Blackpool 1 AFC Wimbledon 0: Five things we learned
Sean Longstaff was the star again as Blackpool made it three straight league wins at Bloomfield Road with their 1-0 victory against AFC Wimbledon.
Ten points from five games represents an excellent return as Gary Bowyer’s players get used to life back in League One.
What else did we pick up from Saturday’s three points?
Doing it differently
The Seasiders’ opening month of the season saw them display some fast-flowing, passing football.
However, yesterday was a case in point when it came to winning another way against a solid, well organised AFC Wimbledon side.
Barring the final quarter-hour as the visitors chased the game, it was nowhere near as entertaining a performance as the opening 45 minutes against Oldham Athletic last week.
That’s not a bad thing though; if anything it was more pleasing to see Bowyer’s players display their ability to grind out a win.
The case for the defence
Two clean sheets in five league games is a promising return for the season ahead and it was the backline who stepped up to the plate on Saturday.
Keeper Ryan Allsop only had one save to make but it was a big one; denying Cody McDonald just before half-time kept the game goalless and prevented Bowyer’s men from having to chase the game.
In front of him, however, were the Seasiders’ star performers yesterday of Clark Robertson and Curtis Tilt.
Though Robertson should have scored, he put in a dominant display against McDonald and Tilt again displayed his huge potential in his first season at Football League level.
A referee again came under the spotlight on Saturday with Carl Boyeson criticised by both managers for his second-half dismissal of Jimmy Abdou.
The midfielder was shown a straight red card for what the official deemed a two-footed challenge on Blackpool’s Callum Cooke.
It triggered memories of Sessi D’Almeida’s similar challenge in Blackpool’s Checkatrade Trophy loss to Wigan Athletic during the week.
That night, however, referee Jeremy Simpson merely cautioned the Seasiders’ midfielder; some consistent decision making might be nice.
Oops, he did it again
Bowyer said pre-match that, when scouted, Sean Longstaff had shown a calmness in front of goal which he hadn’t displayed yet because he hadn’t got within 25 yards for the Seasiders.
Saturday’s winner displayed, however, the composure to which Bowyer had alluded as Longstaff raced into area, switched feet and finished clinically.
He had been relatively quiet until then because, as Dons boss Neal Ardley said afterwards, his players had been told to clamp down on the teenager.
That shows the impact Longstaff has made in his short spell with the club but, as all good players do, he took his chance when it came along.
Big shoes to fill
Bright Osayi-Samuel may not be the most physically imposing player but he leaves a big hole to be filled at Bloomfield Road.
His departure might have been coming but the way in which it happened, leaving Bowyer with no time at all to find a replacement, left a sour taste in the mouth.
Nathan Delfouneso performed manfully in a wide role on Saturday but a player of Osayi-Samuel’s ability was always going to be a big miss.
It now leaves Bowyer with an unenviable task in trying to ensure a fine first month isn’t unduly damaged.