First half one of the best I've been involved in, says Blackpool boss

Blackpool boss Gary Bowyer had high praise for his team following Saturday's 2-1 defeat of Oldham Athletic.

Monday, 28th August 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:51 pm
Kyle Vassell scores Blackpool's second goal

His players could have been out of sight by half-time but were almost made to pay for missed chances.First-half goals from Sean Longstaff and Kyle Vassell highlighted an imperious opening 45 minutes from the Seasiders.

They could have had the game wrapped up by the break but dropped off in the second half and allowed Darius Osei to pull one back for the visitors.

Despite late pressure from the Oldham players, Blackpool held out to make it two wins from two at home in League One – and earned plaudits from their manager.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“I’m very pleased with the three points but at the end of the day we made hard work of it,” he said.

“I thought the first 45 minutes were some of the best football I’ve been involved in, in terms of managing and coaching.

“I don’t think it would have been unfair if the score was higher than 2-0 but, with John Sheridan and what he’s done at Oldham on numerous occasions, I knew there was going to be a reaction and we saw a reaction from them.

“We had several opportunities to put the game to bed before they scored and then we knew there was a game.

“There was a good atmosphere and it was a good test for our young team in the second half.

“They put a few more grey hairs on my head, that’s for sure!”

While delighted with the way his players have adapted to life in League One so far, Bowyer acknowledged lessons must be learned.

A number of players had opportunities to find the net, chiefly Bright Osayi-Samuel.

If the youngster’s pace and dynamism was augmented by a clinical touch in front of goal, then some of the higher-profile clubs in this country would be beating a path to Bloomfield Road for his signature.

As well as one first-half effort that brought a save from Oldham’s Ben Wilson, Osayi-Samuel was off target on three occasions in the second period when he could have at least tested the keeper.

“I’m not exaggerating when I’m saying the first 45 minutes was probably the best football from one of my teams as a manager at first-team, youth team or reserve team level,” Bowyer said.

“There is always a learning part of it as well. We have to be a bit more ruthless.

“Bright hasn’t got on the scoresheet yet but we could be talking about him having a hat-trick; that’s the learning part of it but he’s only 19.

“Sean Longstaff was outstanding again. He’s only 19, but the age we have in the team and on the pitch and the way they are performing is very good.

“To have a return of seven points from the first four games back in this league isn’t a bad start.”

The player who really caught the eye on Saturday, though, was striker Kyle Vassell.

As well as notching his first of the season, his link-up play was excellent and he bullied the defenders.

“He worked his socks off. His pace and power were terrific,” Bowyer said.

“I’m delighted for him that he got his goal. His performance was ever so good.”