Well that was a really good game of Football to watch, probably the best entertainment wise this season, disappointed not to win of course but not disappointed with the Town performance against a very handy team who are bang in form, none of the rustiness that was feared prior to kick off was in evidence as Town looked alert, sharp and up for it from the start. I was a bit deflated at the line up as we know Kayden Jackson does not suit the lone striker role while the absence of James Norwood due to a knock was a bitter blow.
We actually started very well and look at it from the off, Danny Rowe given a decent chance in the opening minutes to get a shot on goal but he placed it wide of the mark. Donacien in at RB had started very well, winning Two towering headers and a couple of tackles to settle his nerves. It was Norris in the Town goal who was called upon to make the first save of the match as he got down well to save. The game wasnt even Ten minutes old and Town took the lead, the impressive Donacien getting in a cross which was headed back across goal before finding it's way to Edwards who swept it home, just the start we needed and our good start probably deserved.
Town continued in the ascendancy with the crowd in good voice but no other real chances came our way, typically with Blackpool having started to get into the game a bit more we find ourselves pegged back, a mix up in Midfield saw Skuse and another Town player seemingly tackle each other from which they broke into space, a decent cross from the Left as usual fell nicely for the visitors who made no mistake, it was a bit unfortunate given the nature of the strike but to be fair they had started to come into the game and looked lively on the counter attack.
Town didn't let the blow of the goal affect them and efforts from Edwards, Jackson and Rowe all came to nothing, at the other end Blackpool saw a cou8ple of efforts fail to find the net, One in particular was well saved by Norris in the Town goal. Town had by and large done well in the opening Forty Five although Blackpool had probably had the two best chances other than the goals, with Norris the busier of the keepers. The Town Midfield had done well with Downes again the pick while for me Right Back Donacien had been Town's best player with an assured performance, not to mention his assist in the goal.
As is often the case Town stepped it up after the break and it was a half that was to see Town have the lions share of the game, Nolan was getting more and more on the ball and looking to drive us forward, Edwards & Rowe had swapped sides and the former was looking a bit more dangerous. Donacien got an excellent early cross into the box where Edwards was close to a second but the effort was blocked, then Woolfenden spurned a chance at the far post as he put his header wide following good work from Garbutt.
It had been all Town since the restart but we got a real kick in the teeth as the ref awarded them a very dubious penalty, adjudging that Chambers had fouled the attacker, opinions from those closer to the incident are adamant he dived and cheated the officials, but the assistant made the call and they converted the spot kick, I was right up the other end and cannot make a call on it but many were irate at the decision.
Thankfully Town were not behind for long as it was then our turn to get a penalty for handball, this one was right in front of us and yes it was a handball but you still could not help but feel the ref was wanting to even things up, Garbutt making no mistake with a cool penalty kick. The noise levels were really cranked up now as Town went looking for a Third, Woolfy coming close with another header which was bundled away before Jackson looked to have given us the lead but a Blackpool boot hacked it off the line, the bias in me was convinced it was over the line but why wouldn't I LOL.
Town were looking really sharp and well on top with Nolan & Downes pulling the strings in Midfield, we even had our Two CB's making runs into the box, Garbutt & Donacien were looking solid as Full backs the the latter still looking much better than anything we have seen from him before. Blackpool were still a threat on the break and on Two or Three occasions looked to race clear but Town's defence stood firm, Jackosn again had an effort on target but it was easy pickings for Alnwick in the Blackpool goal. Town came so close to winning it in stoppage time and it would have been a repeat of Lincoln as judge clevelry flicked on Nolan's pass to see the ball palmed away from just inside the post by Alnwick.
It really was an enjoyable game, frustrating to only draw but a decent enough performance from the Boys in Blue, today's results make Tuesday's game very important as Wycombe now have a Five point lead so we need to cut it to Two. Blackpool are no mugs and are near the top of the form table for a reason, if there is a negative for me then maybe it is going with only One up front but in fairness we did enough to nick the points, Two big decisions went Blackpool's way and that is how it goes at times, I was pretty pleased with what I saw today.
Norris....(7) Two good saves at key times, no chance with the goals.
Donacien...(8) Probably his best display in a Blue shirt, good in defence, decent going forward and an assist of sorts. MOTM
Chambers...(7) Will no doubt get stick from the usual few but did little wrong and was apparently unlucky with the penalty decision.
Woolfenden....(7) Another assured showing, defended well and came close at the other end with Two headers.
Garbutt....(7) Some really good defending in the first half, blocking several attempted crosses, took his penalty with aplomb.
Edwards....(6) Was on hand to score but frustrates the hell out of me, beats his man and then is intent on beating him twice more instead of crossing.
Nolan,,,,(8) Super game from Nolo, got better and better as the game wore on,. drove us forward and tracked back in a super second half for him.
Skuse....(6) Took another couple of heavy knocks but battled manfully as you would expect.
Downes...(7) Does he fail to impress these days ? Another combative and impressive showing.
Rowe....(6) A couple of good crosses in the first half but was slow to react on a few occasions, faded a bit after the break.
Jackson....(6) Never fails to work his socks off and played the lone striker role as best he could, was involved in our first and so close to a goal after the break which looked close to being over the line.
Georgiou....(5) Came on but failed to add the spark required
Keane....(4) Did he actually touch it ???
Judge...(6) Got involved and was so close to being the hero again, starting to look more like the Judge of old.