Wigan 0-2 Blackpool: Five things we learned

Blackpool celebrate their second of the night
Blackpool celebrate their second of the night

Blackpool FC writer Matt Scrafton takes a look at the key talking points from the Seasiders' superb shock win at the DW Stadium.


Nathan Delfouneso celebrates at the final whistle

Nathan Delfouneso celebrates at the final whistle

Who saw that coming?

Well, what a win that was. Blackpool, with just two wins to their name from their last 18 games and looking over their shoulders towards the relegation zone, sprung a huge shock against the league leaders. Going into last night's game, Wigan had only conceded four goals at home all season and they hadn't conceded a goal at the DW Stadium in three months. While their 16-match unbeaten run came to an end at Southend on Saturday, surely no one could have envisaged the Seasiders inflicting back-to-defeats on Paul Cook's men. But they did, and boy did they deserve it. This wasn't a fluke, there was nothing fortunate about the manner of Pool's victory - it was more than merited. Gary Bowyer's men stuck to a game plan and carried it out to perfection, netting two first-half goals which gave them something to hold onto. But bar a ten minute spell at the start of the second half, the Latics rarely threatened and I struggle to remember a genuine save Joe Lumley had to make. Yes Wigan were under par but a lot of that was down to how Blackpool performed. Paul Cook admitted himself the Seasiders were well worthy of their three points.

Surprise new system worked to perfection

Gary Bowyer sprung something of a surprise with his team selection, opting to leave Kyle Vassell out of the squad altogether. Armand Gnanduillet came into the side in his place and repaid his manager's faith with his second goal in as many games, diverting Kelvin Mellor's goal bound effort into the bottom corner with just three minutes on the clock. Elsewhere, Ollie Turton reverted to his natural position of right back, allowing Mellor to push up into a winger's role that he carried out so well earlier in the season. The Latics were unable to deal with Mellor's strength and aerial ability, and on another day the 27-year-old could have had a hat-trick to add to his already glowing tally. Jimmy Ryan came in for his first start in four and dominated the midfield, putting in a sterling display - no doubt buoyed on by his new chant bellowing out from the away end. Nathan Delfouneso was deployed in an unfamiliar number ten role behind Gnanduillet and his sheer presence and tenacity unsettled the home side from the very start. Pool didn't allow Wigan to get going, with the tone being set from the very start. I feared they might struggle to keep it up for the 90 minutes but they did and got their rewards for it. Full marks to Bowyer for taking the risk and implementing such an effective system.

READ MORE: Bowyer hails Blackpool's stunning win amid off-field chaos

Robertson was a rock at the back

It seems unfair to pick out just one player when everyone carried out their jobs superbly. To a man, from Lumley at the back to Gnanduillet up front, Pool were magnificent. But I think Robertson deserves special praise given his costly mistakes in the previous two fixtures. Against both Bury and Walsall Robertson performed well, but a mistake in either game led to goals on both occasions. It's most unlike Robertson, who is usually as capable as they come for Blackpool. But he more than made up for the errors with a flawless display at the DW Stadium, impressing from the very first minute to the last. I lost count the number of times Robertson anticipated where the ball was going to come before nipping in front of his man. He did it time and time again and Will Grigg, who wasn't quite on fire last night, must have been left frustrated. It's easy to forget Robertson is still only 24. You'd be forgiven for thinking he's one of the older heads given the way he plays and given the fact he's one of the club's longest servants. So perhaps he deserves a bit more lee-way when he does make the odd error, it's only natural when you're still learning your game. But it was great to see Robertson, and his centre back partner Curtis Tilt, back to their very best.

Blackpool must now build on this

Beating Wigan on their own turf is a superb achievement and it can't be underestimated how impressive a feat it was. It is only right the players and supporters celebrated it in the manner in which they did, but football is a ruthless business and attention now immediately turns to Sunday. The Seasiders have now given themselves a four-point gap to AFC Wimbledon in 21st, which gives them some breathing space ahead of this weekend's home game against Peterborough United - a side they beat 1-0 away from home earlier in the season. But given Pool are playing on Sunday, due to Preston being at home the day before, they will probably find themselves right back in it before they play their game in hand. Even if Blackpool only pick up a point on Sunday, every little helps to keep that points tally ticking over. Four wins from their last 14 games will probably be enough to secure safety, which sounds more then achievable on the face of it. They will get off to a great start should they pick up one of those against Peterborough.

That's what you call support

In all honesty I expected more than 527 Blackpool fans to make the trip to Wigan, but what they might have lacked in numbers they more than made up in vocal support. The Seasiders' faithful were relentless, singing throughout the game. While the Wigan fans watched on in silence, clearly frustrated by their side's lacklustre display, the Blackpool fans showed them how it's done - backing the players from the very first minute to the last. Even when Blackpool were coming under the cosh at the start of the second half, at a time when an early Wigan goal would have changed the course of the game, the Blackpool fans kept backing their team and gave them that lift that is so often lacking during home games at Bloomfield Road. It was also great to hear a chant for a Blackpool player, something I've not heard for a long, long time. I can only think of Nathan Delfouneso who has one.