Ben Burgess: Seasiders hit iceberg as luck runs out

Typical! Just as the boys in tangerine began to give us all hope that they would just cruise through the troubled waters of relegation they hit their metaphorical iceberg in the shape of Colchester, who are one of just three teams that have actually had a worse season than Blackpool in League 1.

Friday, 15th April 2016, 7:30 am
A dejected looking Blackpool manager Neil McDonald

The 2-0 victory over Southend at Bloomfield Road a couple of weeks ago looks more like the anomaly in the desperate home form that Blackpool have produced lately.

Whilst no-one can deny that prior to the Colchester debacle the Seasiders had produced some good results.

What we can deny is the claim of good performances in those games.

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Yes, it’s about results at this stage of the season but even when winning games, Blackpool were riding their luck.

The luck finally ran out on Saturday and even the ever-loyal Neil McDonald couldn’t defend his players.

Colchester managed eighteen shots to a miserly six from the home team.

Obviously after I had lauded the Mark Cullen and Jacob Blyth partnership last week, they duly obliged with an ineffective showing!

I just feel that if you want to have success in this league then you need to be able to attack and break teams down.

Statistics don’t lie and Pool have scored less goals than any other team in League 1, admittedly they’re defensive record is better but if you don’t commit men forward then of course you will remain harder to break down.

I’ve been involved in many training sessions where you play 11 players against just the back four and two central midfielders. It’s incredibly hard to score!

There are no gaps and no space, the defence doesn’t get caught out of position because they don’t venture forward.

When we were promoted from League 1 under Simon Grayson, we had a good defence but we used to attack as a team and commit men forward all the time.

That year we scored more goals than anyone else and that culminated in a last day 6-3 victory at Swansea.

We then had an aggregate score of 5-2 in the play-off semi-finals against Oldham.

Just as McDonald mentioned this week, there’s no time to mope around as the next four games are going to have a serious impact on the direction this club is going to head for the next few years.

Another relegation now and everything will be impacted upon. The wage budget will be cut further, lower standards of players will be signing and attendances could be catastrophic.

League Two is heavily populated by southern teams which makes the possibility of Blackpool making any money from turnstile receipts next season even more remote.

The prospect of Blackpool being just one more poor season away from non-league is a harrowing and deeply concerning thought.

One saving grace though is that of their remaining four games, only one is at home.

Hopefully McDonald’s defensive tactics of soaking up pressure and hitting teams on the counter attack will be better suited to the three away games coming up.

The first of which is Rochdale on Saturday.

Dale are on a good run of form and still harbor faint hopes of making the play-offs.

In the heart of Dale’s 
defence will be ex-Blackpool youngster Ash Eastham.

Ash is another good young player who had to leave and thankfully he is now establishing himself in a decent League 1 team.

Ash has all the attributes to be a fearsome centre-half.

He’s big, strong and composed on the ball and should provide a tough test for Blyth and Cullen.

I’m going to be bold and predict a 1-0 victory for the Seasiders which will set them up nicely for the relegation showdown with Fleetwood next week.