Scunthorpe United 0-0 Blackpool: Seasiders rue lack of quality in final third once again

Marc Bola in action at Glanford Park
Marc Bola in action at Glanford Park

Blackpool were made to rue a glut of missed chances as they were forced to settle for a disappointing Good Friday stalemate at Scunthorpe United.

Blackpool were made to rue a glut of missed chances as they were forced to settle for a disappointing Good Friday stalemate at Scunthorpe United.

The Seasiders were the dominant side, producing 16 attempts on the home side’s goal but, as has so often been the case this season, were unable to find that decisive final touch.

Jordan Thompson and Matty Virtue were the main culprits, missing two presentable chances apiece as Blackpool failed to find the back of the net for the 18th occasion this season.

Pool will be pleased to keep a long-overdue clean sheet, something they hadn’t managed to do in their last 10 outings - stretching back to the draw at Charlton Athletic in mid-February.

But there can be no excuses for Pool’s failings at the other end of the pitch against a Scunthorpe side that find themselves mired in the relegation dogfight in League One.

After last week’s no-show against Peterborough United, Terry McPhillips made two changes to his side.

In came Antony Evans and Jordan Thompson, with Liam Feeney and Nathan Delfouneso dropping down to the bench.

For Evans, it is his first start since the 2-2 draw against Plymouth Argyle on March 30.

Thompson, meanwhile, started for the first time since being called up to Northern Ireland's squad in mid-March.

Donervon Daniels missed out a knock, while Michael Nottingham, Callum Guy and Joe Dodoo were all left out of the squad.

Mark Howard, Jimmy Ryan and Max Clayton remain sidelined with long-term injuries.

The Seasiders were gifted a huge opportunity inside the first 25 seconds, Scunthorpe failing to deal with a routine ball over the top which left Evans in acres of space in behind their back four.

But the on-loan Everton man took too long to make a decision and when he did eventually cross to Armand Gnanduillet, his delivery was blocked away for a corner.

The fast tempo to the match continued apace, with former Seasider Adam Hammill curling a free kick just wide of the top corner for the hosts.

At the other end, Jordan Thompson sent a fierce, dipping effort just past the post after dropping his shoulder to create some space for himself on the edge of the Scunthorpe box.

Ben Heneghan then side-footed a shot into the side netting after being picked out by Evans’ deep corner.

Pool were dealt an early blow when Ollie Turton was forced off after suffering a knock, with Liam Feeney taking his place at full back.

It was down that side of the pitch where Scunthorpe looked to catch Pool out with a break, only to waste their chance when Kevin van Veen dragged his long-range effort wastefully wide of goal.

Pool continued to play some nice inter-play in and around the Scunthorpe box, Evans setting one up for Matty Virtue with the midfielder seeing his low shot deflect into the grateful arms of Jak Alnwick.

A minute later, Blackpool came agonisingly close to taking the lead through Thompson, whose 25-yard volley flew just over the bar after taking the slightest of deflections.

Pool continued their early dominance but still had nothing to show for it, despite Armand Gnanduillet beating his man on the byline before seeing his pullback cleared away from inside the six-yard box.

We saw a sign of Scunthorpe’s nerves just after the half-hour mark, keeper Alnwick allowing the ball to run onto the foot of the post after failing to control Rory McArdle’s passback.

Evans inexplicably ducked instead of heading a long ball away from danger, allowing Jordan Hallam the chance to test Christoffer Mafoumbi - with the Pool keeper doing well to parry his drive away from danger.

Pool ended the half exactly as they started it, by going close but still not being able to break that deadlock.

It came after Gnanduillet did well to hold the ball up down the left flank, laying it off for Virtue whose first-time effort was superbly tipped over by Alnwick.

Evans created some space for himself on the edge of the Scunthorpe area at the start of the second half with some sublime touches, leaving two or three players in his wake.

But, after doing the hard work, his finish left a lot to be desired with Alnwick easily claiming his low effort.

The Seasiders created an opening for Thompson, again on the edge of the box, after some lovely one and two-touch passing but again Alnwick was untested.

McPhillips’ men were given something of a let-off 10 minutes into the second period when Hammill was brought down in the box, only for the referee to wave away the appeals.

Pool were guilty of squandering yet another promising shooting opportunity when the ball fell kindly to Marc Bola in the box, the left back failing to control his shot which narrowed over the bar.

The home side came close to taking the lead on 71 minutes, van Veen going on one-on-one with Mafoumbi only to be denied by a sprawling save after Pool had been opened up far too easily from a long ball.

Pool’s failure to find the back of the net was clearly due to their poor finishing, but Virtue couldn’t have done much more with his low drive from Bola’s pullback that was superbly saved by Alnwick’s outstretched leg.

Scunthorpe threatened an unlikely winner six minutes from time when Wootton almost diverted Josh Morris’ hopeful potshot into the bottom corner of Pool’s net.

The home side thought they had won it a minute from time when Lee Novak glanced Hammill’s cross towards the top corner, only to see Mafoumbi making a flying save across goal to tip it over the bar.

That proved to be the last action of the game as the Seasiders seemed quite content to sit on their point rather than go for the jugular in the dying stages.

TEAMS

Scunthorpe: Alnwick, Webster, Perch, Pearce, McArdle, Sutton (Morris), Hallam (Lewis), Hammill, Ojo, van Veen (Novak), Wootton

Subs not used: Flatt, Borthwick-Jackson, Thomas, McGahey

Blackpool: Mafoumbi, Turton (Feeney), Heneghan, Tilt, Bola, Spearing, Virtue, Kirby (Delfouneso), Evans (Long), Thompson, Gnanduillet

Subs not used: Boney, Anderton, Taylor, Pritchard

Referee: Martin Coy

Attendance: 3,795