During pre-season – buoyed by Blackpool sticking three past Everton in ten minutes and going 2-0 up at Anfield – I put a bet on the Seasiders to win League One. After a ropey start to the season and subsequent inconsistent form, I haven’t given it much further thought. I know I am prone to getting overexcited. Larry told us that was A Bad Thing when he was manager here last season and, ever since, I’ve had a underlying sense of guilt; that getting excited and being hopeful and wanting the very best for my team is A Bad Thing. And that’s not right, is it? Because, without hope, what has a football fan got?
I didn’t dare get excited about this match – even though this was one of those infamous ‘games in hand’, one of only a handful of games in League One tonight. I knew if we won we could go 6th. A play-off position! And still with further games in hand. But Blackpool were riddled with injuries. Dan Ballard was off on international duty, leaving us with one match fit centre half (who we told months ago wasn’t wanted at the club). Would we have enough to win this, after a run of frustrating draws at home?
We played the same formation as Saturday – a 4-2-3-1 – which Oxford found so hard to cope with. Would Peterborough fare any better? Frankly, no. Jerry Yates scored with one minute on the clock and we ran rampant in the first half. It was truly joyful to watch. I was so thankful for the early goal, because no more came. Kaikai was through on goal but collapsed comically on the watered pitch (with famously poor drainage). He can count himself incredibly fortunate there wree no fans in the ground to barrack him for that. Aside from that, he – and all the other players to a man, including Turton, who was covering at centre half – was magnificent. Alas, the visitors equalised at the end of the first half, out of nowhere. Again we were dominant without making it count.
The half time break was a worry, because I knew the Peterborough manager (Darren Ferguson) would be appalled by what he had seen and make changes. What I had forgotten, however, was that Peterborough simply can’t handle us at the best of times. We beat them at Bloomfield Road last season under Larry – and God knows we didn’t win too many matches (especially convincingly) under him. They play very openly, allowing us loads of space – and you simply can’t allow this Blackpool team space. We have magicians who can carve opportunities out of the slightest angle.
The ref certainly had an eventful game to officiate. The Posh keeper handled outside his area early doors but was only penalised with a free kick and no card, as he didn’t stop a promising attack. There were penalty appeals at both ends. Ferguson needed a yellow card to calm him down.
The second half bore two further goals for the Seasiders. Yates scored from the spot. And as for our third of the night? What a cracker from Luke Garbutt! Take a look here:
For a more in-depth review of the minute-by-minute action, can I refer you to the magnificent Mitch Cook’s Left Foot blog, which tells it like it is – and features some hilarious graphics (more of these please!).
We had a great time, as ever, on our livestream watchalong – and a bumper crowd watching, with fans from other clubs across League One checking in on their promotion rivals. As they all seemed to want us to win, I am guessing they hadn’t counted us as one of those prior to last night.
To get our viewers in the mood, we added our matchday vlog from the corresponding fixture last season to the start of the stream. We also have a new feature at the end of the stream, with fans summarising the match they have just watched. I hope you’ll agree it’s a good enhancement to the stream. Lee and I are always working hard to improve the quality of our content. If you like what we do, tell your friends so they can join in with us.
So, finally, after weeks of ‘well we might only be mid-table but if we win our games in hand…’, we have ascended to a play-off position, with 12 games of the season remaining. We’re being noticed by The Others now as potential dark horses for promotion, with ten matches unbeaten. Am I allowing myself to get excited now?
Well…We Are Mighty. We are the play-off kings. We have seen Blackpool win promotion to the Premier League so we know anything is possible. The belief is so, so important.
I have no idea which bookies I used to place my bet with. Should I start scouring through my emails just in case…?
Plymouth at home on Saturday. Could we go 5th…?
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