Match verdict: Winning ugly a satisfying feeling for Blackpool against AFC Wimbledon

It wasn’t a classic, but it was never going to be thus against an AFC Wimbledon side who battle and make things ugly during the best of times, never mind when they’re fighting for their lives at the bottom end of the table.

MATCH REPORT: Blackpool 2-0 AFC Wimbledon

The Dons set up exactly how we expected them to. They were rigid, they set their stall out to defend and, at the other end, pumped high balls into the box as often as possible.

There was a complete dearth of quality in their team but, without sounding patronising, they do give everything they’ve got.

It must be remembered that, while the Dons have now lost six of their last seven league games, they are normally edged out by just the one goal. They're by no means an easy team to beat.

While a two-goal cushion might have flattered Blackpool somewhat, it does demonstrate the progress this side are making. These stodgy, determined sides aren’t easy to break down but the Seasiders were clinical, an adjective I’ve not used many times this season, and did what was required to get over the line.

Blackpool's players celebrate Curtis Tilt's early opener

Blackpool's players celebrate Curtis Tilt's early opener

For Blackpool to come through this test with not only a fourth victory of the season but also a seventh clean sheet, while playing not so great themselves, makes for a pleasing day at the office.

It was also a good day at the office for a certain Marc Bola, who capped off a superb display with his first goal as a professional and his first goal in tangerine.

It wasn’t so much that Blackpool were poor, it was just the type of game where any side would have struggled for fluency. Wimbledon simply don’t allow you to pass it around at will.

But the Seasiders did exactly what they had to. They cleared high balls away again and again and they limited the Dons to very few, if any, clear-cut opportunities.

Jordan Thompson in action against the Dons

Jordan Thompson in action against the Dons

Donervon Daniels and Curtis Tilt dealt with everything thrown their way in the centre of defence. They were commanding in the air up against the brute force of James Hanson, who wasn’t given a sniff.

At the other end, Blackpool got the early goal to settle their nerves and eventually added a bit of gloss to the scoreline towards the end, giving the impression the result was perhaps more comfortable than it actually was.

But Terry McPhillips certainly won’t complain. Too often this season his Blackpool side have been forced to settle for a point when their efforts warranted more. I’m thinking Walsall and Peterborough United away and Accrington Stanley and Rochdale at home.

This time, Blackpool did what was required to grind out the three points. After enduring seven draws in 11 games, that was badly needed.

Terry McPhillips and assistant Gary Brabin on the touchline

Terry McPhillips and assistant Gary Brabin on the touchline

Sometimes winning an ugly game when you’re not at your best is much more satisfying. That’s certainly how it felt at full time on Saturday evening.

PLAYER RATINGS: Marks out of 10 after Blackpool's win against AFC Wimbledon

Pool’s well-documented scoring problems haven’t gone away, after all they’ve only scored 14 goals in their 12 league games.

It says it all that centre back Curtis Tilt, who scored the first just eight minutes in, is now the club’s joint top scorer with Jay Spearing and Mark Cullen after netting his third of the season and his second in as many games.

It initially looked like it was Spearing’s goal, with the midfielder’s corner curling over the hapless Wimbledon goalkeeper and into the back of the net, but replays show Tilt got a decisive touch on the line.

A quick word on Tilt, who deserves our admiration for the way he has dealt with his summer disappointment when he failed to get the move he wanted to the Championship.

Marc Bola celebrates after netting his first goal for the club

Marc Bola celebrates after netting his first goal for the club

It would have been quite easy for him to sulk and refuse to give his all, but he’s responded in the best manner possible by delivering consistently superb displays.

Who knows? Continue his fine form and he might even get more attractive suitors than Ipswich Town when the transfer windows reopens in January.

That month could go some way to deciding Blackpool’s fate this season.

READ MORE: Terry McPhillips delighted with Blackpool's clinical touch in AFC Wimbledon win

I think most accept the Seasiders don’t currently have the firepower to sustain a top six challenge, it’s all about staying in touch until January. Currently, they’re heading on the right track.

I know Blackpool are looking up, not down, but Saturday’s win takes Blackpool to eight points ahead of Wimbledon, who now slip into that final relegation spot. And that’s with two games in hand - quite the buffer.

They’re only a point behind next weekend’s opponents Fleetwood, who have again played two more fixtures. Doncaster in sixth, who have played 14 compared to Blackpool’s 12, are six points away from them.

Just one defeat has been suffered along the way, and that was to league leaders Portsmouth who are six points clear at the summit

Beat a Scunthorpe side who haven’t won in four on Tuesday night and that sets the Seasiders up perfectly for next week’s exciting double header, with the short trip to Highbury followed by that cup clash at the Emirates.

But before then, we’ve got another court date to look forward to as Valeri Belokon looks to make progress in taking Owen Oyston’s assets and shares to auction.

As ridiculous and as unprecedented as things are off the pitch, you simply wouldn’t know it was happening with the calmness in which McPhillips and his men continue to perform on it.

Substitute Ben Heneghan applauds the supporters at full time

Substitute Ben Heneghan applauds the supporters at full time