A solid defensive display saw Blackpool earn another clean sheet on their way to a second consecutive goalless draw, this time against Bristol City.
New loan signing Gary MacKenzie produced a stellar performance on his debut for The Seasiders as Paul Ince’s men were forced to settle for a point in a fiercely contested encounter.
The game started brightly for the home side who looked to attack immediately with Alex Baptiste down the right wing. The captain galloped down towards the byline and unleashed a low cross that fizzed into the area, but Matt Phillips couldn’t control the ball and it trickled out for a goal kick.
Blackpool dominated possession during the early exchanges in the middle of the park, despite the absence of Chris Basham through injury.
, Neal Eardley and Angel Martinez were commanding the midfield with authority, often pinging clever balls beyond the Bristol City back line for Ince, Derbyshire and Phillips to run onto. One such through ball looked to have played in the Scotland international, but he was judged to be offside by the linesman.
The 21-year-old almost got another sight of goal when Angel’s floated pass saw Phillips win his battle in the air with Robins’ defender Brendan Moloney and skip towards goal.
The former Wycombe winger put in a low cross but once again, none of the Blackpool attackers could retrieve the ball and the away side cleared.
Meanwhile, Bristol City finally made their first imprint on the match in the 17th minute when Paul Anderson’s deft cross found John Stead in the area.
The former Blackburn forward twisted and turned before volleying the ball just wide of Matt Gilks’ goal, into the side netting.
The away side also had the next meaningful effort chance around ten minutes later, when a long ball from midfield fell to the head of John Stead once more. The lofty striker saw Gilks edging out of his goal mouth and attempted a looping header, but the ‘keeper wasn’t fooled and stood his ground to catch the ball with ease.
Deep balls from defence became a common occurrence with the pace of both sets of forwards still threatening to break the offside trap.
However, the Robins were also looking to threaten on the counter attack and almost got their reward when Steven Davies stole the ball from Alex Baptiste and played Paul Anderson into space down the right.
The 24-year-old caught the ball in his stride and rocketed a shot from just outside the area, but his effort failed to dip in time and went over the crossbar.
Blackpool then replied with a long range shot of their own when Ince danced his way around the Robins defenders to the edge of the area and fired a low shot towards the bottom right hand corner. Tom Heaton was equal to the effort though, diving acrobatically to save, and the sides went into half time goalless.
HALF TIME: BLACKPOOL 0-0 BRISTOL CITY
The second half started where the first had left off. Neither side could stamp their authority in what was a scrappy opening ten minutes. Baptiste and Eardley had combined well down the right for the home side, but the latter’s cross was too high for any of the onrushing Blackpool attackers.
Meanwhile, Bristol’s Greg Cunningham produced the first effort on goal of the second period having picked up the ball just outside the area following some persistent pressure down the left from the away side, but his shot went way wide of Gilks’ goal.
The Robins also earned the first booking of the game after Stephen Pearson had his name taken for a clumsy challenge on Eardley on the half way line.
The visitors then threatened again when Steven Davies was found unmarked in the area with a perfectly floated cross, his header was straight at the Tangerine’s ‘keeper though.
Blackpool then reacted with an attacking flurry as Ince and Martinez both went close with dangerous strikes. The England Under-21 international picked up the ball on the right hand edge of the box and skipped past numerous Robins’ defenders before firing a shot towards the net. City did well to block the effort which bounced out to Martinez who’s skilful half-volley rolled just wide.
There was controversy in the 65th minute when the visitors thought they had taken the lead. Gilks got down to parry a low struck shot into the path of Davies who headed neatly into an empty net and wheeled away in celebration. The linesman’s flag was up though, much to the dismay of the 25-year-old and the travelling fans.
Paul Ince’s men responded once more, as Baptiste strode into the Bristol City area before unleashing a powerful shot-come-cross which was just beyond the outstretched leg of substitute Nathan Delfouneso and Tom Heaton’s post. The home side then came close again on the 70th minute when Tom Ince’s corner found Matt Derbyshire whose headed effort produced a fantastic save from the visiting goalkeeper.
Neither side could conjure up any meaningful opportunities in the closing minutes as Blackpool had to settle for their second consecutive home draw under new boss Paul Ince.
FULL TIME: BLACKPOOL 0-0 BRISTOL CITY