Ben Burgess column: One extreme to the other with Blackpool

Ben Burgess
Ben Burgess
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Only Blackpool can put such a miserable run of defeats together, culminating in a last minute loss to a near neighbour, and then completely go to the other extreme and wallop second-placed Doncaster Rovers 4-2 at Bloomfield Road.

I, along with most others, feared the absolute worst when Andy Taylor unfortunately put through his own goal after just one minute.

Thankfully, the Seasiders showed real mental strength to pull level thanks to Kyle Vassell’s quick thinking and Brad Potts’ excellent finish.

It was a good performance and great result in the end, even though Doncaster could have made it an interesting finish if they hadn’t missed their second penalty of the game.

The standout goal from a tangerine perspective was Potts’ free-kick thunderbolt.

He has been a revelation this season and his confidence is so high that he’s even smashing set pieces in.

Mastering the art of free-kick taking is extremely hard.

I only scored one free kick in my whole career and I took that before the keeper was ready!

There are only a handful of players in the world that regularly score free-kicks and even Cristiano Ronaldo has struggled in the last few years.

Having a good free-kick taker in your team can make a huge difference.

When I played for Brentford we had a guy called Paul Evans who had a hammer of a right foot.

He scored about 14 goals in the season I was there and there’s nothing better than a teammate banging a free-kick in when you’re under the cosh.

It completely transforms games and can take the pressure off the team.

Just look at Charlie Adam and his wonderful set piece against Cardiff in the play-0ff final.

Charlie, like most good players, practised constantly and also had the mental strength to keep stepping up to take the responsibility even after missing a few.

Charlie’s left foot was unique in that he could 
whip the ball just as well as he could hit an absolute rocket.

You wouldn’t want to block one of his shots in training from close range.

I said this the last time Blackpool had a good win, but it’s even more important now: they must put a good run of results together.

Their next game is at Cheltenham where I had a great couple of months in the twilight of my career.

They’re a lovely club with good fans but their team at the moment will probably be fighting relegation all season so it’s a must win game for Blackpool.

The pitch is tight and Cheltenham are a big side, who get the ball forward early and will be a different sort of test to Doncaster.

At the moment you could say Blackpool are beginning to look like one of those frustrating sides who raise their game against the bigger clubs – Bolton, Portsmouth, Doncaster – and struggle with the smaller sides – Accrington, Crawley.

Liverpool have been like this in the Premier League in the last couple of seasons and it just comes down to concentration and motivation.

It’s never hard to motivate yourself to play against someone who is top of the league because as a player you just want to prove you’re better than them.

It’s much harder when you have to go to some of the less salubrious grounds in League Two – of which there are many – and play against teams who have no intention of getting the ball down and playing football, instead there will be 90 minutes of aerial bombardment.

Thankfully, Gary Bowyer’s men have the ability to beat any team in this division; now they just need to prove it.