If you’d said before Saturday’s game Blackpool would score three goals at Gigg Lane, few would have bet against them taking all three points.
Rock solid at the back in recent weeks, the Seasiders had only conceded three in their previous eight games.
But at Bury Pool couldn’t have looked more vulnerable in a crazy opening – every time the home team had a chance they seemed to score.
After the game Neil McDonald described the four goals against Pool as incredible and initially said poor defending wasn’t to blame, but with the first two I can’t agree, they were so unlike the Seasiders.
For the opening goals Blackpool lost the first header before two players made a mess of cleaning on the line, for the second the attacker was given five yards of space from a corner to head goal wards - there was nothing incredible in either.
Who knows what caused McDonald’s men to take their eyes off the ball, maybe the pre-match talk and big away following got to them. But it’s not just talk of a possible pitch invasion which may have caused distraction.
Quite why the Oystons chose a Friday evening to announce they wouldn’t be accepted BST offer is totally beyond me.
There’s a reason the top companies in the UK now spend thousands on PR and spin doctors who work hard on public image to twist potentially negative stories into their favour. At Blackpool there appears to be no method in their public relations madness.
After a week of positive news about a team on the up, Oyston’s Friday night statement sent social media and message boards into a spin.
For McDonald distractions aren’t wanted, some have been unavoidable so far this summer, but far too many have been self-inflicted by the club. It’s something which needs to stop.
In the end Blackpool’s large travelling support behaved well in the whole and the hyped-up pre-match problems were kept to a minimum, negative stories so close to a big game could easily have tipped the supporters the other way.
As for the football, Blackpool made just one change to the side which beat Crewe last week, with Emmerson Boyce coming into replace the injured Bright Osayi-Samuel.
It meant Hayden White was used in an advanced role on the right of Blackpool’s midfield, as McDonald reverted back to his cautious style after weeks of attacking.
It was a decision which the result would suggest backfired, although the manager described White’s display as ‘outstanding’ afterwards.
Personally having attacking wingers make teams look much more of a threat.
One look at Bury’s bench told you all you need to know about their squad problems going into the game, they had just five fit players to name on the substitutes bench.
Top scorer Leon Clarke was among the seven senior players missing, although Peter Clarke and Jacob Mellis were familiar names in their line-up. You got the feeling Pool couldn’t have picked a better time to play the Shakers, or at least it seemed that was the case.
If Bury were under strength, you wouldn’t know it as Blackpool couldn’t really have got off to a worst start.
And after just two minutes McDonald’s men found themselves behind.
A corner came into the box and as Danny Rose headed towards goal it appeared to strike White before finding its way into the back of the net.
David Ferguson had a chance to clear on the line but also made a mess of it, it was a goal to forget for Blackpool.
In the early stages of the game Gigg Lane was covered in tangerine smoke after a banner in support of the Oystons was held aloft by the home supporters. It’s fair to say that didn’t go down well with the travelling fans.
Moments later their mood got worse when Danny Rose had the freedom of Gigg Lane to double the Shakers’ lead.
It was shocking defending from Pool who, for the second time in 10 minutes, found themselves failing to pick up their men. You can sometimes understand a player losing their man in open play for a free header, it just shouldn’t happen from a set piece.
McDonald seemed a little reluctant to criticise his back four afterwards, but there’s no doubt they could have and should have done better.
It was a thriller of an opening to the game, and just two minutes later Pool were gifted a route back into the game.
Loan keeper Daniel Bachmann only joined Bury in midweek on loan from Stoke, and the youngster had a nightmare when he made a total hash of a routine backpass on 12 minutes.
He presented the ball to Mark Cullen who showed real composure to round him and slot into an empty net. You couldn’t catch your breath.
After a relatively calm spell Bury were again on the attack eight minutes later, this time Aldred jumping to block a Tom Pope effort after the striker found far too much space in the area.
Pool have been rock solid in recent weeks, they certainly weren’t in the opening stages on Saturday.
The chances continued on 23 minutes, this time Blackpool giving it a go in a hugely open game. Brad Potts found Cullen at the edge of the area who played Redshaw in on goal, only for the striker to be in two minutes and see his cross shot drift wide.
Just five minutes later all Pool’s hard work would be undone by a free-kick which keeper Colin Doyle will be hugely disappointed by.
Bury left-back Chris Hussey curling a brilliant effort into the net from almost the right touchline when many were expecting him to cross it.
It flew into the near-post of Doyle’s net, something which no doubt the keeper will be fuming with.
A sensational strike, but you can’t help but think Doyle should have done better.
At this stage it was always going to be a tough task for Pool’s young guns to keep their heads, things almost boiled over for Aldred on 32 minutes.
He reacted off the ball to Rose, luckily after calls from the home fans for a red card, referee Geoff Eltringham produced a yellow. You got the feeling the atmosphere was all a little bit too much, and things would get worse.
Ten minutes before the break Bury made it four, when Tom Soares fired an unstoppable effort past Doyle from 25 yards.
As half-time approached Pool’s mustered a couple of half chances, with Potts and Redshaw both having efforts on goal, none really threatening.
But just a minute before the break Pool pulled a goal back when Redshaw’s corner was powered home by Clark Robertson off the underside of the bar. It was blink-and-you’ll -miss-it stuff. At half-time the score was 4-2 but it could easily have been 7-7.
The start to the second half was much calmer than the madness which welcomed us in the first, on and off the field.
As you’d expect Bury took much fewer risks and looked more than happy to hold onto the lead they’d built up. It took almost an hour for the first chance of the second half, and it fell to Blackpool when David Norris did well down the right before crossing towards Cullen who headed wide.
With Bury now operating with two banks of four which were proving tough to break down, McDonald made a couple of changes in attempt to liven things up.
On came Jarrett Rivers and Martin Paterson in place of Jim McAlister and Cullen.
With seven minutes left Blackpool were handed a lifeline, as substitute Paterson was hauled down in the area, Redshaw made no mistake from the spot, it was his third penalty in four games.
Despite a late push, and six minutes of stoppage time, Blackpool couldn’t find a breakthrough and had to settle for their first defeat in seven games.
The Seasiders will probably look back at the game and feel a little hard done by, especially in the first half where everything Bury hit went in.
But conceding four goals in just over half an hour made Pool’s task impossible. Let’s hope it was a one-off.