Blackpool FC writer Matt Scrafton takes a look at the key talking points from the Seasiders' disappointing draw at Gigg Lane.
A draw isn't good enough
Blackpool should be going to Bury and winning, it's as simple as that. The Shakers looked every inch the relegation strugglers they most certainly are, as they remain rooted to the bottom of the table and 11 points adrift of safety. This makes it all the more worrying that Blackpool were unable to put them to the sword. Ryan Lowe deserves sympathy for attempting to clean up the mess left by former Blackpool boss Lee Clark and his replacement Chris Lucketti, but they are a very limited side. Despite playing at home and being in dire need of some wins, the Shakers sat back and allowed Blackpool to dictate the possession. A better side than Blackpool would have converted the chances they created; most notably Nathan Delfouneso’s inexplicable failure to tap home from a couple of yards out from goal in the first half. Once they got that goal, and what a superb one it was too from Sean Longstaff, that should have been that. But they somehow conspired to concede an utterly dreadful goal seven minutes from time. Bury threw the kitchen sink in injury time as they went in search of just their sixth win of the season, but Pool held on to pick up a point that does very little to ease their relegation fears.
Individual errors continue to prove costly
The obvious worry for Blackpool is how they continue to conspire to either lose or draw games when generally speaking, their performances have been okay. They certainly did enough to win Saturday's game, but once again they lacked that cutting edge in attack and were punished for a drop in concentration at the back, as has been the case so many times in recent weeks and months. Blackpool had at least three opportunities to clear their lines for Bury's goal, but they didn't and they were subsequently punished. The tone was set when former Seasider Peter Clarke was given time to launch the ball forward to James Hanson. Clark Robertson then failed to deal with the knockdown and that left Curtis Tilt to dilly-dally over the ball, leaving Miller unmarked behind them to level. It was a miserable way for Blackpool to lose their lead in what many considered a must-win game. But these are mistakes that continue to blight their season.
Another long-range beauty from Longstaff
Blackpool's early-season form came at a time when Sean Longstaff, the man on loan from Premier League side Newcastle United, was belting the ball in from outside the box every other week. We saw a return of that at Gigg Lane, when Longstaff produced a sublime volley for his seventh of the season. He watched the ball come out of the sky, before letting fly giving the goalkeeper no chance as he saw his ambitious effort nestle in the bottom corner of the Bury net. It capped off a good performance from Longstaff, who stood up to the ugly conditions well. It's been well documented what sort of conditions he'll be used to playing in for the Magpies' U23 side, they'll certainly be very different to what we witnessed at Bury. But this sort of game can only serve him well in his development as a player. He's now adding that ability to dig in deep and do the ugly stuff to go alongside the undoubted talent he has at his disposal. Perhaps he can also take over set-piece duty from Jay Spearing, who continues to find the first man with the vast majority of his corners.
Recent form is more than just a bad spell
As chaos continues to reign supreme at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool’s miserable run of form on the pitch shows no signs of dissipating. The stats don’t make for good reading. The Seasiders have won just one game in their last 12 outings, two in their last 17. Sean Longstaff’s goal was Blackpool’s first since New Year’s Day. It is fortunate they started the season so well, otherwise they’d be well adrift of safety by now – much like Saturday’s opponents Bury who remain rooted to the bottom of the table having won just five games all season. Gary Bowyer has argued the Seasiders’ form was just as worrying this time last year, when his side had won just once in their last 12 games before going on a stunning run that saw them seal promotion via the play-offs at Wembley. But this time it feels very different. Now, the Seasiders have 16 games to preserve their League One status. Onlookers have suggested they need at least five, if not six wins to achieve that. At the moment we’re relying on Blackpool producing a repeat of last season’s superb run from March onwards.
Seasiders' support a sign of things to come?
It makes a massive difference to Blackpool when they receive the sort of backing they had at Bury, both vocally and in size. There were 963 supporters who made the trip to Greater Manchester, although it must be said it looked and sounded like more. While the Oyston Out chants were as vocal and as frequent as you would expect, it was also heartening to see the support to Gary Bowyer and his players. The scenes that greeted Blackpool's goal were great to witness from the press box. Both Bowyer and Sean Longstaff made reference to it in their post-match interviews. Bowyer commented on the "brilliant" following and referred to how important it is to his side. Meanwhile Longstaff, who made a fleeting reference to the lack of support at home fixtures, struggled to explain the feeling he felt when he celebrated in front of the Blackpool fans when he put the Seasiders in front. It surely beats running over to an empty stand at Bloomfield Road. Let's hope it's not long until we're seeing this level of support on a weekly basis.