Match report: It may have been lucky for Pool, but who cares

Blackpool's players celebrate Brad Potts' winner
Blackpool's players celebrate Brad Potts' winner
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Once the excitement and sheer shock of Blackpool’s first win of the season died down, the statistics were a little sobering.

They showed a pretty one- sided affair with Scunthorpe having 61 per cent of possession and 23 shots on goal, Blackpool had just five.

It’s probably fair to say the Seasiders’ first win of the season was maybe a little lucky.

But do you know what, who cares?

After weeks of hammering this young squad, I’m now going to praise them, at the end of the day you make your own luck.

It wasn’t pretty, probably wasn’t deserved, isn’t going to have me rushing to the bookies to lump on them flying up the table, but it was a win.

And after all that has gone on, it’s a win which will mean the world to the under-fire manager and squad at Bloomfield Road.

While there’s no doubt luck and poor finishing from Scunthorpe played a huge part, so did Colin Doyle.

The keeper made a string of fine saves to keep his side in the game, then earn them the win late on, he was without doubt Blackpool’s match winner.

Also credit goes to Neil McDonald who set up to sneak a 1-0 win, like at Sheffield United, and this time got it.

The win certainly doesn’t mask the problems at the club, and doesn’t paper over the cracks, but if nothing else it’s a start for the manager and his new squad.

So well done to the manager, well done to young skipper David Ferguson on his first win with the armband and well done to the 239 travelling fans who made the trip – finally you all have something to smile about.

The win was the product of yet another formation change, this time with a very defensive looking 4-1-4-1 line-up.

Doyle returned from injury to start in goal, Lloyd Jones came into the back four, Jose Cubero finally started in the middle of the park and John Herron was handed his debut for the club after shaking off a ‘knock’ to his knee.

New boy David Norris took his place on the bench alongside Jack Redshaw who was dropped from the starting line-up.

There was a strange atmosphere around the stadium in the build-up to the game, the locals were expecting a simple home win.

“If we don’t win today we might as well give up,” was the view of one supporter I spoke to, yet another sign of Blackpool’s reputation among clubs in League One.

I know I’ve harped back to the Holloway era almost every week this season, but the last visit to Glanford Park ended in a 4-2 Pool win – they ran riot that afternoon.

Among the Scunthorpe starters was former Seasider Neal Bishop who was outspoken about Blackpool’s plight in his guest Gazette column on Friday.

He ironically played in tangerine the last time Pool won on the road, against Wigan back in April 2014.

The expectation of an easy afternoon clearly spread around the whole stadium, there was no atmosphere around at all as the game began in total silence. It had the feel of a pre-season game.

The only noise coming from the home supporters were early moans and groans, apparently boss Mark Robins is under pressure already at Glanford Park.

If keeper Doyle was nervous about the strength of his shoulder on his return from injury, he had an early chance to test it.

After just five minutes the much fancied Kevin Van Veen found space at the edge of the box and fired goal wards from 18 yards, Doyle dealt with it with ease.

I’m not sure what he’d have thought of the ‘England’s number one’ chants from the travelling fans behind him, he’s Irish! At least they meant well, I suppose.

Apart from that there was very little to report from the opening 15 minutes, with McDonald’s men giving as good as they got in the middle of the park. As with the last away game the five-man midfield was competing well in the opening stages.

While it hasn’t quite happened for Brad Potts in a Blackpool shirt as yet, he’s shown glimpses of quality and certainly isn’t scared of trying his luck from range.

And it was he who had Pool’s first effort on goal on Saturday, pulling the trigger from 25 yards although it was always going wide.

It was a half of few chances, although with ten minutes of the half remaining the game burst into life.

First Van Veen went close with a wonderful acrobatic effort from ten yards, before Blackpool went up the other end and took the lead.

It wasn’t the prettiest of efforts, but they all count as Potts bundled home a Henry Cameron corner at the far post.

I’m not sure which part of Potts’ body it came off, and there was confusion whether or not it even crossed the line, but no-one in tangerine was complaining.

It will go down as the midfield man’s first goal for the club.

The growing voices of discontent from the Scunthorpe fans were music to Pool’s ears and an indication the Seasiders were probably good value for their lead.

On the stroke of half-time Doyle had to make a superb save to deny Paddy Madden who rose brilliantly at the far post to head towards goal.

It was a huge save at a vital time for Blackpool and just a minute later he was at it again.

This time denying former Preston man Scott Laird at full stretch just as referee Tony Harrington blew for half-time.

In an attempt to liven things up the home side introduced Hakeeb Adelakun at the break, a much more attacking threat than the departing Scott Wiseman.

And the change certainly gave a look of intent to Scunthorpe who had Blackpool all but pinned in their own box for the opening stages of the second half.

It wouldn’t have bothered Blackpool, who for a change had something to hang on to, and you have to say were doing it quite well.

Only a long-range effort from Madden looked like threatening their goal.

On the hour mark McDonald chose to match their hosts with a change of formation, bringing on Clark Robertson and debutant Norris while switching to a 5-3-2 line up.

At this point it was a pretty one-sided affair, something the statistics backed-up, with Pool having just one shot on target to the home side’s seven.

That tally was doubled on 68 minutes and it probably should have put the game to bed when Cullen raced in on goal only to force a save out of Luke Daniels.

Potts capitalised on a mistake in midfield to slide the striker in, he probably should have scored.

From then on in it was backs-to-the-wall stuff for the Seasiders who were dropping deeper and deeper and more than happy to sit with ten men behind the ball.

While Blackpool were defending well, it was a superb display from Doyle which kept the score at 1-0, again coming to the rescue with eleven minutes remaining.

This time a deep cross from substitute Gary McSheffrey found Madden who headed goal wards from all of five yards, only for Doyle to stand strong and beat it away.

As the onslaught continued Scunthorpe introduced the height of Darius Henderson who caused trouble in the air, but Blackpool managed to stand strong until the death.

It prompted mass celebrations at the end, led by young skipper Ferguson who celebrated his first win with the armband.

505 days after the win away at Wigan in 2014 there was relief all around, a result which takes Pool off the foot of the table. Make no mistake there’s a long, long way to go.

But it’s a start.