Blackpool 2-3 Portsmouth: Five things we learned

Brett Pitman was the difference between the two sides
Brett Pitman was the difference between the two sides

Blackpool FC writer Matt Scrafton takes a look at the key talking points from the Seasiders' five-goal thriller with Portsmouth.


Pitman came back to haunt the Seasiders

Seven years ago, Brett Pitman turned down a move to Blackpool. The date was August 20, 2010 and the Seasiders had just made a dream start to their first ever season in the Premier League by beating Wigan Athletic 4-0. Fast forward to 2017 - after years of the owners failing to invest sufficient amounts in the football club leading to its steady decline - and Pitman showed the Seasiders exactly what they had missed out on. Only this time it was in League One. The experienced striker, still only 29, took advantage of some woeful Blackpool defending on Saturday to help himself to a brace. Had Blackpool secured his signature back in 2010, who knows what would have happened. Could it have been the difference between staying up and going down? Any such prediction is pure speculation. But what is certain is that the former Bournemouth man won’t have scored two easier goals in his career than he did at Bloomfield Road.

Blackpool missing a number nine

Pitman’s performance highlighted exactly where Blackpool are going wrong at the minute. He was the difference between the two sides. Portsmouth have a number nine who can stick the ball in the back of the net, Blackpool don’t. Well they do, but Kyle Vassell and Mark Cullen are both out of action through injury at the moment. Their absence couldn’t have been more obvious than it was on Saturday. A case in point was halfway through a pretty dire first half where the dangerous Viv Solomon-Otabor delivered an exquisite, teasing cross in behind Portsmouth’s central defenders which was just begging for a striker to tap home. Had Pitman been wearing tangerine and not blue, the ball would have ended up in the back of the net. As it was, Portsmouth got away with it. They went on to win the game.

READ MORE: Blackpool 2-3 Portsmouth

The Fonz stuck in between a rock and a hard place

Nathan Delfouneso was the man given the role of playing up front for the Seasiders and it’s fair to say he didn't have his best game in a tangerine shirt. There’s no faulting his effort and he certainly offers something, but at the moment he’s struggling to decipher whether or not he’s a striker or a winger. Right now he’s almost caught in between the two. He thrives when the ball is at his feet and he has space to run into, yet when he’s deployed as the lone striker he has no option but to play with his back to goal. Just one problem, his hold-up play really isn’t one of his greatest strengths. Pool’s recent struggles in attack begs the question why Sean Longstaff - who already has five goals to his name this season - was left on the bench once again. While he's a midfielder, not a striker, his shoot-on-sight policy that proved so fruitful earlier on in the season really could come in handy at this minute in time.

A case for the defence...not

Unfortunately for the Seasiders, their bluntness in attack comes at a time when they’ve seemingly forgotten how to defend simple set pieces. While individually Curtis Tilt and Will Aimson both had good games, there’s no excuse for Pool’s back four to leave Brett Pitman unmarked - as he was for both of his goals. One must also have sympathy for goalkeeper Ryan Allsop who made superb saves for two of Portsmouth’s three goals, only to be let down by the defenders in front of him. There was little to do for either defence in what was a pretty dull and drab first half, other than Viv Solomon-Otabor’s early chance when the winger blazed over from 12 yards out. Instead, all the action and all the goals came in a thrilling second half and that's where Pool's defending left a lot to be desired. In his short but sweet post-match interview, Gary Bowyer said his side had worked on set pieces a lot during the week in the build-up to this game but will work even harder on them next week.

Pool supporters anything but a busted flush

This week has been at utterly momentous one for Blackpool Football Club - up there with the famous FA Cup final win in 1953 and the life-changing - or what it should have been - promotion to the Premier League in 2010. Let's remember it wasn't long ago that Karl Oyston called the Blackpool Supporters' Trust a "busted flush", adding that their numbers are dwindling. If only he could have been at The Excelsior pub on Saturday as hundreds of supporters struggled to find space to stand for their Extraordinary General Meeting which was called in response to this week's hugely significant news. So many were in attendance the latecomers were forced to listen on from the stairway outside. There's still a long way to go but if/when the club is eventually sold, there's a hell of a lot of extremely passionate and knowledgeable people that deserve a say in the future running of the football club.