Blackpool 0-0 Accrington: Five things we learned
Blackpool FC writer Matt Scrafton takes a look at the key talking points from the Seasiders' stalemate with their Lancashire neighbours.
Yet another penalty miss...
Well where else to start? Kyle Vassell's late penalty miss now makes it SEVEN times Blackpool have failed to convert from 12 yards this season (you know it's bad when the capital letters come out). The fact the Seasiders are still in with a shout of finishing in the play-offs is nothing sort of a miracle, but more on that later. I know everyone team has their ifs and buts and can look back on moments they should have scored more or ought to have conceded less, but a penalty is literally a free shot at goal, totally unchallenged. The odds are stacked in the favour of the taker. Had Pool scored what, five of their seven penalties they'd surely have a play-off spot already wrapped up. It was a really tame effort, too. Vassell didn't look confident during his short run up and the keeper hardly had to move to get down to collect. Just put your foot through it and make the goalkeeper work!
Did Pool deserve more than the one spot kick?
Gary Bowyer was obviously disappointed at his side's failure to take advantage of the opportunity that came their way with just 15 minutes left on the clock, but he seemed equally as frustrated at the referee's failure to award his side another spot kick. In total his side had three other major appeals, but the major one was towards the end of the game when substitute Sanmi Odelusi's pullback appeared to be handled by an Accrington defender. Kelvin Mellor also appeared to be shoved down to the ground in a separate incident, but on both occasions the referee didn't see enough to warrant giving a spot kick. There was further controversy at the other end when at the death, the man in black appeared to put the whistle to his lips when Matty Pearson attempted to take the ball past the oncoming Sam Slocombe. However Slocombe clearly took the ball and the referee waved play on, much to the annoyance of the 1,000 or so Accrington fans behind the goal as well as their manager John Coleman.
A lot more solid at the back
A clean sheet would have been a welcome sight after last weekend's horror show against Grimsby Town, when the Mariners were gifted three simple goals all thanks to Blackpool's own doing. The Seasiders were a noticeably more solid unit yesterday and Sam Slocombe, returning to the starting line-up in place of Dean Lyness, had no real saves to make. Andy Taylor was also banished from the squad entirely yet again with Colin Daniel reverting to left back after the club captain's poor show against Grimsby last week. Tom Aldred put in a solid display against his former side with the main highlight a vital block on the line, and the 26-year-old will no doubt be pleased with the reaction he got from the Stanley fans at the final whistle. Clark Robertson also led the way with a disciplined display but the whole back five was protected a lot better thanks to the presence of Neil Danns alongside Jack Payne in the middle of the park.
Creative sparks were muted
Pool were fairly blunt in attack and that was mainly down to how well Accrington did to keep Brad Potts, Bright Osayi-Samuel and Nathan Delfouneso quiet. Potts and Osayi-Samuel in particular were tightly marked by Stanley's backline and were both replaced halfway through the second half. Neither of them really ever got going but Osayi-Samuel ought to have given the Seasiders the lead in the first half, when he wastefully blasted wide of goal from only a few yards out following Pool's lightning counter down the left hand side. Potts certainly had an off-day as well while Delfouneso, who certainly tried to make it stick up top, struggled to link up with his strike partner Vassell. Pool still managed to play some decent football and were much better in possession as they were against Grimsby, but if they're going to have a shot of finishing in the top seven then they'll need their attacking outlets to be on the top of their game.
Pool somehow still in with a chance
Results elsewhere in the play-off race once again went Blackpool's way, with Stevenage losing and Carlisle drawing - leaving Pool two points off that seventh placed spot just as they were before the Good Friday game. But now just four games remain. Results may have gone their way in front of them but behind them, the league is looking a lot tighter Colchester and Mansfield sitting on the same number of points with Cambridge only a further point adrift. The fixtures don't get any easier for Pool either, with the champions elect Doncaster Rovers up next on Easter Monday at the Keepmoat. Lose that and it could well be curtains, although not mathematically, but call me stupid but I feel as though the Seasiders can go there and win. Doncaster's style of play seemed to suit Blackpool in the reverse fixture when Bowyer's men pressed and countered their way to an impressive 4-2 win. The pitch will also help, although the grass is starting to return at Bloomfield Road so that might not be an acceptable excuse anymore...