Pleasantly surprised

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Richard Hallam

10 April 2017

Blackpool 1 Grimsby Town 3

This game had all the ingredients for a potentially disappointing afternoon: confidence low, antagonism towards the manager growing, poor recent form and opponents who had taken 16 points out of a possible 21 and scored 12 goals. But I like Bloomfield Road. The last time I was here I recall we won 3-1. One stand is different to the other three – it makes all the difference.

There were 1,508 Town fans, and I feared that it would be the 'quiet as a mouse' support of the Stevenage/Accrington variety, but it was not. Many warmed up their voices in the Manchester pub on the seafront where the DJ even played 'Up the Mariners'. It felt more like a cup game than a league game with little to play for, at least for us.

First half

The team selection was as controversial as ever. Dan Jones and Gavin Gunning retained their places. Consensus was we'd play a 3-5-2, but I think it was a 4-1-3-2. No disasters in the first five minutes. By the quarter hour mark it was pretty even, but I'd seen some class from some of the Blackpool players that I've only really seen from Doncaster and Pompey previously. Clements and Osborne grew into the game, and started to match Blackpool in the centre. Both had a good game, showing some great touches.

I think Danny Collins was brilliant until Christmas but not quite so good more recently. Today, however, he looked assured and very committed. In the 17th minute he rose high to put Town in front with a great header from a brilliant Danny Andrew cross. Memories of Plymouth away.

A few minutes later McKeown made a great stop from the alice band-sporting Potts. The Seasiders started to dominate and equalised in the 43rd from a looping Boyce own goal. Andrew Boyce looked good at Accrington and barring this stroke of bad luck, was solid all day.

Recent scripts would point to heads down and defeat, but we were a different team today. Two minutes after Blackpool equalised Dyson had a clever volley tipped over the bar into the still noisy Town fans. The corner resulted in a scramble and Sam Jones knocked it in. Jones is looking like a massive find. When he joined us he didn't even sound that keen on playing in a striker's role!

Town deserved to be in front at the break. Blackpool watered the pitch heavily before both halves, but it didn't seem to affect us negatively. Gunning in particular was having a very good game; he looked comfortable and composed. Dan Jones was solid as well, showing some good control of the ball and much more confidence than last week.

Second half

Jimmy Mac played his part in keeping Town in front during the first 20 of the second half. Danny Andrew, was... Danny Andrew all game, and Zak Mills was just as assured on the other flank. Both full-backs controlled the ball well, moved forward regularly and took on a man or two successfully on several occasions.

In the 70th minute Sam Jones outmuscled Aldred twice and ran powerfully in from the wing to score his sixth goal in eight games. Bignot calls him a stallion: we can see what he means.

With just over 10 minutes to go, McKeown tipped a shot from Vassell just around the post in the closest shave Town had all day. Vose joined the fray and we successfully slowed things down and kept possession. An excellent rendition of FISH! rang out around the stadium and for the first time in a few weeks it felt really good to be a Town fan.

I don't think there's anything wrong in the spirit of this squad of players; just look at the expressions on their faces when we score and when we win. The players knew what formation we were playing today, and it worked and entertained.

We've got good players, and today they showed they could play well as a team. Consistency is the missing ingredient. Five more performances like today and we'll sell a few more season tickets than we might have after the Doncaster game. If you're at "the BP" on Friday, do what we did at Blackpool: get behind the team from the off and you might be pleasantly surprised, whatever 11 Marcus puts out.