A game Blackpool needed to win any way necessary: Matt Scrafton’s verdict on vital Peterborough triumph

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This wasn’t the prettiest win you’ll ever witness, but you won’t hear anyone of a Blackpool persuasion complaining.

 

After enduring a seven-game run without a win and losing the last three on the bounce, the Seasiders simply had to find a way to grind out three points to stop the rot. Thankfully they managed it.

Had they done the unthinkable and lost again, the gap to the bottom three would have been cut to just five points, which would have been an uncomfortably small buffer to stew on as we tucked into our Christmas dinners.

Ironically, barring last week’s dire display against Derby, the Seasiders probably produced better performances during their recent winless streak and either drew or lost, but such is the weird and wonderful nature of this game we all love and hate in equal measure.

The 3-0 reversal at the hands of Luton Town is the first that springs to mind, a game in which Blackpool played some good stuff and created a host of presentable chances only to be punished in brutal fashion.

It’s amazing what a win can do though, isn’t it?

Having been nervously looking over their shoulders and wondering where the next goal was going to come from, never mind the next win, Neil Critchley’s side are now back into the top half of the table having managed three goals in one game, something they took eight games to do prior to Saturday.

The Seasiders have now moved back into the top half of the table following yesterday's crucial win

The Seasiders have now moved back into the top half of the table following yesterday’s crucial win

Taking nothing away from Blackpool, because they were the better side and richly deserved their victory, they were assisted in their endeavours by a pretty poor Posh side.

There’s no doubt they’ve got some technically gifted players at their disposal and they work it through the lines well, but that’s about it.

In truth, they never looked like scoring. Their display was similar to what the Seasiders produced at Pride Park last week.

The only time their pleasing on the eye but ultimately ineffective style of play produced a clear-cut opportunity, it resulted in a goal.

Siriki Dembele, the only visiting player that looked likely to make anything happen, latched onto Josh Knight’s pinpoint throughball to slot home after rounding Dan Grimshaw.

The returning Grimshaw otherwise had very little to do, not until the final minute of stoppage time anyway when he made a breathtaking stop to deny Posh a last-ditch consolation.

In the first-half, Blackpool weren’t necessarily playing poorly. In fact, they were the better side and were creating some good openings.

But they just looked so low on confidence, which is more than understandable given their recent run, and found themselves being punished for one lapse in concentration.

After taking the lead, the away side, somewhat bizarrely, opted against taking advantage of Blackpool’s lack of belief and sat back, inviting pressure.

From relatively early on, they also resorted to winding down the clock and wasting time. Even when Pool pulled it back to 1-1, goalkeeper David Cornell still took an age over every goal kick.

I suppose needs-must when you’ve lost 10 of your 11 away games (now 11 in 12). But it stunk of desperation and there’s no wonder Blackpool fans were so happy to revel in Darren Ferguson’s misery come the final whistle when he bizarrely claimed his side controlled the game and was “shocked” to lose 3-1.

When the Seasiders did level midway through the first-half, I’m sure Critchley and his staff will have breathed a huge sigh of relief.

That’s because the goal, which came via Keshi Anderson’s well-taken finish from the first of Josh Bowler’s two assists, was Blackpool’s first goal in six-and-a-half hours of football.

The hosts had already created some good chances up to that point, including a low curling effort from Anderson seconds before he rippled the back of the net. Thankfully that familiar feeling of ‘oh no, not again’ was quickly put to bed.

It was fitting that Anderson was on the scoresheet after what will have been a difficult couple of days for the winger following the tragic death of his agent Dom Yarwood on Thursday.

The 26-year-old also had a hand in the pivotal second goal, turning provider to unselfishly play the ball into the path of substitute Sonny Carey, who showed the calmness and composure of a grizzled veteran to slot home his first goal in tangerine with just four minutes remaining on the clock.

It’s easy to forget Carey is still only 20 years of age, because when he’s on song he plays like someone who’s been playing in the Championship all of his life.

Fellow sub Jerry Yates put the game to bed in the first minute of stoppage time, showing persistence to force the ball over the line at the second attempt after his first effort was saved.

As substitutions go, this was a double change that definitely paid off. While the change back to 4-4-2 worked to make Blackpool more of a potent attacking unit, it was the switch back to 4-2-3-1 which resulted in the late goals that ultimately won Blackpool the game.

What happened in between Anderson’s equaliser and Carey’s decisive strike was fairly underwhelming stuff though, it has to be said.

At times, the game became a real slog with neither side displaying a great deal of quality.

But if one side looked more likely to edge it, then it was always Blackpool. They just needed to find a way of getting over the line.

As previously mentioned, it was clear from a mile off the hosts were lacking in confidence. Their intentions were good, but they lacked inspiration. At times, it almost felt like they were waiting for something to happen rather than making it happen.

There were large spells in the game where the crowd fell silent, which is not something I’ve witnessed on many occasions at Bloomfield Road this season. Thankfully the ground was rocking once again come the final whistle as we witnessed a long overdue fist pump from Critchley in front of the North Stand.