Good, bad and the ugly: Blackpool's defeat to Swansea City was a bonkers game full of contradictions

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Ultimately this was another game and another damaging defeat for Blackpool and that’s all that matters.
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Swansea City boss Russell Martin relieved to hold on for three points against 10...

But that barely scratches the surface on what was a bonkers game full of contradictions and mixed feelings.

It felt like it was going to be a long, long night when Blackpool allowed Swansea City to pass the ball around at will during a frankly pitiful first-half. Not only in their only half and across their own backline, as they often like to do, but also into the pockets of space in the opposition third and into dangerous areas time and time again.

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The game nearly began in calamitous circumstances for the Seasiders when Callum Connolly handled the ball inside the opening 20 seconds. The Swansea players desperately wanted the defender sent off but thankfully Geoff Eltringham kept his red card in his pocket…for now.

Blackpool were given a couple of early warning signs inside the opening five minutes though as they were caught in-between pressing Swansea high from the front or sitting off them completely. In the end, they did neither.

Russell Martin’s men capitalised on this uncertainty, taking the lead when a lofted ball played back into the box was steered home by the unmarked Matty Sorinola, who had peeled off James Husband far too easily to create a yard or two of space for himself.

While Swansea were still in total control, amassing 84 per cent of possession at one stage in the first-half, they did end up taking their foot off the gas a little bit, allowing Blackpool a way back into the game having previously been fortunate to only be a goal down.

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The Seasiders were left wondering what might have been after fighting to the death with 10 menThe Seasiders were left wondering what might have been after fighting to the death with 10 men
The Seasiders were left wondering what might have been after fighting to the death with 10 men

Josh Bowler, who looked like Blackpool’s only attacking threat in the first 45, came close on two occasions, testing the goalkeeper with a couple of dangerous efforts.

That gave Blackpool some belief they could still go on and get something from this game, despite being well off the pace and clearly second best in the first period.

McCarthy’s men emerged with much more intent and tempo after the interval but, as has often been the case during this putrid season, just as they were beginning to show signs of life they pressed the self-destruct button once again.

This time it was Charlie Patino who let his teammates down, crunching into a dangerous challenge when already on a booking to be shown a red card – Blackpool’s NINTH of the campaign.

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Blackpool probably deserved a point for their efforts with 10 menBlackpool probably deserved a point for their efforts with 10 men
Blackpool probably deserved a point for their efforts with 10 men

At that point you’re thinking it was game over. Not only were they a man down, they were a man down to a possession-heavy Swansea side who will be able to pass it around at will.

But no, for the second time in a week Blackpool – quite inexplicably – somehow found a way to get better with 10 men and take the game to their opponents.

Ian Poveda and Morgan Rogers – two players that really deserve to be starting – came off the bench and helped turn the game Blackpool’s way.

Sonny Carey, a passenger during the first-half, could have bagged himself a hat-trick in the second-half such was his influence.

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Charlie Patino, still only 19, will have to learn the lessons of his reckless redCharlie Patino, still only 19, will have to learn the lessons of his reckless red
Charlie Patino, still only 19, will have to learn the lessons of his reckless red

Unfortunately he only came away with one, but a good goal it was as he steered home following some lovely build-up play between Poveda and Jerry Yates, who unselfishly teed up Carey when he could easily have opted to shoot himself.

In typical Blackpool fashion, the lead lasted just three minutes. To sum up the season, it was a Callum Connolly own goal that gifted the home side the three points having looked anxious and desperate to hear the final whistle late on.

That’s because Blackpool came forward in waves, with Rogers and Poveda at the heart of the vast majority of it. Carey hit the post and headed just over, while Rogers’ touch let him down when he went through one-on-one.

It begged the question why Blackpool can’t start games in this manner when they have 11 men on the pitch, a question I would have put to McCarthy myself at full-time had I had the opportunity. But unfortunately the veteran boss never made it to the press room as he was in a rush to get back on the bus and make the long trek back to Blackpool.

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Come full-time, it was a case of mixed feelings once again. You can’t knock the players, they’re giving everything for the cause and they showed bags of character to take the game to Swansea with a man down.

But the Seasiders got their setup from the start completely wrong once again and were lucky Swansea weren’t out of sight at half-time such was their dominance.

At some point, we’re going to have to admit team spirit, heart, desire and so on will only get you so far. It certainly won’t be enough to keep Blackpool in the division on its own.

And yet, bizarrely, Blackpool have also shown they have the quality to stay up, at least in glimpses.

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In recent weeks, the likes of Bowler, Poveda and Rogers have proven – when given the licence and are set free to do their own thing – they can be the difference.

Blackpool aren’t good enough defensively to keep things tight and nick a goal from a set-piece, they’re never going to be that side. Their strength is in their forward options, so get them on the pitch and get at teams.

It’s been said before, but the last thing we want is for Blackpool to go down with a whimper. If they go down swinging, so be it. But we can’t afford to be left thinking ‘what might have been’.