Blackpool FC writer Matt Scrafton takes a look at the key talking points from the Seasiders' 1-1 draw against Colchester United.
Thoughts are with McAlister
It was a horrendous challenge that forced Jim McAlister to be stretchered off the field of play and caused him to fracture his tibia. Colchester's Sean Murray was rightfully sent off and has since apologised for the tackle, which came on his debut for the club. McAlister had arguably been Blackpool's best player up to that point which is an impressive feat given he was playing out of position. Stepping in for the suspended Kelvin Mellor at right wing-back, McAlister showed desire and superb energy levels to tear up and down the right flank from the first whistle. The 31-year-old's injury puts the poor result into perspective and I'm sure everyone will be wishing him well and hopes he makes a speedy recovery.
League form is a massive concern
The statistics don't make for pleasant reading for Gary Bowyer's side. Blackpool are without a league win on home turf since the 4-1 thrashing of Newport County back in November. The Seasiders, who are also without a win in the league in 2017, are in danger of being cut adrift from the top seven with 19 games remaining and things seem to be getting worse rather than better. Bowyer was in a defensive mood when questioned about his side’s recent dip, which has included a run of results that is nowhere near good enough to finish in the play offs - that much is clear. I'm not a fan of using the term "must win" when we're only in February but Tuesday night's home game against Crawley certainly takes on extra importance after Pool's failure to pick up three points against Colchester.
How did Pool not win the game?
Despite the disappointing result, there were plenty of encouraging signs for Blackpool. Going forward, their performance was similar to the displays they put in back in November and December when they were seemingly putting three and four past sides at will. They had 22 shots on goal against Colchester and Bowyer seemed more than happy with his side’s performance. But it is results that make the difference at this point of the season, not performances, and that’s where the Seasiders are letting themselves down. The hosts were certainly a constant threat going forward and created chance after chance which begs the question - how did they only score one?
Defensive frailties exposed
It’s not just at that particular end of the pitch where they have worries, because their defending - especially at home - has fallen to pieces in recent weeks. Colchester were virtually gifted their equaliser, with Kurtis Guthrie having the simple task of tapping in from close range after the Blackpool defence had failed to clear a routine corner despite having three opportunities to do so. Defensive mistakes can happen and it’s how you react to them which is important, but it’s not coincidental when they continue to happen time and time again. The U’s hit the bar twice in quick succession at the end of a frantic first half following yet more farcical and hesitant defending. The Blackpool players were getting in each other’s way and it almost looked as if they were strangers and hadn’t played with each other before.
Is 3-5-2 the way forward?
The Seasiders’ recent woes at the back seem to have coincided with their move to a 3-5-2 formation. Bizarrely, the new system seems to have paid dividends away from home where they have kept four consecutive clean sheets. But at home, they conceded two sloppy goals against Yeovil and they were lucky to get away with just the one against Colchester. The U’s weren’t a particularly impressive side and yet on another day they could have scored three - and that would have been down to Pool’s deficiencies. But it will be the host of opportunities Blackpool squandered that will be the most frustrating element of their performance. Chance after chance came their way yet Jamille Matt’s close-range opener was the only one they could stick in the back of the net.