Analysis: Take the point and run

Danny Wilson was spot on with two predictions in the run up to Tuesday night's game against Blackpool.

Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 11:19 am
Updated Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 12:21 pm
Chesterfield vs Blackpool - Jay O'Shea is congratulated on his goal by Lee Novak and Declan John - Pic By James Williamson

The Spireites boss said the form table would be redundant when it came to kick-off, and that his men would have to exercise patience.

Both statements proved to be true.

The Tangerines did not play like a side with just two wins away from home this season.

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In fact as the teams trooped off goalless at the interval, Chesterfield might have taken your hand off if you’d offered a point.

Blackpool, led by the impressive Brad Potts and the muscular Uche Ikpeazu, were desperately unlucky not to score.

Chesterfield’s Gboly Ariyibi, the hosts’ best outlet for the majority of the game, might have come close when he curled a beautiful shot onto the post.

But the visitors came even closer, striking the crossbar and the inside of the post twice.

Ikpeazu gave his markers a torrid time, refusing to budge off the ball, taking it to the byline and dragging defenders with him.

Blackpool may not have had many forays into the opposition half following the break, but when they did attack they looked potent.

Potts got a deserved goal, albeit against the run of play, and Ikpeazu would have put his name on the scoresheet had his first touch not been so poor when played through by Potts.

No one in the home midfield really got to grips with Potts, who put in a Man of the Match display.

And that in turn put pressure on Tom Anderson and Sam Hird – the centre-half pairing playing well enough, but looking exposed when Blackpool broke at speed.

Spireites weathered a storm late in the first half, then came out and dominated possession for most of the second.

And like Wilson predicted, they had to be patient.

Blackpool dealt well with everything thrown at them, save that wonder strike from Jay O’Shea.

It was only a moment of real quality that would have unlocked the visitors.

Lee Novak and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake were industrious but never got far from the attention of the back four.

Ariyibi backed himself every time he got the ball, and although one or two tricks didn’t work, he did put in some very inviting crosses that his team-mates didn’t get on the end of.

Wilson admitted there was a lack of cutting edge.

And at times, there was a lack of patience and guile – passes going astray that wasted possession, or too much time spent on the ball, allowing Blackpool to nip in and force a backwards pass or mistake.

The almost ineviable red card for David Ferguson, who had to take one for the team to halt Ariyibi, made it a frenetic finale.

But a share of the spoils was just about the right result, based on the first half chances created by the visitors, and the second half possession claimed by the hosts.

When you consider the wider context – four games unbeaten, four points from two games after a great win over a promotion contender, it’s not a bad result at all.

Wilson’s belief that the bottom teams will pick up form as the top teams wobble has proved the case, and is a warning Southend should heed ahead of this weekend’s fixture.

The return of Gary Liddle to the midfield will give the bite and cover that can protect the back four.

His presence may also inspire others to play at a higher tempo further up the pitch, and take the kind of risks that weren’t possible on Tuesday.

Chesterfield might not have been bang at it in midweek, but they’re not playing like a team fearing the drop, and as O’Shea’s wonderful goal showed, confidence is high.