Blackpool FC writer Matt Scrafton takes a look at the Seasiders' 2-0 defeat at the hands of Luton Town.
All good things must come to an end
Blackpool's defeat on Saturday was just their second at home all season, with the other coming against league leaders Plymouth Argyle back in August. To suffer losses at Bloomfield Road to two sides as good as Plymouth and Luton is no disgrace at all, but it was the manner of Saturday's defeat which will have concerned Gary Bowyer the most. Luton seemed a step ahead of their opponents and after scoring their second just a minute into the second half, they could and perhaps should have added another one or two. Luton boss Nathan Jones said his side were "majestic" and took Blackpool apart, and while that may slightly over the top, it shouldn't detract from what was a classic performance on the road.
Pool are some way off the top three
While it would be churlish to read too much into one defeat, especially when it came after such an impressive recent run as Blackpool's, the Seasiders' performance during the 2-0 reversal showed they still have some way to go. They were given somewhat of a rude awakening after being negated by a dynamic, youthful and hungry Luton side that seemed first to every ball and showed style and panache in attack. With Pool already 12 points off that illustrious third spot, it appears as though play-offs will be the main aim as the Seasiders look for an instant return to League One.
Philliskirk needs to find himself a role
The former Oldham man finds himself in the curious position of struggling to make an impact when fielded in a wide midfield role, yet well down on the pecking order in the club's list of strikers. On Saturday he was fairly anonymous and was hauled off just 10 minutes into the second half. It certainly wasn't his finest performance but he was far from the only culprit - but his current situation is one that needs looking at. Gary Bowyer appears to rely on him because he knows he'll put a shift in for the team, but he needs to offer more in attack and the fact he's yet to score this season in 16 appearances - despite being brought in and out of the side - says it all.
Front two weren't at the races
It says a lot that I didn't give a single player 7/10 or more in my match ratings. It was an all-round poor performance from Gary Bowyer's men, it wasn't down to poor individual displays. At the same time, Blackpool's front two pairing of Jamille Matt and Kyle Vassell - very much their strength in recent weeks - were both under par. Vassell worked hard as ever and looked Blackpool's most potent threat - in the first half especially where he brought two or three good saves out of the Luton 'keeper. But Matt never really got going and the two didn't link up as well as they have been doing in recent games. Their failure to hold the ball up and keep it in the final third meant the midfield and defence were put under more pressure than necessary, and eventually that pressure told.
It's not all doom and gloom
Saturday's defeat was the first time Blackpool have been beaten by more than one goal in the league all season. As we approach the halfway mark, that's an impressive record. The Seasiders are still only one point off the play-off spots and if you look at the bigger picture, they've only lose two of their previous 13 games in all competitions. As we approach the busy festive period, things are still looking pretty rosy and there's no reason to be downbeat as they approach 2017 - on the pitch at least.