Good Friday League One: Can Scunthorpe Battle To Victory?5 min read
When it was announced that the Oyston regime at Blackpool was finally over, hordes of locals flooded back to Bloomfield Road for the 2-2 draw with Southend – and the mood around the club that day was lifted from apathy to jubilation.
That game would, one hoped, be the catalyst for fans to fall back in love with their football club, for the place to be re-energized and maybe even the team to launch a play-off push.
Alas, it has not quite happened like that.
The crowd dropped from 16k against Southend to 7k in the subsequent home game – a 1-1 draw with Doncaster – so we can presume that many of the 16k were merely there for the occasion and unlikely to become regulars.
On the field, the team has now won just one of their last seven league games, meaning they are now 11 points off the top six – and in last week’s 1-0 home loss to Peterborough, midfielder Matty Virtue-Thick was the only player who found the target.
"Difficult to play football, more like murderball."#Blackpool manager Terry McPhillips gives his take on their defeat to #Peterborough.#BlackpoolFC #BBCLancsSport #BBCFootball pic.twitter.com/fqpeGJac7R
— BBC Lancashire Sport (🏠 #StayHomeSaveLives) (@BBCLancsSport) April 13, 2019
So much of Blackpool’s chance creation is about Michael Nottingham’s long throws, Jay Spearing’s set pieces and crosses into the box.
It always looks like they have to work very hard to carve teams open because their style of play necessitates getting a lot of men forward.
Will Scunthorpe stay up?
Scunthorpe lost 3-0 at home to Burton on Saturday, a result that darkened the mood around Glanford Park.
Some fans are concerned by the injury to Tony McMahon, who has been their most creative player.
The Iron have only won one of their last 10 games and that 4-1 victory over Southend was essentially four second half goals, all of which came about due to McMahon’s high quality of deliveries – how will they cope without him?
The one saving grace for caretaker gaffer Andy Dawson is that wide midfielder Adam Hammill showed moments of set piece capabilities against the Brewers, while midfielder Funso Ojo has creative potential too.
CB: Webster (bedeau?)
RM: El-Mhanni (does he still exist?)
CM: Sutton? (Or any other midfield)
FW: Hammill (or KVV/Thomas)
This on Friday please Scunny! #UTI
— Mark (@MarkkBru) April 14, 2019
Perhaps the more pressing matter is whether they can find enough pace and width in their side, especially with Tom Pearce struggling with a groin injury.
Their wide forwards have been strikers-by-trade – Jordan Hallam and Kyle Wootton – rather than natural wide men like Hakeeb Adelakun, who left for Bristol City in the summer.
Without that, Scunthorpe perhaps do not quite have the pace and width to create chances in a way that is not dependent on floating balls into the box from deep – and that possibly stems from issues with the club’s recruitment last summer.
Then again, Scunthorpe posted a positive Expected Goals Ratio (xGR) of 54.32ae8741f566ab7f58c50f0e39ac2a} over the four games before Burton – the 10th-best in the division.
Although their squad is far from perfect, they still have a lot of players who have either been working in English football’s top two divisions or near the top of League One for much of their careers.
If the Iron can find some fighting spirit in the last four games, which they will need to preserve their third-tier status, then maybe – at home to a team 11 points off the play-offs with four games to play – they can grind out a win.
Tip: Scunthorpe to win draw no bet
Read Gabriel’s Good Friday League Two preview.