Scunthorpe United 0 Blackpool 0: Five things we learned

Kyle Vassell was tireless for Blackpool yesterday
Kyle Vassell was tireless for Blackpool yesterday
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So Blackpool made it five league games unbeaten with yesterday’s battling point at Scunthorpe United.

The goalless draw at Glanford Park was one where neither keeper was overly stretched but it would have been the visitors who were the happier of the the two teams.

Injury and illness had affected Gary Bowyer’s team selection so what did we learn?

Small squad, big heart

As Bowyer admitted afterwards, he doesn’t have the biggest of squads with which to navigate Blackpool’s return to League One.

Bright Osayi-Samuel’s late departure left a hole to be filled provided the out of contract market contains a player who’s fast, direct and can get crosses in.

Sean Longstaff’s injury and Nathan Delfouneso’s illness robbed Bowyer of two further players and it would be wrong to say their absences were not felt.

Rather than feel sorry for themselves, however, those who were available rolled up their sleeves, got on with the job in hand and earned a worthy point.

Defences dominate

Saturday’s stalemate was the fourth consecutive league clean sheet for Scunthorpe and a third in five games for the Seasiders.

The improvement in Blackpool’s defending from the opening day defeat at Bradford City five weeks ago is there for all to see.

Yes, the home side might argue they had more of the attempts at goal but how many serious saves did Ryan Allsop have to make? One.

That is credit to the work put in on the training ground by Bowyer, his staff and the players.

Putting in the yards

Blackpool’s 4-5-1 shape on Saturday asked a lot of Kyle Vassell and it was a question he responded to in a positive fashion.

The lone striker’s role requires someone willing to close down opposition defenders, chase lost causes, hold up the ball when needed, bring team-mates into the game - and, if possible, still try and chip in with a goal.

Vassell managed the first four of those tasks on Saturday, only to fluff his lines in front of goal during the opening 45 minutes.

Nevertheless, it was exactly the kind of hard-working, committed performance that was required in the circumstances.

Wing king Solomon-Otabor

With Osayi-Samuel’s departure and the absences of Longstaff and Delfouneso, it meant Viv Solomon-Otabor was Blackpool’s main attacking threat.

It was a responsibility upon which he thrived, most notably in the first half when he repeatedly had the beating of Conor Townsend.

One such driving run ended with a shot beaten out by Scunthorpe keeper Matt Gilks as he looked to fashion a goal.

Solomon-Otabor’s influence waned after the break as he saw less of the ball but the role of being Blackpool’s main man seemed to inspire - rather than suffocate - the youngster.

Skipper steps up

Given the absences in the Seasiders’ starting line-up, Jimmy Ryan led from the front in the centre of midfield.

He might have picked up a first-half booking for a challenge on Tom Hopper but that was the only blight on his performance.

Always happy to take possession, irrespective of the circumstance, his attitude rubbed off on his team-mates.

That ability to keep the ball and knit the game together allows the likes of Longstaff the freedom to get forward to telling effect - as has been seen this season.