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If there was ever a result which reflects Blackpool FC's year in 2016 then a drab goalless draw in Grimsby probably sums it up. It's easy to forget with all the off the field antics that this was the year when those on the pitch were humiliated by back to back relegations and there were some that thought the Chairman would be as good as his word and not stop until the Seasiders were in the Conference. Whilst, the decline has been halted by Gary Bowyer, this game showed, against a side who had only won once at home in 10 games, that a return to League One is far from a guarantee this season. Indeed an automatic return, at the halfway point of the campaign, seems an impossible goal with 'Pool languishing 12 points behind the Top 3.
After scoring 13 goals in 6 games in November, it looked like Blackpool's patchy goal scoring record this season had been sorted, However, just 5 goals in 6 games has resurrected those concerns that this side lacks any real goal power. Maybe that's best reflected in Kyle Vassell who has drawn a complete blank this month. If Blackpool are to go on and achieve anything this season then they can't be as wasteful in front of goal as they were at Grimsby. Twice as many shots as the home side, five times as many corners and more of the possession for an away side who should have been capitalised on this but this team often flatters to decieve and haven't really put in a concvincing performance for a while now. Bowyer says there is more to come from this side, well if ever there was a time to show it now would be a good time to see it.
Blackpool might well leave the North East feeling hard done by because Bright Osayi-Samuel should have had a penaty awarded to the visitors but only got a yellow card for his troubles. Kyle vassell may also feel aggrieved as it took a fine save from on loan Manchester United keeper Dean Henderson to deny him after 20 minutes. Sam Slocomb was also called in to action but it was Vassell v Henderson that proved to be the main contest of the day with the Grimsby keeper coming out on top. Mark Cullen had earned his place in the side with the winner at Hartlepool but that same finishing denied him with the best chance of the game when he shot wide whilst presented with a decent opportunity in the box. Michael Cain and Danny Philliskirk came on late for the 'Pool who had to do without their Captain Danny Pugh who was replaced by Jack Payne.
Blackpool have played a disproportionate amount of games away than at home (13 to 10) and it may well be their home form that they rely on in 2017 starting with Monday's visit of Mansfield. However, it will be another game which the majority of Blackpool fans won't see. If there's anything that 2016 will be remembered for it will be the empty rows of seats on matchdays and the continuing dispute between fans and the owners. There are major doubts over whether 2017 will bring either a change of owners or fortunes for Blackpool Football Club. Both depends on the actions of one man who will hopefully make resolving the mess around the club his resolution for the New Year.
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