Southport 1-3 Blackpool – July 15, 2017
Blackpool eased to a routine win against Southport in their first pre-season friendly open to the public.
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Goals from Kyle Vassell, Armand Gnanduillet and Bright Osayi-Samuel were enough to see off the National League North side, who netted a consolation goal 10 minutes from time.
Gary Bowyer’s side were in control for the vast majority of the game and the result never really looked in doubt.
Pool’s starting line-up contained six of their seven summer signings, with Curtis Tilt settling for a spot on the bench.
A completely different 11 took to the turf in the second period, with every player getting 45 minutes under their belt apart from youngster Rowan Roache, who came on towards the end.
Two triallists, a goalkeeper and a central midfielder, featured in the second half although the club is keeping their identities under wraps.
The Seasiders started the game brightly and were finding pockets of space in behind Southport’s midfield with considerable ease.
Max Clayton was straight into the action in the opening minutes, stinging the palms of former Pool keeper Mark Halstead with a close-range effort before going close with a back-post header.
Ethan Jones had Southport’s first effort of the afternoon, drilling narrowly wide after outfoxing Will Aimson with an impressive piece of skill.
Halstead was kept busy in the opening stages and was forced into another smart stop to deny Jimmy Ryan’s curling effort.
Kyle Vassell should have opened the scoring halfway through the first period when he was fed in by a clever through-ball by Ryan, but after tricking the keeper with a dummy his effort was blocked on the line by a recovering defender.
Vassell made up for his miss by breaking the deadlock on the stroke of half time, firing home with a clinical finish after being played in by Brad Potts.
The Seasiders doubled their lead five minutes into the second half following an impressive run and pull-back from Osayi-Samuel, who laid the ball on a plate for Gnanduillet to tap home.
The Tangerines dominated possession in the second half but had to wait until the 75th minute to add their third, with Osayi-Samuel sending Southport’s substitute keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot after Jamille Matt had been brought down.
Southport managed to find a goal in the final stages through Kaiman Anderson, who slotted past the triallist keeper, who had made a smart stop.
New additions Clayton and Ryan were the pick of the bunch in the first half but Osayi-Samuel stole the show in the second period with a goal and an assist.
Pool will split their squad to play two friendlies next Saturday, with Salford City and Radcliffe Borough the hosts.
Kyle, who took over press responsibilities from manager Gary Bowyer, was pleased with how Pool performed in their first friendly open to the public.
"It was a good workout and a good game for us, " Kyle said. "The lads all got 45 minutes but we’ll up it as the weeks go on.
"It was important all the lads got minutes under their belts. It’s a squad game and we need to make sure everyone’s fitness levels are at the required standard because we’re going to need everyone this season. In League One you’ve got to have a big squad and make sure everyone is fit."
Pool fielded a different side in either half to ensure every member of the squad got 45 minutes.
Bowyer’s men were rarely tested by their National League North opponents, though Kyle insists the most important thing is to get the players ready for the season.
He added: "We worked hard all week on different things but most importantly it was about the lads getting their fitness back and reaching the standard we expect.
"It’s just another building block for the opening game of the season against Bradford.
"There were some pleasing aspects in our play that we’ve worked on in training but there are still things to improve on.
"We’ve had a good week in training and a good week before that in Scotland. It takes time to implement the ideas with the new signings and the patterns of play we want.
"Our fitness levels will get better and our performance levels will get better too."
Two triallists - a goalkeeper and a central midfielder - featured at Haig Avenue, although the club is keeping their identities under wraps. Both only had 45 minutes to impress but Kyle was satisfied with what they had to offer.
"They did fine, " he said. "It’s hard for triallists to come in when there are established players here and they’ve got to impress.
"But we were pleased with their performances and we will analyse it a bit more."
First-half team: Williams, Turton, Aimson, Hartley, Anderton, Delfouneso, Ryan, Potts, Daniel, Clayton, Vassell
Second-half team: Trialist, Mellor, Robertson, Tilt, Taylor, Philliskirk, Trialist, Des Pres, Osayi-Samuel, Matt, Gnanduillet