OPINION: Blackpool’s win at Doncaster Rovers was a timely one
A win makes everything better, doesn’t it? It wasn’t as if back-to-back defeats were going to derail Blackpool’s season because we were only eight games in and Simon Grayson’s men were still in the top half of the table.
But saying that, Tuesday night’s triumph against Doncaster Rovers felt like an important one.
It restored some confidence after the recent wobbles and it showed Blackpool can – and will – compete against the best the league has to offer.
Doncaster had started the season well, enjoying six games without a defeat after last season’s achievement of making the play-offs.
Darren Moore’s side will likely be in and around the top spots come the end of the season, much like the Seasiders.
But Blackpool dealt with them well and limited them to very few, if any, clear-cut chances – a huge turnaround having gone into the game on the back of conceding three goals two games running.
I will be the first to admit I questioned Grayson’s team selection after the Pool boss opted to drop his top scorers, Armand Gnanduillet and Sullay Kaikai, down to the bench.
It was a risky move, but it worked a treat – Pool soaking up the pressure before unleashing the attacking duo in the second half to cause a headache for Doncaster’s tired backline.
And fair play to Gnanduillet, who put his disappointment at being dropped to one side to head home the winner in the third minute of stoppage time.
It sparked great scenes among the celebrating fans behind the goal, with every player joining in – other than goalkeeper Jak Alnwick of course, although he did say afterwards he was tempted to race from one end of the pitch to the other…
Another one who showed impressive character was defender Curtis Tilt, who put his recent struggles behind him to produce a man-of-the-match display at the Keepmoat.
Then again, why should we be surprised? This is a man who has been Blackpool’s best player for the last three seasons.
There’s a good reason why he’s so in-demand every time the transfer window opens.
It would be a huge shame for the Seasiders to lose such a mercurial talent for free come the end of the season, which can’t be discounted the way things are currently going.
The 28-year-old is out of contract at the end of the campaign and current negotiations are taking far too long.
Hopefully a fresh deal can get wrapped up in the coming weeks because Tilt is the sort of player you want in your squad – on the pitch and off it – if you’re going to be successful in this league.
After back-to-back defeats, Blackpool now head to Accrington this weekend looking to secure a second win on the bounce.
Oh how quickly football can change...
Last season’s game at the Crown Ground was a memorable one for all the right reasons, Blackpool supporters packing out two sides of the ground as the Seasiders claimed a crucial 2-1 win.
The celebrations that greeted Jay Spearing’s late winner were ones that I’m sure will live long in the memory of Pool fans, given it coincided with the removal of the club’s former owner.
There was a real party atmosphere inside the ground and I recall several of the players commenting on how much of a difference it made to their performance. Let’s hope for a repeat of that this Saturday.
What team Grayson opts to go with this time round will be fascinating and to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if he tinkered once again.
The Pool boss has spoken recently about the need to rest players every now and then as it’s a long season.
I’ve long given up predicting line-ups and systems, but you would have thought Gnanduillet would come back into the fold. Whether Kaikai joins him is up for debate.
Whatever team Larry chooses, get behind the team and cheer them on to another victory to close the gap on the top teams. Up the Pool!