Match verdict: Groundhog day for Blackpool as they surrender leads to draw yet again

Ben Heneghan competes for an aerial ball
Ben Heneghan competes for an aerial ball
Share this article

Only Blackpool could lose just one of their opening 11 games of the season and still find themselves in the bottom half of the table.

MATCH REPORT: Blackpool 2-2 Rochdale

Jordan Thompson heads home from close range to give Blackpool an early lead

Jordan Thompson heads home from close range to give Blackpool an early lead

It’s quite a remarkable statistic given the Seasiders haven’t lost a game of football in any competition since the second week of the season, back on August 11.

Almost two months have since passed and Blackpool have played some really good stuff and have clearly developed into a side that are incredibly difficult to beat. You don’t enjoy a 13-game unbeaten run if you don’t have anything about you.

But Blackpool have now drawn seven of their 11 league games this season, a record Terry McPhillips accepts is “not good enough”. He even went as far to say he’s “bored” of the club’s unbeaten streak.

Of course you never want to lose football matches but, mathematically speaking, you’re better off winning one and losing one rather than drawing two games on the bounce.

Jordan Thompson celebrates scoring his first goal for Blackpool

Jordan Thompson celebrates scoring his first goal for Blackpool

In fact, Blackpool have now drawn three consecutive games in the league and it’s seen them fall down to 13th in the League One table.

Okay, it’s hardly a crisis and the Seasiders have still enjoyed an impressive start to the new season, but, despite the club being an unmitigated disaster off the pitch, on it they have ambitions to compete for the top six. Put simply, winning just three games from 11 isn’t good enough to achieve that.

PLAYER RATINGS: Our marks out of 10 after Blackpool's 2-2 draw with Rochdale

Their main problem, which has been highlighted countless times already this season, is their lack of quality in attack.

Rochdale players mob goalscorer Ryan Delaney

Rochdale players mob goalscorer Ryan Delaney

It was quite ironic then that in a first half where Blackpool were very much second best against Rochdale they found themselves 2-1 ahead at half time, scoring twice from just two attempts on goal.

Unfortunately that clinical touch eluded them in the second half where they enjoyed 20 minutes or so of sustained pressure in the Rochdale half, but they were unable to find that third goal to kill them off.

Once that period came and went without a goal, you just knew Rochdale would come back into it and that’s exactly what happened towards the end.

Yet saying that, Blackpool looked pretty comfortable and Rochdale weren’t doing anything special that gave you the impression they were just about to find that equaliser at any given moment.

Curtis Tilt celebrates after putting Blackpool back in front

Curtis Tilt celebrates after putting Blackpool back in front

But Blackpool failed to deal with one cross in the 87th minute and Ben Heneghan, who lost his man for Rochdale’s first goal, allowed Calvin Andrews to get across him and the striker subsequently made no mistake with his well-directed header into the far corner.

It was the third headed goal of the afternoon, after Jordan Thompson and Curtis Tilt had both produced similar finishes to net in a bizarre opening 45 minutes.

READ MORE: 'We paid for our mistakes': Terry McPhillips on Blackpool's draw against Rochdale

Blackpool took the lead just five minutes in, Thompson arriving late in the box to head home his first goal for the club after getting on the end of Marc Bola’s pinpoint delivery.

However, the lead didn’t last long as Rochdale responded well to going a goal down, levelling things inside three minutes as Ryan Delaney equalised with a superb first-time volley.

Two minutes later Delaney was inches away from giving Rochdale the lead in what was a frantic opening to the game, the opportunity again coming via a header which flew just wide of the Blackpool goal.

Armand Gnanduillet sported a new red-style hairstyle

Armand Gnanduillet sported a new red-style hairstyle

But on the half hour mark, it was the Seasiders who got their noses back in front as Tilt rose highest to slam home a header from Jay Spearing’s corner.

It’s fair to say that goal came against the run of play, as Rochdale had dominated territorially with some lovely one and two-touch football and some fine interplay in and around the box.

But the tables were completely turned at the start of the second half, as Pool got to grips with Dale’s diamond formation and began to dominate.

Chances came and went for Heneghan, Nathan Delfouneso and Armand Gnanduillet, and in the end Blackpool were made to pay as Andrew came off the bench to level it up at the death.

Even then, Blackpool still had time to create two or three openings in the five minutes of injury time as they went in search of a last-ditch winner.

Ryan McLaughlin poked one across goal which looked like it was going to fall for Gnanduillet, but the striker couldn’t beat Rochdale keeper Josh Lillis to the ball. Unfortunately that decisive late goal never came.

READ MORE: Rochdale boss Keith Hill pleased with entertainment value in draw against Blackpool

So what next for Blackpool? In the short term, they turn their attention to Tuesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy fixture with West Brom U21s.

I expect to see a much-changed Blackpool side named for that one, with a certain Steve Davies already confirmed to be a starter.

I have my doubts whether the trialist will be the answer to Blackpool’s goalscoring problems, but I’m more than happy to be proven wrong. They’re clearly in need of something.

Due to next weekend’s trip to Sunderland being rearranged, Pool must now wait until October 20 to play their next league game, which is a home match against struggling AFC Wimbledon.

Again, on the face of it, that’s another winnable fixture where Blackpool will be looking to improve their wins column.

But Accrington Stanley at home was a winnable fixture which they drew. Trips to Shrewsbury Town and Walsall also failed to produce three points. Rochdale this weekend was another winnable fixture which they again failed to win. Sooner or later, those draws have got to be converted into victories.