Stoke continued their run of indifferent form against The Seasiders,yet still managed to stay on top of the table as Bristol City slipped to defeat at Cardiff.
Stoke's performance was once again a reflection of a mixture of adverse circumstances.The weather,swirling wind (though less so than against Burnley) plus snow flurries,played its part in making accurate football difficult, the team lost its real attacking cutting edge with the absence through suspension of Fuller and Lawrence at the same time,and injuries during the match ( Diao early on to a hamstring problem, and Cort in the second half to a calf muscle strain) caused upset in various already new pairings both in attack and defence.
Early exchanges were even but Blackpool took the lead on 37 minutes.Cort got no real distance on his headed clearance of a right wing cross.The ball was brought down,played to Burgess,whose shot looked a comfortable save for Nash,but was deflected past the keeper and into the net by Cort.Stoke's play was somewhat disjointed and they did not really look like getting a goal back as the half closed.
A positive start to the second half with pressure brought to bear on the Blackpool goal.A left side corner from Gallagher was headed back into a ruck of players by Burgess.Cort (second from right) reacted to put the ball into the net off a Blackpool defender (47 mins).
Stoke tried really hard as the game progressed but all they had to show for it was a clearance off the Blackpool goal line .
Again on the balance of play a match Stoke could have won but didn’t! To their credit Blackpool themselves could have come away with something more than the one point .
Although they remain top Stoke will need to recapture some real form if they are not to end up in the play off pack. Hull certainly look to be a real threat at the moment and with the momentum to overhaul the Potters.A win at Sheffield Wednesday next week is imperative,but will not be easy as the home side battle to escape the relegation places.
When he came on Bothroyd showed some neat touches. One of his crosses from the right deserved a goal finish, and a long range shot brought a good save from the visiting keeper.
Still looking on the bright side, still hanging in there…and who knows WHERE WE’LL END UP? Six games to go….