Blackpool FC writer Matt Scrafton takes a look at the key talking points from the Seasiders' impressive 4-1 win at Carlisle.
Where did that come from?
It’s funny how things can change so quickly in football. On Tuesday night, in front of Blackpool’s lowest league crowd of the season, the Seasiders slumped to their fourth consecutive draw - a result that appeared to confirm Pool’s season was all but over. They were languid and insipid and utterly failed in their bid to break down an average Crawley side that were content to sit in and settle for a point. Turn the clock forward four days and Gary Bowyer’s men produce arguably their best performance of the season in a 4-1 destruction of high-flying Carlisle United. Everything that went wrong against Crawley was put right at Brunton Park and in truth, aside from a five-minute spell in the second half after their goal, Pool were very rarely threatened. A 4-1 win wasn't generous at all, because it could have been five, six or even seven.
Playing surface suited Pool's game
It must be noted that this was a Carlisle side sitting third in the league table and before Saturday’s game had only been beaten three times all season. But they were made to look like relegation certainties as a fired-up Blackpool side constantly pressed and harassed them across the sizeable Brunton Park pitch. The size of the pitch and the quality of the surface was something Gary Bowyer was keen to stress in the build-up to Saturday’s game, and so it proved. There was no excuse for Pool’s dire performance at Bloomfield Road during the week but there’s no doubt the poor state of the pitch - which has been an annual talking point for Blackpool fans - has made playing attractive football nigh-on impossible. That certainly wasn’t the case in Cumbria, where Pool’s passing was incisive and penetrative while their pressing high up the pitch was a joy to watch.
Potts was right to celebrate
One player who was clearly brimming with confidence was Brad Potts, who opened the scoring in the first half with a routine close-range tap-in. His celebration was far from routine though, as he peeled away towards the Carlisle fans to show exactly what it meant to score against his former side. Potts, who came through the youth ranks at Carlisle and went on to make over 100 appearances for the club, had been routinely booed from the first whistle and his emotions took over after notching Pool’s first-half opener. The 22-year-old later took to Twitter to apologise to the Carlisle fans, although there didn’t seem to be a great deal to apologise for. Emotions and part and parcel of football and if the Carlisle fans are to boo Potts, as they also did in the reverse fixture at Bloomfield Road, they should be prepared for Potts to give something back when he scores.
Jordan Flores is a cut above
The Wigan loanee scored Pool's second just before the hour-mark after showing the courage to press high up the pitch and drilling home from the edge of the box after picking up on a loose ball. It was a clinical finish from the youngster who put in yet another disciplined and skilled display while also scoring his first goal for the club in impressive fashion. With the time and space afforded to him by a surprisingly under-par Carlisle side, you saw just how good he is. His quality on the ball in unquestionable and he caught the eye with a wide array of fine passes. The sizeable Brunton Park pitch certainly suited his game and he might have to tailor how he plays when Blackpool are at home, but there's no doubt Blackpool have a very good player on their hands who won't be playing at League Two level much longer.
Pompey game could be season-defining
Beating Carlisle in such an impressive manner is one thing, but it won't mean anything if they don't follow it up with some sort of result against Portsmouth on Tuesday night. Blackpool are now five points behind in-form Mansfield, who currently occupy the final play-off spot, while Portsmouth are a further points ahead in sixth. Pool have now put themselves right back in the mix but they need to take advantage of games against Portsmouth, Exeter, Wycombe and Plymouth that come thick and fast in the upcoming weeks. Back-to-back wins against Carlisle and Portsmouth would really kickstart Pool's season and give them confidence they are capable of beating any side that is put in front of them.