Blackpool 2 Crewe 0 - Are Blackpool finally turning the corner?

Blackpool's Jack Redshaw celebrates scoring his side's second goal
Blackpool's Jack Redshaw celebrates scoring his side's second goal
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Dare I say it? I actually think Blackpool might be turning the corner.

It’s been a long, horrible spell over the last 18 months at Bloomfield Road and at times you wondered if Pool would score a goal, let alone win a game.

But since arriving in July Neil McDonald has worked wonders on the field.

As I said in Friday’s paper Saturday’s visit of Crewe was always going to be a real test of exactly where the Seasiders were in, in terms of whether or not a relegation battle is really something to concern them.

Crewe arrived bottom of the table after a terrible run, a defeat for Blackpool would mean all the good work was totally undone.

And at half-time the jury was very much out after a pretty even first period, despite the fact both of Pool’s strikers saw goals disallowed.

But after a pretty dull start to the second half it was Blackpool who kicked-on, who took charge and who showed Bloomfield Road is no longer an easy place to come and steal three points.

The result lifted them out of the relegation zone for the first time in months, and you have to say it’s well deserved.

Three tough looking away games follow now, after which if Blackpool are still unbeaten then they really could be onto something, although lets not run before we are walking without a limp.

On Saturday McDonald made one change to the side which drew with Millwall in midweek, rewarding Bright Osayi-Samuel for his positive display off the bench on Tuesday with a start.

Henry Cameron who he replaced on the right-wing dropped out of the squad while Emmerson Boyce was fit enough to return to the bench.

It was the first time in more than a year the Seasiders went into a game as favourites for the win, and you could see early confidence among the players.

Blackpool’s started Saturday’s clash with a bit of a spring in their step, really trying to move the ball quickly.

It’s something boss McDonald rams down the throats of his players, ‘getting your passes off’ one of his most used phrases.

The idea behind that is to get the ball moving and into the strikers as quickly as possible, something Pool aren’t yet mastering.

That said, the game’s first effort fell to Blackpool, and striker Mark Cullen.

He picked up a loose ball on 18 yards before turning and shooting at keeper Ben Garratt, it was an easy save.

Crewe were backed by a large and vocal crowd all afternoon and the away side soon came back at the Seasiders.

And after a poor headed clearance by Hayden White fell to the feet of striker Brad Inman, his effort drifted just wide. It was a little too close for comfort.

While there was plenty of intent from both sides in the opening 15 minutes, sadly neither team looked like threatening in the final third, with both having to settle for long range efforts.

David Norris the latest to try his luck from 25 yards, only to find the arms of keeper Garratt.

Crewe had a very familiar face in their midfield in David Fox who played almost 100 times for Pool between 2006-09.

Now at 31 he’s still strolling around the middle of the park passing the ball, and on 20 minutes almost scored against his old club.

He found space before driving one towards the top corner, only for Colin Doyle to deny him with an excellent save.

Two minutes later Blackpool thought they had themselves a breakthrough when Cullen responded quickly to tap home the rebound from a Jim McAlister effort.

Sadly the linesman’s flag was raised and the goal was ruled out, there weren’t too many complaints.

The next ten minutes will have done little to warm boss McDonald on a wet and wintry day, with the away side being allowed far too much of the ball.

Crewe are known for their passing style but it was all a little too easy, the good news for Pool was Steve Davis’ men were making very little of it.

After a promising and lively start the game became a little dull, at this point you have to say it was Crewe who were on top.

Pool did show signs of threat on the attack though, and again had the ball in the net just four minutes before the break.

This time Jack Redshaw raced onto a Cullen through ball and finished well, only for the flag to again be raised.

I have to say from where I was sat it was the correct call, Redshaw should have held his run for a split second longer, he was looking right across the line.

As Blackpool finished the half strongly they were let down by a couple of sloppy moments by David Ferguson down the left, particularly on the stroke of the break when he overlapped McAlister well, only to scuff his cross out for a goal kick.

If the start to the first half was decent, the start to the second period was terrible. Neither side came out of the blocks at all, it wasn’t the best to watch at all.

But as the hour mark approached Blackpool began to grow and soon provided the game’s first moment of real quality.

Good work from Norris unleashed Ferguson down the left whose cross was fired towards goal by McAlister, sadly for the Scot keeper Garrett was a match to it. It was the first flash of attacking flair from McDonald’s men.

While Crewe pressed forward Blackpool were finding space in behind and carved out as good a chance as you’ll see on 64 minutes.

Cullen did brilliantly to control a long clearance into the path of Potts who played Redshaw clear in on goal, only for the striker to hesitate and eventually see his effort deflected over.

It was the short of chance you expected to cost Pool, but just a minute later all was forgotten.

Another break forward saw Tom Aldred’s cross find White at the back post who rattled the ball into the roof of the net from 15 yards.

It took a deflection on the way in but it mattered not, he certainly didn’t look like a right-back, and Blackpool were ahead.

Five minutes later the game should have been dead and buried after Cullen and Redshaw combined again.

It was another massive chance for Redshaw who somehow turned a cross from his strike partner from inside the six yard box.

From then on in it was Blackpool who controlled the game and looked most likely to add to their account.

And with three minutes left they put the game beyond doubt.

Substitute Kwame Thomas broke down the right and as midfielder David Norris raced into its path he was hacked down in the area by Chris Atkinson.

After a good display without any luck in front of goal Redshaw finally got himself on the score sheet, finishing superbly from the spot. On the whole it was a goal Blackpool deserved.

From then on in it was comfortable as the Seasiders cruised to victory.

Overall it was another very decent day for McDonald and his men and one which shouldn’t really surprise anyone who’s watched them every week.

The facts don’t lie, Pool are now unbeaten in five League One games and have conceded just two goals in that period.

It’s some going for a side which just about everyone, including McDonald himself, all but wrote off following the defeat at Shrewsbury.

As for the future, well who knows how far this side could go, dare I point out they are just eight points off the play-offs.

I won’t even go there, for now at least.