Wigan Athletic 2 Blackpool 1: Five things we learned
Blackpool's participation in this season's Carabao Cup saw them fall at the first hurdle on Tuesday evening.
Goals from Josh Laurent and Jordan Flores left Gary Bowyer’s players with a second-half mountain climb.
They almost did it as Peter Hartley pulled one back and Jamille Matt headed against the top of the bar - but what else did we learn last night?
As the manager said when coming out to meet the press afterwards, should we have just used the post-match press conference from Bradford City instead?
Tuesday night’s loss had much in common with their defeat on the opening day of the season last Saturday.
Eminently avoidable goals? Check. Pressure that went unrewarded? Check. Happiness at the performance but not the result? Check.
The aim now is to take the positivity from those performances and turn them into three points; preferably starting on Saturday.
Nobody is happy at conceding goals but the manner of the four Blackpool have shipped in the first two games needs addressing.
Bradford yielded a goal from a needless free-kick and a winning goal which raised questions over the positioning of keeper Ryan Allsop.
Fast forward to Tuesday and the first came from failing to retain possession and track a midfield runner, while the second saw Blackpool’s defenders fail to close down Jordan Flores - someone whose ability they should have been all too aware of.
As Bowyer admitted afterwards, both goals were not the best to concede.
As well as making nine changes from the side beaten at Bradford City, Bowyer also changed formation for good measure.
Out went last Saturday’s 3-5-2 with a more traditional 4-4-2 deployed instead, allowing him to see how his side would fare with two out-and-out wingers in Bright Osayi-Samuel and Viv Solomon-Otabor.
The answer, at least in an attacking sense, was very well; both used their pace and direct running to good effect and troubled the Wigan backline.
A cynic may point out they were facing a Latics team with 11 changes but at least Bowyer has options at his disposal.
Staking a claim
One of the benefits of Bowyer’s squad rotation was that it gave those players who weren’t involved at Bradford a chance to show what they are about.
Based on last night’s performance - and again bearing in mind Wigan’s 11 changes - there were plenty more positives than negatives.
Osayi-Samuel and Solomon-Otabor were lively, Sean Longstaff looks a tidy addition to midfield, Max Clayton had moments of promise and Armand Gnanduillet was a strong, physical outlet.
While Bowyer may not have the biggest squad in terms of numbers, he at least has some viable alternatives when the need arises.
Carabao needs to catch on
Wigan failed to announce an attendance over the tannoy for last night’s outing but, after a spot of digging, the crowd figure was 3,391.
The decision to only open two stands at the DW Stadium last night was testament to how the match failed to capture the public’s imagination.
There may be all sorts of reasons for that but those who stayed away missed an enjoyable evening’s entertainment.
That said, if anyone thinks 3,391 was a low crowd, what the attendance may be when the two sides meet in the much criticised Checkatrade Trophy at the end of August doesn’t bear worth thinking about...