Blackpool were held to a 1-1 draw with Colchester United as Jamille Matt’s early goal was cancelled out by Kurtis Guthrie at Bloomfield Road.
Matt’s goal came after fine play by debutant Jordan Flores and Nathan Delfouneso, leaving the Jamaican with an easy tap-in.
The equaliser was against the run of play, as a set-piece undid Blackpool’s resolve with left Guthrie to level the score.
Brad Potts, Colin Daniel and Delfouneso all went close for Pool as they pushed for a winner but unfortunately they came unstuck against The U’s.
Gary Bowyer handed two debuts in the middle of the park for Blackpool with Flores and the returning Neil Danns in his second spell at the club.
It wasn’t long before the new signings made an impression on the game. With just over ten minutes gone, the young, on loan Wigan midfielder, Flores, neatly found himself space in the midfield, before spraying a cross-field pass over to Delfouneso. The striker, also making his first Pool start under Bowyer, whipped an inviting cross behind the Colchester defence, leaving strike partner Matt to prod home easily from two yards.
Five minutes later, however, The U’s pulled a goal back. The goal came from a set-piece caused by a fine fingertip save from Sam Slocombe, denying Matt Briggs’ thunderous effort from 20 yards. The resulting corner led to a scramble in the Blackpool box before Guthrie hit home after finding space.
The Seasiders responded through Potts, who twice went close to putting Pool back in the lead. First, a deflected shot which had the visiting goalkeeper Sam Walker scrambling across his goal but unfortunately trickled wide of the post. Then, McAlister, filling in for the suspended Kelvin Mellor at right wing-back, drilled a cross hard into the area but Potts’ best efforts to divert it on goal were just off, volleying over the bar.
Blackpool’s number eight continued to go close shortly before the break, again he fired over with his left foot, this time just inches over the bar after being slipped through.
The Pool defence had a nervy last few seconds of the first half, though, as Elokobi forced a super save from Slocombe from close range from another set-piece, then U’s captain Porter followed in to hit the crossbar as Blackpool just held on before the break.
Half-time score: Blackpool 1 Colchester United 1
Bowyer’s side started much as they did in the first – on the front foot. Just minutes into the half, some fine footwork from Flores was followed by a left foot cross into the opposition area, where a first-time volley from Delfouneso fired just off target.
The returning Colin Daniel was introduced for the injured Potts, and he was the next Blackpool striker to go close. After bullying his way through into the area, a wild left-footed effort fizzed across Walker’s goal, as The Tangerines continued to press to regain the lead.
Again Daniel was causing havoc on the opposition defence, skipping past two defenders and forcing a corner. The ball was whipped in by Flores and met cleanly by Tom Aldred but again Pool just failed to hit the target.
The game was to end on a sour note as Colchester debutant Sean Murray flew in with a wild challenge on McAlister and immediately saw red from the referee Sebastian Stockbridge. Blackpool’s Scottish midfielder was subsequently stretchered off as a result.
Full-time result: Blackpool 1 Colchester United 1
By Peter McCarthy