Blackpool 2 Fleetwood Town 1
By Editor
Saturday 14 Apr 2018 19:53:00
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Victory against Fleetwood Town brings the Seasiders to within 8 points of the Play Offs, the bad news for Gary Bowyer is that his side can only win 9 more points! That's maybe as well for so many reasons. This was never the right season to be knocking on the doors of the Play Offs, it's no time for Owen Oyston to be enjoying any extra revenue and actually whilst this side are arguably a good bet for a mid-table place, there isn't the depth or the strength for them to be anything better. However, what Saturday's win was a reminder of is how there is still life in Bloomfield Road and that was largely supplied by under 11's who were allowed free in to the ground. Hopefully 'the lost generation' might still be convcinced to turn tangerine when the club finally changes hands and for anyone that was making their Bloomfield Road debut this game was entirely reflective of what being a Blackpool fan is all about. The anticipation, the frustration, the despair and then surprisingly the jubliation. Who wouldn't want to buy in to that when the time comes?

Whether there were really 7,371 fans inside Bloomfield Road is open to debate, but there certainly felt more of a presence than at any time in the last few seasons. The Fleetwood fans undoubtedly contributed with their vociferous support, although the 'Oyston In' chants weren't helpful, and you could tell until the 94th minute that this derby meant more to their fans than the Blackpool supporters, who still seem unwilling or uncapable of  creating any sort of home atmosphere. It's for that reason that the jubliant celebrations when 'Pool's second goal went in, prompted similar celebrations amongst players (some of whom were booked for joining in with a half hearted Full Monty), the likes of which this squad won't have seen before at home. In many ways, it all contributes to just how sad and unnecessary the plight of Blackpool FC has been these last few years. These days are what football should be about, but they can't truly be enjoyed until the owners have gone and the whole seaside family is back together. 

That said, for 88 minutes those who've chosen to stay away will have been pleased with their decision as the Blackpool side of the last two games failed to show. In fact, bar a Jay Spearing effort in the first half which hit the post, it felt like one of those days that those in tangerine could have played until Midnight and not come close to scoring. What is interesting is that when Fleetwood took the lead after a triple substitution from Jon Sheridan, there was murmurings of discontent as to why Bowyer hadn't changed his side. Vassell struggled to get in the game, Otabor didn't look the same player who'd terrorised Bradford and Northampton's right backs, Fonz was back to his old frustrating self and Longstaff failed to impress. Even Jimmy Ryan seemed rattled against his old side and the back four were making uncommon mistakes. Whilst Blackpool had plenty of the ball, the final third was a shambles lacking any potency.

Fleetwood offered little in the first half and were happy to soak up the pressure and bar Spearing hitting the woodwork, it was an instantly forgettable 45 minutes. Many predicted another dire 0-0 but what came after the break surprised everyone. The Cods started to dominate and Joe Lumley made a rare mistake coming well out of his penalty area for a clearance which he failed to get near allowing Wes Burns the chance to go through on goal but he made a right hash of it. However, the Cods took the lead when Daniel allowed the ball to go over his head and whilst Hiwula's effort was deflected, Burns took full advantage. It should have been two moments later but the Fleetwood fans groaned as an effort went wide and maybe that was the turning point. Bowyer made his 3 subs, Otabor smashed a volley in from 12 yards out on 88 minutes and then late in to stoppage time Menga found Gnanduillet who headed home the winner - cue unbridled celebrations and maybe this game did mean more to Blackpool fans than they realised.

Any victory still feels empty whilst the majority of supporters aren't in the ground. However, fair play to Bowyer and his team because 3 home wins in 8 games won't come along again very often and without those 9 points, it could well have been curtains and relegation for this side. However, they came good when they needed to and maybe that moment of celebration in stoppage time was what these players deserved after an unforgiving campaign. With league one status secured, now is the time all fans have to take a back seat and wait for this whole, sorry mess to be sorted out. Hopefully these players can repeat this result the next time these two teams meet as a tribute to those who missed it the first time.



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