Seaside Six: A week to forget

Gary Taylor-Fletcher
Gary Taylor-Fletcher
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Defeat at home to Charlton on Saturday following the hard fought victory at Hull has left Pool fans frustrated.


A few weeks ago, Ian Holloway made the point that the most consistent teams would end up at the top of the table. How maddening then, to play well and win at Hull, then abjectly surrender all three points at home.

At Hull, we started brightly, played attractive passing football and got our reward through a well taken goal from Matt Phillips.

We were good value for the lead but then let in a goal from nowhere. Yet again, we came out sluggishly and were punished with a second goal, but had resilience and ability in abundance to fight back and prevail with a fantastic overhead kick from Dicko.

I went to the Charlton game knowing we’d be full of confidence. In the first half that was borne out as we dominated possession but had nothing to show for it. Yet again, we started the second half sluggishly and conceded from another set piece. We seemed to lose balance as we threw forwards on to get it back.

There’s a fortnight’s break to put it right, but for me, we need to stick with the patient passing game, not panic and go long. When we keep the ball, we are a match for anyone but the team don’t seem to have the belief.

Man of the Match : Gary Taylor-Fletcher (both games)


I don’t know the statistics but how many goals have we conceded from set pieces this season. Every time Charlton had a corner on Saturday, most of people around me couldn’t stand to watch. It’s worrying. As a unit, everyone needs to get back to the basics and if that means hours on a waterlogged training ground on their day off, so be it. You could ride a bus through our back 5 at the moment so changes need to be made. Halstead needs an opportunity. If the kid is that good, give him a chance because we can’t play Gilks back into form.

What was noticeable from the stands was we lacked any pace in the first 60 minutes. While Charlton are no snails, I would have expected that given our strength in that department, we played a formation that allowed our playing roster to exploit this. This is where I scratch my head. Changes needed to be made to the team that beat Hull. Charlton traditionally play on the break so speed is essential to counter that. So we field the same team. Sigh. Where were Grandin and Angel?

For the rest of the game, our predictability in passing was measured by the chances we had. Rarely did we trouble or get into a scoring position and the game drifted further away. We’ve become so ridged in our playing style that teams are tactically closing us down and we simply don’t have a Plan B. And it’s worrying that many teams have done that after 10 games.

No panic stations just yet. The team need to field criticism including Ollie – you set the expectations, we believe in it.

Man of Match; Gary Taylor Fletcher


If you have ever seen the film ‘Groundhog Day’ then you will understand its relevance to Blackpool. Week in week out I come away with a feeling of frustration and talking about the same thing – set-pieces

Set-pieces are a fundamental part of football. We are conceding time after time from simple free-kick or corner routines. I will never like zonal marking, as it does not make players take responsibility for marking a man and winning the ball.

Charlton did not have to rip us apart with out-of-this-world football, but simply capitalised on slack defending from a routine corner and were gifted a free header. These recurrent errors are costing us vital points and putting us under pressure to chase games. Instead of being able to play our style of football, we are forced into panic mode.

Football is a confidence game and for us this appears to be fragile at the moment. Heads are starting to go down and we are struggling to respond if we do go behind.

No doubt Ollie has worked wonders but if we are serious about going up we need to address these defensive frailties.

Man of the Match : Gary Taylor-Fletcher 
(both games)


The fortress known as Bloomfield was quickly turned to ‘Gloomfield’. The atmosphere was tense, not the positive and encouraging crowd apparent in other home games.

We had the majority of the possession, and in the first half we passed well and seemed threatening.

Their first goal from a corner was made to look so easy as a dummy run caught two defenders out of position. Header ... goal. Our heads went down from then on and we had liitle penetration, lacking any inspiration or creativity.

Matty Phillips was pushed off the ball, then spent five minutes sulking instead of chasing back.

Gilks and Evatt looked like they had the stuffing knocked out of them – perhaps all the negative comments flying around affected them.

I want to praise the passion, commitment and determination of one of our players who isn’t always recognised – Gary Taylor-Fletcher. He always gives 100 per cent. Throughout the game he weaved past Charlton players, and when he occasionally loses the ball he tries to get it back.

He epitomises the Blackpool spirit and I can fully understand why Ollie has said he is one of the first names on the team sheet. It was a disappointing game but I was more disappointed by a minority of our ‘fans’ who saw fit to boo and those who left after their second goal. What message does this give to our players?

Those of us who have supported Blackpool for a long time realise its a rollercoaster ride and sometimes we need to fasten our seatbelts, grit our teeth and enjoy the twists and turns.


Man of the Match : Gary Taylor-Fletcher 
(both games)


I’m sure every Blackpool fan was expecting an easy three points and maybe the players too. They never seemed to get going and the tempo was always slow.

There were glimpses in the first half of how well we can pass the ball, with Tiago Gomes having a few nice touches.

However, his cage seemed to be rattled a bit by Charlton’s style and this was shown with a rash challenge that got him a yellow card.

We play so much better with the ball on the floor and I don’t understand why Ian Evatt launches long diagonal balls which our wingers have little hope of making anything of. And when he tries to clear crosses (from the right) with his right foot instead of his left, he can slice the ball anywhere. I was glad to see Cathcart back on the bench and hope he starts at Burnley.

As soon as we went behind our heads seemed to drop and no one wanted to take the game by the scruff of the neck. I hope the international break will give the players time to get back to their passing ways and build their confidence. Keep calm, the Pool are going up.

Man of the Match : Gary Taylor-Fletcher 
(both games)


After a winning performance against Hull, fans went into Saturday with high hopes but a well below-par second half left us heading into the break on a downbeat note.

We did very well to turn things around at Hull, and apart from the first 20 minutes of the second half were good value for the victory.

Bringing on Kevin Phillips had a positive impact on the flow of the game – at 2-1 down we had been following a long ball route, which very rarely brings us any joy.

All of our goals were very well-worked. Dicko’s in particular an excellent piece of skill. These were three very valuable points after consecutive defeats and we thought we had turned the corner.

Then Saturday happened! After a decent first half I thought we would up our game and win. Within a few minutes of the restart, a set-piece proved our undoing once more.

Against a team who had 10 men behind the ball whenever we were attacking, mounting a comeback looked a real challenge.

With our creative forces well-marshalled, it proved beyond us.

Man of the Match: Gary Taylor-Fletcher 
(both games)