game.

Again it was a bursting run forward from midfielder Tutte, who this time shot well wide from a good position.

Blackpool were struggling to cause much of threat with only Mark Cullen’s cross-shot on on 13 minutes worth noting.

Bury keeper Chris Neal reacted well to stifle the danger from that.

Two minutes later Bury were on the attack again, this time Danny Mayor wriggled his way into the area before poking over from 12 yards.

It was all the away side at this point.

And on 23 minutes came their best chance of the game, when Delfouneso did well at the edge of the area to tee-up John O’Sullivan who should have at least hit the target.

Instead his effort was always rising.

It took half an hour for Blackpool’s first effort on goal, when Danny Philliskirk controlled a and shot from a Jim McAlister free-kick, only for defender Craig Jones to react well and block on the line.

Apart from a couple more long-range efforts from Bury as half-time approached, very little caught the eye before the break with the game becoming a pretty dull and scrappy affair.

Boos from the home fans at half-time probably summed up the mood.

It prompted a change at the break, with Bright Osayi-Samuel replacing the totally ineffective Brad Potts.

The move saw McAlister move into the middle of the park with Samuel finally offering some width.

As the second half started it was the Shakers who started where they left off, creating a decent chance after just two minutes.

Again Mayor was involved, doing brilliantly to pick out Clarke in the area only for the former Pool man to head straight at Doyle.

Blackpool’s play as the hour mark approached continued to be dull and uninspiring, in truth it’s hard to see any pattern of play at all.

McDonald’s men seem to haphazardly get the ball forward when they can, simply hoping for a fortunate bounce of the ball or mistake.

It’s totally uninspiring, it has to be said.

Luckily last week end Crewe were so poor chances came. Against an average Bury side they didn’t.

Blackpool had a flurry of set-pieces just over twenty minutes from time, and among those came a shout for a penalty.

Midfielder Norris tumbling to the ground under a challenge from Clarke, with referee Simon Hooper quick to wave it away - it would have been soft.

Just three minutes later the referee had no hesitation pointing to the spot as McAlister snuck in front of Tom Soares who hacked him down.

Philliskirk stepped up to send keeper Chris Neal the wrong way.

At this point Pool were looking at an unlikely three points, with just 15 minutes left to play against a Bury side who appeared to have run out of ideas.

But just two minutes later they found some.

All afternoon Bury found joy down the wings, and it was from that they found a leveller as Ryan Lowe’s perfect cross was guided into the corner by the excellent Mayor.

It was a huge blow for Blackpool and one they never really recovered from, with neither team really looking like they’d have the quality to break their opposition down in the closing stages.

While a point at home to Bury at this stage may appear negative, crucially it’s another one on the board for Blackpool.

It will mean nothing unless it’s followed by a win at Doncaster on Monday.

I might sound like a broken record - but that game is massive.