Simon Grayson: Blackpool’s development is highlighted by disappointment at Sunderland draw

Monday, 16th December 2019, 6:00 am
Simon Grayson saw his Blackpool team come away from Sunderland with a point

The Seasiders were forced to settle for a point at the Stadium of Light against a Sunderland side that played the final 15 minutes with 10 men.

Matty Virtue had given them the ideal start, curling home after just four minutes, but Grayson’s men were unable to build on their early lead.

Instead they were pegged back before the break as Charlie Wyke turned home an equaliser from a corner.

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“We said before the game we had to get after them early on,” the Pool boss said.

“We knew they would try and get after us, but if we could get on the ball, pass the ball and get opportunities, you know what it can be like here.

“We didn’t build on that which is a little bit frustrating, but it just shows how far we’ve come over the last few months that we’re disappointed we didn’t go and get that second goal.”

Blackpool looked fairly comfortable for much of the afternoon, with Sunderland only posing a threat from set pieces.

That’s exactly how the Seasiders came undone for the goal they conceded, as Wyke beat James Husband to steer home from a corner.

“It’s not like us,” Grayson added. “To be fair they had threatened anyway (from set pieces) as they have Wyke, who is decent in the air, and the two centre-backs come up.

“We weren’t a big team when you look at us, but it was disappointing.

“They hit the bar afterwards as well but that was the only way they were really going to score because we defended well as a group.

“I can’t remember Jak Alnwick having a save to make.”

Saturday’s game marked Grayson’s first return to Wearside since getting the sack in October 2017.

Grayson, who celebrates his 50th birthday today, won just one league game during his brief four-month tenure.

When asked what it was like returning to the Stadium of Light, Grayson told The Gazette: “It was quite quiet to be fair.

“We came here and delivered a professional performance, looking to get a result, but unfortunately we didn’t get that.

“We’ve got another good point to our tally and we now move onto the next one.”

Grayson also reserved a special mention for the Pool fans that travelled up to the North East, often singing on their own in an eerily quiet Stadium of Light.

The Pool boss said: “They were good, they were the ones making all the noise weren’t they?

“They turned out in their numbers a couple of weeks before Christmas so full credit to them.

“They saw their team do a reasonable job. Of course we’d have liked to have won the game but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.”