Blackpool hosted the league leaders Bury in what was always going to be a tough game. It was made tougher by the withdrawal of usual keeper Kilshaw following a freak midweek work accident, meaning that captain Rayner was forced to play himself in that position, 10 years after he’d last put on pads.
Blackpool started solidly with intelligent passing moves and were close to scoring on several occasions. In fact a clear penalty flick was initially awarded but then reversed, much to the dismay of the Blackpool attackers. The defence coped well with any Bury attacks and protected their new keeper, however towards the end of the half they conceded a short corner. Bury used a clever move by playing the ball to the nearest striker on the side of the D, instead of the standard top D tactics, and with a well taken shot, Blackpool’s defence and keeper had no chance.
Despite finding themselves 1-0 down at half-time, the Blackpool captain gave a positive team talk to his team and asked for more of the same. Unfortunately Bury were also inspired by their half time talk and came out more focussed with extra attacking force, and managed to break the Blackpool defence within minutes of the restart to leas 2-0.
The second half was more even with both sides creating chances, and once again Blackpool hit the post but just couldn’t seem to find the net. The team shape started to suffer as the anxiety rose with two goals to try and pull back. There were even runs coming from the defenders, including a notable slide and extended dive at the far post trying to deflect a ball that had crossed a crowded D that missed by inches.
The full time whistle came as a disappointment to Blackpool who felt they were at least equal to Bury, but perhaps the extra year of experience and teamwork in the league gave the visitors a deserved edge. The return match on the final day of the season should be one to look forward to. Blakemore was awarded Man of the Match for his fine play in the centre of midfield.
Blackpool now have to put the recent weeks disappointments behind them and ensure that they win all 3 pts on Saturday away at struggling Golborne. There’s still time to build up the points for a push at promotion, although no more slip-ups can be afforded.