Blackpool's opening day win against Reading was just what the doctor ordered

This was just what the doctor ordered.

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'It's a tough one to take': Paul Ince left gutted by Reading's opening day defea...

Michael Appleton observed himself that after the somewhat lukewarm reaction to his return to the Fylde coast, he needed to get off to a good start to keep the murmurs of discontent at bay.

With supporters also becoming increasingly frustrated with the club’s recruitment this summer, it was integral to start with a win to inject some much-needed positivity more than anything else.

Appleton’s side certainly did that in the first-half as they delivered a sublime 45 minutes of football.

We were treated to some delightful stuff as promised following Appleton’s appointment, with debutant Lewis Fiorini pulling the strings from midfield, fellow newbie Dom Thompson smashing into challenges left, right and centre and Josh Bowler being…well, Josh Bowler.

The winger was a delight to watch as he relentlessly paraded forward time after time, ably supported by Callum Connolly filling in at right-back.

The pair had the run of the right wing, so much so I almost felt sorry for Reading’s hapless left-back Nesta Guinness-Walker who found himself being utterly terrorised by Bowler. Almost being the key word there.

Connolly celebrates after giving Blackpool an early lead

Blackpool played with fluidity and confidence, passing the ball through the thirds at ease and getting themselves into dangerous positions on a surprisingly regular occurrence.

I say surprisingly because you expect better from a Championship opponent, but Reading are a fairly limited side not helped by a poor manager in Paul Ince - as Blackpool fans know all too well.

The hosts took advantage of their fast start by edging ahead as soon as the ninth minute, having already come close on a couple of occasions.

Former Pool loanee Joe Lumley had denied Bowler minutes earlier with an excellent reaction stop. The second time he did this, Connolly was on hand to lash home high into the roof of the net from the rebound.

With the wind in their sails, Blackpool came forward with wave after wave of attack but squandered presentable chances to add a second and third before the break, which would have been deserved.

The only time Reading threatened, meanwhile, was when the Seasiders got their build-up play all wrong thanks to a loose pass or two, but that will come with time as the players get used to Appleton’s methods.

The second-half, by comparison, was a much more nervy affair.

Saying that, the game could have been put to bed in the opening minutes after the break when Bowler was oh-so-unlucky to see his low shot rebound off the foot of the post, rather than ricochet in, after dancing into the Reading box with another of his mazy runs.

That moment of fortune seemed to spur Ince’s men into life because they soon took control and pinned the Seasiders back into their own half.

The hosts were living dangerously at this moment as they only invited more and more pressure on themselves, but Appleton - unlike his predecessor - noticed the momentum of the game was shifting and made swift changes to rectify it.

The Royals were still on top after Pool made full use of their five subs, as they’re now permitted to do, but only now they had fresh legs and were able to see out the remaining minutes fairly comfortably.

While the visitors got plenty of balls into the box from wide positions, flashed the odd cross across the face of goal and got into some dangerous positions, I don’t actually recall Dan Grimshaw having a serious save to make.

Another side might have punished Blackpool for their second-half display, but Reading lacked final quality in the final third and never really looked like carving them open.

All that was left was for Appleton to applaud and show his appreciation to the supporters at the final whistle to celebrate getting his second stint off to a winning start.

There would be no fist pumps, no love heart hand gestures, this is a new era we’re living in. It was simply a case of job done and onto the next one.

There’s still plenty of work to do, Appleton acknowledges that. But with a new man at the helm and NINE senior first-team players out injured, you can’t ask for much more than a clean sheet and a winning start.

With one or two quality additions and the return of three or four of the injured players, like James Husband, Richard Keogh, Jordan Gabriel and Keshi Anderson, the Seasiders have a squad that is more than capable of competing in the Championship and competing well.

We saw plenty of glimpses of the football Appleton is likely to bring to the table this season, and that’s with players having to play out of position - namely Connolly at right-back, Lewis Fiorini as a six and Jerry Yates out on the left wing.

Jordan Thorniley, meanwhile, had to fill in at left-back when debutant Thompson - who enjoyed an excellent first outing in tangerine - limped off towards the end with a tight groin.

Once we see things beginning to click, with players in their rightful positions and added quality brought to the club, there’s every reason to be optimistic about the season ahead.

All of a sudden there’s a bit of excitement about next week’s trip to Stoke, who endured a difficult opening day in what was, by all accounts, a comprehensive 2-0 defeat to Millwall on Saturday.

A repeat of last season’s victory would do very nicely, thanks.