I’m happy to admit I feared a tonking for Blackpool at Arsenal on Wednesday night and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.
How happy I was to be proved wrong.
Ben Heneghan and Paudie O’Connor in particular were two players who proved the critics wrong.
Upon seeing the line-up, which excluded Donervon Daniels and Curtis Tilt through injury and suspension respectively, I’m sure supporters couldn’t have envisaged the fight Blackpool eventually produced.
Heneghan and O’Connor were the pairing that played together in Blackpool’s 6-0 defeat to a young Blackburn Rovers side in the Lancashire Senior Cup a week ago.
On Saturday, we witnessed Blackpool ripped to shreds for 20 to 25 minutes in their derby day defeat to Fleetwood Town.
Eventually they went down to a 3-2 loss, conceding three goals for the first time this season – and that came after Daniels’ hamstring injury during the warm-up.
Both Heneghan and O’Connor were heralded as impressive signings when they arrived at Bloomfield Road this summer, but it’s fair to say they’ve struggled and haven’t quite yet lived up to their reputations.
But, against the toughest of opponents on Wednesday night, they showed why they’re both rated so highly.
O’Connor, in particular, was in superb form, scoring the goal that brought Blackpool into the game having earlier hit the crossbar.
It was just a shame his evening ended on a sour note with his sending off.
Heneghan, meanwhile, kept Danny Welbeck quiet and produced an array of fine last-ditch blocks and tackles.
You’d imagine Tilt will come back for tomorrow’s game against Bristol Rovers and O’Connor will miss out through suspension, but Heneghan deserves another chance to start and show more of what he can do.