Blackpool 2-3 Scunthorpe: Five things we learned
Blackpool FC writer Matt Scrafton takes a look at the key talking points from the Seasiders' defeat to high-flying Scunthorpe.
Pool made to pay for disastrous start
Gary Bowyer’s men appeared to have barely awoken from their Christmas day slumber by the time they found themselves 2-0 down inside seven minutes. The first came inside the first 60 seconds as Tom Hopper sent a volley looping into Ben Williams’ top corner before the impressive Duane Holmes made it two with a deflected effort. The Seasiders were given hope when Danny Philliskirk halved the deficit with a stunning drive from the edge of the box. But Pool started the second half just as they had started the first - by conceding. This time it was Hakeeb Adelakun who fired in a long-range effort of his own to send the points back to Lincolnshire. Sean Longstaff added a consolation at the death but it wasn’t enough to save Blackpool from yet another defeat - only the second time Scunthorpe have won at Bloomfield Road in their history. The Iron, who are flying high in fourth place in League One, last won at Blackpool in 2000.
Stats paint a mixed picture
Scunthorpe had three shots on goal yesterday and scored them all. Fair play. Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and that's what Blackpool would have done when Tom Hopper sent his volley into the top corner of Ben Williams' net for their opener. It was a superbly-taken goal but you would have expected Blackpool to have done more to stop the ball reaching the striker inside their box in the first minute of the game. But the other two goals were more than avoidable. Williams was beaten far too easily at his near post by Holmes' strike, even though it took a slight deflection. But he certainly should have done more to stop Adelakun's hopeful effort which squirmed under his body and into the bottom corner. So it wasn't exactly a case of Scunthorpe being clinical, it was once again the Seasiders being the masters of their own downfall. Bowyer's men, meanwhile, managed 25 attempts on goal yet could only manage two goals. They had the chances as well as they continually battered the Scunthorpe box, but alas their wastefulness in front of goal came to the fore once again.
Home form a huge concern
Blackpool's storming start to the League One season was largely based on their hugely impressive home form, having enjoyed a six-game unbeaten run until the 3-1 defeat against Wigan Athletic in October. But they've now lost five of their last six games at Bloomfield Road and it is away from home where wins look the most likely. The turnaround is stark but also difficult to explain. On the face of it, it does seem as though Blackpool's opposition have worked them out a little bit on home turf and are happy to sit back and camp their own box in a bid to frustrate them. As we've seen in recent weeks, when the onus is on the Seasiders to take the game to the opposition, more often than not they disappoint. Their early season form was based on free-flowing football but Blackpool have since resorted to direct, long-ball tactics. While it worked - to an extent - against Charlton last Saturday, earning a late draw, Scunthorpe's two centre backs managed to deal with everything that was thrown at them impressively well. How Gary Bowyer turns around his side's miserable home form remains a mystery for now.
Gnanduillet deserves credit for recent displays
It's fair to say Armand Gnanduillet has struggled when he's been called upon this season but in the last two games, he's looked a lot brighter. That has coincided with Blackpool's change in style, with Bowyer opting for a more direct approach which suits the tall Frenchman down to a tee. He held the ball up well during the 1-1 draw at Charlton and, as Bowyer has been calling on him to do for months, put himself about and used his physical attributes to his advantage. He also set up Clark Robertson's goal with a smart downward header. Gnanduillet continued where he left off against Scunthorpe, again winning the majority of his aerial battles and coming close to scoring on a couple of occasions. I think it's accepted that Gnanduillet is never going to be Kyle Vassell and he's never going to be the goalscorer that Blackpool badly need. But at a time where the Seasiders are desperately scratching around for a striker that makes some sort of impact, it's fair to say Gnanduillet has done more than most. But that's not saying much...
January can't come quickly enough
Will Gary Bowyer be permitted to make any additions to his squad in the January transfer window? That is the question we are all asking. The Oyston family have a mammoth bill to pay and their focus right now will be recouping whatever money they can, not spending it. Despite that, Bowyer has indicated in recent weeks that he has a list of targets in mind and is hopeful of sorting out some deals. Whether it will be a case of moving three or four on to bring one or two in remains to be seen. But Blackpool definitely need to do something. They're in dire need of a striker to step into the role vacated by injured duo Kyle Vassell and Mark Cullen and dare I say it, but they might need a new goalkeeper given the recent performances of Ryan Allsop and Ben Williams (while former Pool man Matt Gilks had a storming game back at Bloomfield Road!). Sean Longstaff has yet to extend his loan from Newcastle as well, with Scunthorpe supposedly keeping tabs on the midfielder. While the 21-year-old's form has dipped in recent times he would still be a massive miss, having contributed six goals so far this season. The Seasiders are well known for their lack of action in the January transfer window - if that is the case once again this season it could prove costly.