Swirling wind, an awful pitch which had more sand than Brighton beach; James Coppinger and Herbie Kane on the bench and John Marquis suspended – the omens were not good.
Add to that the fact that Blackpool supporters have started to attend matches again and created a boisterous atmosphere, which seemed to lift even their most modest players to new heights, and a draw looks like a decent result.
Rovers sacrificed their sometimes unnerving habit of playing the ball out from the back, instead hoofing the ball forward in an uncharacteristic, but often productive way. Tommy Rowe reminded us what a good player he can be, and it was fitting that he scored a deserved equaliser after Blackpool had taken the lead following a bombardment of Rovers’ goal. The introduction of James Coppinger a few minutes earlier had suddenly calmed Rovers’ frenetic efforts, and it was his measured pass which placed the ball perfectly for Rowe’s shot.
Rovers almost snatched a last second winner from Ali Crawford’s free kick, which followed a crude tackle on Mallik Wilks from a desperate Blackpool defender. This produced the only booking of a match littered with fouls, most of which lacked malice and owed more to players losing track of the ball in the wind than to gamesmanship.
The match won’t live long in the memory, unlike the Herman’s Hermits song which the Tangerine Army sang throughout. Surely, no Rovers fan could begrudge them their joy at seeing the back of a dodgy owner.
by Dave Waugh