Matty Virtue: Blackpool must turn domination into goals

Matty Virtue hit the crossbar against Rotherham
Matty Virtue hit the crossbar against Rotherham
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Matty Virtue says Blackpool must start finding the back of the net on a more regular basis when they’re enjoying periods of domination.

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It’s been a particular problem this season for the Seasiders, who have failed to score from open play in over four hours of football.

Armand Gnanduillet’s penalty against Rotherham United, which proved to be nothing more than a late consolation, was the only goal they could manage in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat.

That’s despite Simon Grayson’s men performing much better all-round than in the below-par display at Bolton Wanderers.

But the Seasiders were left empty-handed after being punished for their wastefulness in front of goal, something Virtue accepts has been a problem for much of the campaign.

The 22-year-old said: “I thought we dominated in the first half and limited them to very little.

“Jak (keeper Alnwick) didn’t really have a save to make but we had some good chances that we probably should have put away. I had one myself, when I hit the bar.

“We were disappointed with ourselves at Bolton because we didn’t play very well but I thought we reacted well, especially in the first half when we were very good.

“We have to get a goal when we’re on top and that’s something we’ve struggled with all season.

“We’ve had good 15- minute spells and failed to score, yet against Rotherham we were on top for most of the first half and still failed to score.

“That’s definitely our problem and it’s something we need to work on.”

Virtue came closest to scoring for Pool prior to Gnanduillet’s 98th-minute spot-kick, striking the bar in the first half while the game remained goalless.

He then had a late shot blocked prior to Rotherham doubling their lead through former Seasider Clark Robertson.

Virtue added: “I’ve hit the bar when it was coming down to me on the volley but I should probably do better. I had another chance and I don’t know where their lad came from to get a block in.

“Armand teed me up and I thought I would just put it in the back of the net but it wasn’t to be.

“On another day they probably go in and we get a different result.”

Blackpool found themselves a goal down just six minutes into the second half, striker Matt Smith poking home from close range.

It was one of two goals conceded from set-pieces, which was especially frustrating for Virtue and his team-mates.

“It was massively disappointing to concede so soon into the second half, after how positive we had been in the first half,” he said.

“We wanted to come out and produce more of the same, put more pressure on them and play in their half.

“But it’s poor defending from us from the set-piece and it’s given them an easy goal.

“As the away team that’s perfect for them because it’s played right into their hands.”