Blackpool and manager Gary Bowyer kept the pressure on the top of the League Two table on Saturday, continuing their strong recent form with a 3-1 victory at Newport County. The Tangerines are now unbeaten in their last eight matches.
Blackpool Within Reach of Promotion Play-Off Places
Blackpool took the early advantage in the 16th minute, with forward Bright Osayi-Samuel scoring the first of his two goals on the afternoon. Mark Cullen doubled the lead from a penalty-kick in the second half (68’). The Exiles clawed one back soon after, but Osayi-Samuel secured all three points with a strike just before the final whistle.
The Seasiders now sit in eighth place, only one point back of Exeter City to reach the play-off positions.
Dips in form and consistency have marked much of the 2016-17 campaign, after an abysmal season last year in League One ended in relegation. Blackpool only earned three victories in their first 13 league fixtures, but would soon find the type of play that would help put them on the right track.
November and December brought an attacking spark, finding victories in five of the eight matches across the two months. Scoring goals in bunches became a common occurrence, with four-goal outings against Notts County and Newport County highlighting a sparkling period for the club.
2017 has been a struggles at times, with injuries and a quiet January transfer window contributing to Blackpool having difficulty earning maximum points. Bowyer’s side have drawn eight of their 15 league matches in the new year (5-8-2).
The Tangerines will look to build upon Saturday’s victory next weekend as they host Hartlepool United.
Striker Kyle Vassell suffered a broken foot last month, and there was certainly a concern that Blackpool would be unable to produce the same results in the final third while he works his way back onto the pitch. But it was Bright Osayi-Samuel who was able to provide the pressure and the key moments.
The youngster scored two excellent goals, and earned the penalty that Mark Cullen slotted home for the squad’s second.
With accurate passing out of the midfield and strong movement at the top of the line-up, Blackpool’s attack appears ready to lead the charge in the final weeks of the campaign.
Club owner Owen Oyston and chairman Karl Oyston have not been popular figures at Bloomfield Road, and it has caused a major rift amongst supporters.
Prior to the kick-off of a fourth-round FA Cup match at Blackburn Rovers, fans of both clubs, each unhappy with their club’s ownership situation, held a joint protest outside of Ewood Park.
While tensions continue to build as the season progresses, something both sides can clearly agree on is the team’s recent play.
The battle for promotion to League One has eight matches remaining, and Blackpool are fortunate to have the majority of fixtures at home.
The Seasiders will host five of their last eight League Two fixtures. Encounters with sides like Cheltenham Town and Leyton Orient, each flirting with relegation to the National League at the moment, should see the club earn positive results.
Blackpool’s 2010-11 season in the Premier League was unforgettable for many, as their open and attacking style brought much enjoyment for anyone who watched their matches. This decade has unfortunately seen a steady decline since that wonderful campaign.
But with eight important matches on the horizon, Blackpool can begin their climb back up to the top by continuing their magnificent run in League Two.