Brad Potts’ stunning last-gasp equaliser ensured Blackpool’s pre-season ended on a high note as they fought back to draw 1-1 with Bury at Bloomfield Road.
It was a good work-out for Gary Bowyer’s men against the strong League One outfit as ‘Pool prepare for the start of the new League Two campaign against Exeter next Saturday.
Their pre-season looked destined to end in defeat after Tom Aldred’s slip-up allowed Kelvin Etuhu to steal in and smash the ball into the bottom right corner just six minutes into the second half.
But Potts latched on to young-gun Rowan Raoche’s superb through ball to fire home in the 89th minute.
Bowyer’s men lined-up in a 4-4-1-1 formation with Kevin Mellor, Tom Aldred, Will Aimson and Colin Daniel at the back, Brad Potts, captain Jim McAlister, an unnamed trialist and Bright Osayi-Samuel in the middle and Mark Yeates playing just off Kyle Vassell up top.
Bowyer was without both striker Danny Philliskirk and ex-Bury midfielder Danny Pugh due to illness.
With forwards Jamille Matt and Jack Redshaw also absent due to injury Bowyer opted to push Yeates up into the Philliskirk role behind Vassell.
Despite the injuries and illnesses there were positives for Bowyer as returning injured trio Mark Cullen, Henry Cameron and Clark Robertson made cameos off the bench and left the field unscathed after getting a number of minutes under their belts.
Blackpool made a positive start to the game with McAlister firing the ball straight down Bury keeper Ben Williams’ throat and Aldred diverted Yeates’ corner wide of the right stick.
But the initial bright start petered out into a dreary opening half an hour with Bury spraying the ball across the park under pressure from a gang of pressing tangerine shirts.
The visitors may have enjoyed the majority of the possession but ‘Pool looked a danger on the break as they often launched counter-attacks at speed.
The Seasiders’ defence kept the League One attackers at bay and Bury were reduced to a couple of speculative long range efforts as the half wore on.
But Bowyer’s men were saved by the post on the stroke of half-time as Kelvin Etuhu’s low, thunderous effort left Slocombe rooted to the spot and clattered into the right post and fizzed to safety.
The second half was a much brighter affair as the blanket of clouds gave way to beaming sunshine as Blackpool made a slow start to proceedings.
Bury took advantage of a mistake by ‘Pool centre-half Tom Aldred to take the lead in the 51st minute as the lively Etuhu pounced on his error at the top of the box to break free and drill the ball from the left into the bottom right corner.
Blackpool were a whisker away from equalising as Yeates’ teasing free-kick just curled around the wrong side of the post.
Osayi-Samuel was felled just outside the box and Yeates whipped the subsequent set-piece towards the back post. It ghosted past a hoard of tangerine and black shirts before nicking the toe of a Bury defender and trickling wide.
Clark Robertson returned from injury just after the hour mark to replace Daniel at left back, Bowyer also sent on John Herron with his black beard and bright white mop of hair on for the unnamed trailist in the middle of the park.
Henry Cameron also returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines to replace Osayi-Samuel on the left flank in the 67th minute.
Bowyer gave young striker Rowan Roache and forward Mark Cullen some game time late on as the duo replaced Yeates and Vassell in the 75th minute whilst Wilson also got 15 minutes after coming on for Kelvin Mellor at right back.
The game petered and and looked destined for a Bury win but Potts popped up with a last gasp equaliser to make sure Blackpool’s pre-season ended with a bang.
Youngster Roache’s superb ball sent Potts through on goal and he coolly smashed the ball past Williams just moments before referee Ollie Yates blew the full-time whistle.
Blackpool: Slocombe, Mellor (Wilson, 75), Aldred, Aimson, Daniel (Robertson, 62), Potts, McAlister, trialist (Herron, 62), Osayi-Samuel (Cameron, 67), Yeates (Cullen, 75), Vassell (Roache, 75). Subs: Letheren, Cullen Wilson, Roache.
Bury:Williams, Jones, Kay (Maher, 59), Mellis (Ismail, 45), Etuhu (Mayor, 59), Soares, Cameron, Clark (trialist, 45), Pope (Burgess, 71), Hope (Dudley, 67), Leigh
Referee: Ollie Yates.