Mansfield 1-0 Blackpool: Five things we learned
Blackpool FC writer Matt Scrafton takes a look at the key talking points from Blackpool's 1-0 defeat to Mansfield Town.
Unbeaten run is over
Blackpool surrendered their six-match unbeaten run in the second minute of injury time in pretty cruel circumstances, but they can only have themselves to blame. It looked like they set up to play for a point, and they were stung late on. The last time Blackpool tasted defeat, which also came in dramatic circumstances during the 2-1 defeat at Accrington, Gary Bowyer's side went on a run and climbed their way up the table. Newport, who sit bottom of the League Two table, present the perfect opportunity for the Seasiders to get back to winning ways although it won't be an easy one, with Graham Westley recently taking over the reigns at the Welsh club.
Kyle Vassell was badly missed
Blackpool are far from a one-man team but going forward, they really missed the presence of the in-form striker. Mark Cullen, coming into the side to replace the former Peterborough man, tried his hardest and chased down every loose ball. But nothing was coming off for Cullen and he just wasn't able to get himself into the game. The thing with Vassell is, he doesn't wait to play himself into the game - he takes it by the scruff of the neck and dictates terms to the opposition. He bustles much taller defenders off the ball and never gives the opposition a moment's rest. That's exactly what Pool lacked on Tuesday night, but hopefully it won't be missing on Saturday against Newport.
Seasiders were blunt in attack
Blackpool have been at their best in recent weeks when they have taken the game to their opponents, both at home and on the road. A point would have been a good result and I understand why Gary Bowyer set his side up the way he did, but they lacked a spark and the creativity just wasn't there. For the first league game in months, the Seasiders failed to hit double figures for the number of shots on goal. It was a game low on quality and Mansfield weren't much better, but when you set up to play in a defensive manner, it only takes one mistake and that proved to be the case at Field Mill.
One mistake was all it took
Gary Bowyer admitted the performances of centre backs Tom Aldred and Clark Robertson were "almost immaculate", but admitted that wasn't quite good enough. And the two combined with two silly mistakes to allow firstly, Matt Green to get in a shot at goal inside the box, and secondly, Danny Rose to stear in at the back post after Sam Slocombe had produced a good stop. Aldred produced an uncharacteristic weak header across his own box that put Robertson in danger, but the latter then failed to clear his lines. Why they were dallying like that in their own box in the 92nd minute, I don't know, but they were suitably punished for it.
Evans will never change
Steve Evans has always been animated on the sidelines, but I had managed to forget just how bad he was. That all came flashing back last night. Along with his sidekick Paul Raynor, the two of them are constantly harassing the fourth official and leaping onto the pitch with arms held aloft appealing for the referee to give every foul in their favour. This soon gets tiresome but in the first half especially, it seemed to be working in their favour, with the referee seemingly caving in to the home crowd and giving the Stags more than their fair share of decisions. Evans is a very effective manager and no doubt the Mansfield fans will take to him, but he won't win any plaudits along the way from anyone else.