BLACKPOOL ended their pre-season with a draw at in Sheffield
Pool played the better football but Sheffield United created by far the better openings.
Then again, friendly games aren’t exactly a measure of what will happen when the real action starts.
This stage of the year is simply about getting fit and learning different formations and tactics.
From a Seasiders perspective, Craig Sutherland came out of the contest with most to smile about.
The 22-year-old enhanced his burgeoning reputation with another goal. Following on from his strike against FK Jelgava, the American student spotted by Kim Holloway on a DVD (you couldn’t make it up) latched onto a Gary Taylor-Fletcher flick (the kind of clever touch GTF has been doing for years with very little recognition) and placed a clever finish beyond Matt Duke.
It was a very well-taken goal and suggests Blackpool might just have unearthed a gem.
His goal ensured the honours ended even, after the Blades had gone ahead courtesy of Chris Porter’s first-half strike.
Porter, one-time target for Colin Hendry back in the good old days, thumped the ball into the roof of the net after Pool, not for the first or last time in the contest, had been caught napping at the back.
Despite playing the better football – all short pretty passing and very Spanish-like, which is no doubt the way Holloway wants it – there were defensive frailties that will worry the boss
They will need to be worked on ahead of the Championship opener at Hull on Friday.
Indeed, United should have gone ahead on 12 minutes when – despite having enough time to sit down, do a crossword and have a brew before putting the ball in – German trialist Alex Kruk fired wastefully over.
Pool continued to be neat and tidy but didn’t create much of note – a mystery trialist playing at centre forward failed to get involved, though Ludovic Sylvestre (playing as neatly as ever in the middle) warmed Steve Simonsen’s hands with a drive.
Stephen Quinn curled a clever effort from distance narrowly over before Porter struck after Matt Gilks had done well to keep out Erik Tonne’s first effort.
There was the usual rash of subs at half-time – the Seasiders making seven changes – but the home side, more blood and thunder compared to Pool’s emphasis on passing, continued to force the better openings.
Jordan Slew will feel he should have beaten Dean Bouzanis (a trialist from Liverpool who replaced Gilks at the interval) when he broke clear on the right side of the area. Decent save, though, Bouzani stopping Slew’s low shot with his legs.
Sutherland’s leveller 12 minutes from the end ensured Pool go into the new campaign unbeaten and in decent spirits.
POOL: Gilks (Bouzanis 45), Eardley (Baptiste 45), Evatt, Hill, Harris (Crainey 45), Sylvestre (Southern 45), Ferguson (Angel 57), Grandin (Taylor-Fletcher 45, Djordjic 86), Ormerod (Ince 45), Trialist (Phillips 45), Clarke (Sutherland 45)
SHEFF UTD: Simonsen (Duke 59), Lowton, Jean-Francois, Bogdanovic, Williamson, Collins, McDonald, Porter (Philliskirk 60), Tonne, Kruk (Maguire 60), Quinn.