TALK about the ups and downs of being a football fan! The last two matches could not have left our fans’ panel in a more different mood.
Football is such a frustrating game. The highs are phenomenal, but the lows are equally devastating. In the space of a week we have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous!
Against Boro we were at our fluent best, with one touch, fast, accurate and intricate passing and intelligent movement off the ball. We completely outplayed one of the better footballing sides in our division. What impressed the most was the workrate off the ball and the desire to win it back by hunting in packs. Osbourne was imperious, Ince’s movement unmarkable and GTF played like the proverbial Rolls Royce, gliding past players with ease!
Contrast that with Huddersfield and we did none of the above. We played like a team of strangers. Yet again we struggled to deal with the long ball game, with Vaughan dominating both our centre-halves. Grayson’s gameplan was executed to perfection and we never got a foothold in the game.
What we need now is a reaction against Cardiff. We know we are capable of better and now is our chance to show it. Ollie will have a fresh look at his squad and I would expect changes.
Man of the match: Taylor-Fletcher (both)
It’s nice to have expectations, and this team are more than capable of delivering them.
We’ve now got the squad I wish we’d had when we were in the Premier League, as changes can be made to suit the circumstances without weakening the side. In our previous stint, while we had a decent side, it became clear as the season wore on that we simply had no cover, and so faded as games went on.
Now we have a real squad, and although it’s early in the season, we are playing with a sense of urgency and determination, as if to prove that we belong in the top flight. I write this before the Huddersfield game, and there are tough games to follow at Cardiff and Hull, but I really believe that if we are still well up the table by the end of October, we could see a Blackpool side go up automatically.
Man of the match: Delfouneso (Middlesbrough)
What are the chances of Nathan Delfouneso scoring a hat-trick on his home debut? Highly unlikely. But I had a feeling that if he started, there might be a bag of goals for the taking. And I decided to put a cheeky £5 on that result.
Never in my life did I think I’d get so cross with a Blackpool player scoring from the penalty spot. ‘Give the ball to Nathan’, I screamed at Grandin!
There was a heated debate and rightly so. It was Grandin’s chance to show the manager and the fans that he was back.
We ran rings around a team that many said would comfortably make the play-offs, possibly automatic promotion. As critical as this may sound, we are six games into a new season. We are playing some nice football, but as a Blackpool fan you know too that dream runs often come grinding to a halt.
Against Huddersfield, we went from sublime to utter shambolic. Our centre-halves played as if there was a brick wall dividing them. It reminded me of watching our defence bamboozled by Arsenal and Chelsea.
Midfielders provided little quality ball to our attacking players – we were outclassed in every position. Grayson knew our style of play and how to counter that, which many teams will now no doubt study.
Not to be too downbeat, but we struggle to have an option B and it was evident after the first goal. Let’s all forget about this game and it’s all about Cardiff on Saturday.
Men of the match:
(Middlesbrough), Gomes (Huddersfield)
If we needed a reminder of what it means to play in the Championship then we’ve just received it. The sheer unpredictability of most matches in this league is what makes it so brilliant.
Before this current wonderful era of football for Blackpool it used to mightily annoy me that we, newly-promoted into this division, would visit a team doing well, spring a surprise, and have supporters of the vanquished side bemoan the deficiencies of their performance, rather than praise their opponents. We should not lower ourselves to doing the same; Huddersfield deserve credit for their closing down and aerial abilities, even if their style of play may not please many. As for us – we should spend some time working on set-pieces.
Prior to that we managed another great display against a very decent Middlesbrough side, who were blown away by our attacking prowess. That was us on a good day – slick, positive, ruthless. On days like that, there is nobody in this league who can live with us – but remember, we cannot expect that every week. There is no need to panic.
Teams chasing automatic promotion recover from setbacks like Monday, and Cardiff should feel the full force of our frustration.
Men of the match: Ferguson (Middlesbrough), Ince (Huddersfield)
From a brilliant performance to a poor one within less than a week,
Was it all the changes? Was it the conditions? Was it the days off the players had? Or was it the simple fact we were on Sky TV?
I don’t think the conditions suited our style of play and the players seemed scared to get the ball down and pass. However, when we did it led to a well worked goal which inevitably came through Tom Ince.
The disappointing factors were how poor the passing was, and how easily Huddersfield got in behind our backline. It looked a completely different team to the one that tore Middlesbrough apart. I thought Eardley had a poor game and I would rather see Broadfoot have a game on Saturday.
For their first goal, Crainey had pushed forward and a simple long ball put us in trouble.
I think we just need to forget about the Huddersfield game and look at the positives from how well we have been playing and hopefully we can get back to winning ways at Cardiff on Saturday.
Man of the match: Tiago Gomes
Happy days were here again as ‘The Fonz’ scored twice against Boro to get Bloomfield rocking.
A stormy night and six team changes set the scene for an unpredictable night. I am ashamed to say I doubted the selection and was eager to see Martinez and Gomes in midfield and I was doubtful of Ferguson’s return. How wrong could I be? Ferguson had his best game in tangerine and the midfield looked threatening form the start.
Two first-half goals in the south net – a treat for us in the Armfield stand. But after a very scrappy goal by Middlesbrough after a mass scramble, the next goal was going to be a turning point and ‘score when he wants’ Incey darted behind the defence and rolled the ball into an empty net.
There was only going to be one winner from then on. I guess the penalty would have been a superb opportunity for Delfouneso to get his hat-trick, but I’ve always admired Grandin and it was refreshing to see his determination and passion to get on the scoresheet. There were moments when I was awestruck at our class and style ,
What to say about the Huddersfield game? Not a lot ... best forgotten.
Men of the match: Delfouneso (Middlesbrough)