Match verdict: Where on earth did that come from?

Blackpool's players were superb in a five-star display
Blackpool's players were superb in a five-star display
0
Have your say

Those reading this match report standing up may want to sit down for a moment, for what follows may come as a bit of a shock.

Putting it simply, Blackpool were brilliant on Saturday.

Blackpool's Tom Aldred heads in his team's first goal

Blackpool's Tom Aldred heads in his team's first goal

After weeks of dull, uninspiring football, with hardly a shot on goal to shout about, Neil McDonald’s men totally blew away a shellshocked Scunthorpe side.

It was a result and performance which caught everyone out and one which we are happy to celebrate.

While I have been hugely critical of McDonald’s men so far this season, on Saturday they hardly put a foot wrong.

Blackpool’s midfield pairing of David Norris and Brad Potts were outstanding, even more so when you consider the personal heartbreak Potts has been playing through in recent times (see back page).

His out-of-sorts performances were mentioned in this very column last weekend. He just hadn’t been himself – and now we understand why.

The main reason we all noticed something wasn’t right was that Potts has the potential to be a matchwinner, particularly when he’s in the sort of mood he was at Bloomfield Road on Saturday.

Playing on the front foot, Potts dominated the game and really set the tone for the whole Blackpool squad.

And against Scunthorpe everything just seemed to click into place.

It wasn’t a lucky win either. Watching the goals again, a couple of them were crackers and the product of winning the ball back and going for the kill. It was great to watch.

Another who makes such a difference on his day is Jack Redshaw.

With Andy Little’s spell at Blackpool all but over due to injury, McDonald made just one change to the side which lost at home to Port Vale seven days earlier.

Redshaw came into the attack to partner Danny Philliskirk, while Will Aimson made his first start as a permanent Pool player after completing his move from Hull.

Former Morecambe frontman Redshaw is a real weapon when he’s on his game – he makes things happen.

The chances of any of the above happening usually rest on Blackpool’s ability to get the first goal – when they do they usually win.

The start to games, particularly the opening 10 minutes, has been so important for the Seasiders this season.

Whereas it took 70 minutes for Pool’s first shot on target against Vale, most people were just getting comfortable in their seats on Saturday when the Seasiders took the lead.

Typically it was Tom Aldred who stood up to be counted, powering an excellent header past keeper Luke Daniels after an excellent Jim McAlister delivery.

It was the kind of start McDonald would have dreamed of.

And the Pool boss will have been pleased with his team in general early in the game.

There was certainly a spring in the step after they went ahead.

As for Scunthorpe, well, they are having a pretty poor season of their own in the middle of the League One table.

Much was expected of Mark Robins’ side before the season kicked off but they have failed to get going.

In the opening stages on Saturday, they had just a long-range effort from Luke Willams to talk about.

After weeks of looking blunt in attack, Blackpool were offering more of a threat, again going close on nine minutes.

Again it was from a dead- ball. This time Potts swooped to head a Mark Yeates corner just wide.

It was a promising start and there was more to come.

The regular criticism thrown at McDonald’s men, even when they’ve won, is that they haven’t been able to cut teams open in attack.

On 13 minutes they finally did exactly that.

A wonderful move from the Seasiders saw Potts burst forward from midfield, then exchange passes with Norris and Redshaw before finishing in style.

Goals are something Potts had spoken about wanting more of, and this was a strike which will do the youngster the world of good. He certainly has the talent.

What was good to see was Blackpool’s mindset from the off on Saturday – there was a real attacking feel to their play.

And unlike in other games this season, when they have sat on a lead, against Scunthorpe they did just the opposite.

Not only were they good value for their two-goal advantage but it should have been more.

On 22 minutes, Aimson almost crowned his new deal with a goal, volleying wide from 10 yards after a corner was only half-cleared.

“What a load of rubbish” was the chant from the Scunthorpe fans. In truth, they were shellshocked.

Fair enough, they were rubbish; but as bad as they were, Blackpool were superb.

And the rampant Seasiders were at it again 16 minutes before the break, with Norris again at the heart of operations.

After Philliskirk did well to intercept on halfway, Norris picked up a loose ball and played Potts clean through on goal. The midfielder calmly slotted past Daniels.

Credit to Potts, who had plenty of time to mess it up –it was a wonderful finish and one which Pool’s display deserved.

Impressed as everyone was by Pool’s display, there was almost a stunned silence inside Bloomfield Road as half-time approached.

The last time Blackpool had gone 3-0 up was against Ipswich in August 2012, a day when Tom Ince ran riot and his team won 6-0.

It was even longer since they led 3-0 at the break – away at Leeds in 2011, when Ian Holloway was in charge.

After comfortably seeing out the rest of the half, it was always going to be important that Blackpool started the second period in similar fashion.

An early goal for the away side would give Scunthorpe a bit of hope.

In truth, they never really looked like grabbing one – just about all they could muster was a 25-yard effort from former Pool man Neal Bishop.

It had been an incredibly easy afternoon for Colin Doyle in goal for the Seasiders.

But a minute later Pool’s number one was tested, when Paddy Madden’s long-range effort changed direction in the air. However, the Irish keeper reacted brilliantly to turn it wide.

Despite this flurry from the Iron, it was the rampant Seasiders who again burst forward before a comical scramble saw Pool fire a fourth.

Ferguson’s cross wasn’t dealt with and McAlister, Redshaw and Philliskirk all had efforts blocked on the line before the ball eventually fell to Norris, who slammed it home from three yards.

It was a moment Norris’ display deserved – he was superb for Blackpool all afternoon.

Not content with letting the outfield players take all the glory, keeper Doyle got himself in the act again with an outstanding save from Madden with eight minutes remaining, a block which started yet another Pool attack.

With Scunthorpe men committed forward, Redshaw and Potts were again involved, bursting forward from midfield before playing Philliskirk in on goal. He fired across Daniels and into the corner of the net.

It was the striker’s first goal for the Seasiders and one he very much deserved.

The former Oldham hitman had done well all afternoon, though Scunthorpe’s defending was shocking.

Just how bad the away side were obviously played a big part in the scoreline, but for me this was the day when Pool’s ‘big’ players all turned up.

All season people have highlighted Aldred, Redshaw and Potts as the star men – on Saturday they showed it.

It was good to see it all fall into place and on this occasion Pool deserve all the credit which comes their way.

It may be papering over the cracks – only time will tell – but for now let’s just enjoy it.

Can we play Scunthorpe every week?