Blackpool 0-1 Mansfield: Five things we learned

Tom Aldred battles for the ball
Tom Aldred battles for the ball
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Blackpool FC writer Matt Scrafton takes a look at the key talking points from the Seasiders' disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Mansfield.

Pool lacking a cutting edge

The Seasiders have now only scored one goal in their last four matches and anyone who watched them against Mansfield wouldn't be surprised by that particular stat. The only real chance they created was from a corner, where Kelvin Mellor headed towards the bottom corner only for his effort to be blocked on the line. But apart from that, Pool were meek in attack and lacked real potency, producing only two shots on target all game. Plenty have commented on Pool's lack of creativity in the middle of the park and judging on yesterday's performance, they may have a point. Michael Cain certainly has an eye for a pass, but the game completely bypassed him and was crowded out by an organised Mansfield unit.

Home performances a cause for concern

The defeat against Mansfield was Blackpool's second in a row at home, having lost 2-0 to Luton in December. Not only is that two defeats, that's also two games without a goal at Bloomfield Road. What was a fortress for the Seasiders and a place where they would regularly turn in three or four goals, is now becoming something of an issue for them. Sides are now well aware Blackpool thrive on space in behind the defence, so they've adjusted accordingly and sit back deep in their own half and look to break on the counter. It's not a particularly difficult tactic to implement, you just need to be organised and disciplined, but at the moment it's one that Gary Bowyer's men don't have an answer for.

Four changes didn't have desired effect

I understand why Bowyer made the changes, with his side having to face two games in the space of three days. He certainly wasn't the only one either, with Steve Evans bringing in his four new signings straight into his line up. But the personnel who came in have been stuck on the substitutes bench for most of the season and there's a reason why that's the case. Armand Gnanduillet was sluggish and offered very little, much to the frustration of his manager. Danny Philliskirk was given yet another chance on the wing, an unfamiliar position which he has struggled in for much of the season, and was completely anonymous once again. Michael Cain tried but failed and Danny Pugh never really got going. It was an all-round poor team performance, so it's harsh to pick out individuals, but the four changes certainly didn't have the effect Bowyer would have wanted.

Defeat highlighted what Pool are lacking

In his post-match interview, Bowyer insisted the defeat won't rush him into action in the transfer window and said he won't be panic buying. But for me, the performance confirmed what we already knew. Blackpool need a commanding centre half to accompany Tom Aldred and a creative spark in the centre of midfield. A winger who is capable of playing on both sides would be useful as well but I get the feeling Bowyer will just wait for Colin Daniel to return from injury. Pool certainly have a big squad, but it's quality for the first team where they are lacking. They're certainly no mugs and aren't far away from being a decent play-off side, but to launch a proper shot at the top seven they will need to strengthen this month. Will the manager be allowed to do so? Answers on a postcard, please.

The crowds aren't going to come flocking back

In fact, the opposite is happening. Not only did Blackpool get their 2017 off to the worst possible start with a defeat, they also suffered their lowest home crowd of the season in the league with just 2,948 in attendance - with 500 odd of those being from Mansfield (no official figure was released). Ionically, it was one of the more vocal crowds at Bloomfield Road this season, although that isn't saying a great deal. But if the Seasiders' form tails off towards the end of the season and finish in mid-table, well out of play-off contention, could crowds drop to as low as 2,000? Even when Pool were in their pomp and beating teams left, right and centre on home turf, they weren't getting anywhere near 4,000 turning up. Irrespective of results, the boycotters are standing firm.