Three Things We Learnt From Cheltenham Town’s Surprise Victory Over Blackpool – Opinion

In what was one of many shocks in the midweek slate of games, Cheltenham fairly easily beat a somewhat underperforming Blackpool side.

The game would finish 2-0 to the hosts with an Elliot Bonds brace either side of the interval strengthening Cheltenham’s chances of survival this season. It was a huge three points for the Robins, with no other side in the bottom half winning on Tuesday night.

Although their position in the table may have not changed, their proximity to safety has, and they’re now just three points off of survival with two games in hand on 20th-placed Charlton Athletic. Having picked up just a single point prior to Darrell Clarke being appointed as manager, the squad has undergone an incredible transformation which has seen a change in fortunes as a result.

As for Blackpool the result comes as a huge blow to their play-off chances and they are now four games without a win in the league. Results did not go their way either with Leyton Orient’s late win against Northampton Town pushing the Tangerines down to ninth in the table.

To make matter worse, Oxford United who currently operate the final place in the play-offs, would beat Wigan Athletic 4-2 meaning that the gap between Blackpool and sixth place is now eight points.

With that in mind, here are three things that we learnt from Cheltenham Town’s 2-0 victory over Blackpool on Tuesday night…

Blackpool will not make the play-offs this season

After four games without a win, it seems as if Blackpool’s chances of making the play-offs have been well and truly derailed. They’ve struggled in recent weeks, especially without Jordan Rhodes and do look rather lost without their talisman.

Having lost to Stevenage and only managing a draw against Oxford United, the two teams directly above them, it looks highly unlikely that they’ll be able to gain any ground on their competitors. With Leyton Orient now above them as well, and in far better form, the job is only made harder. If not able to pick up all three points against Peterborough on Saturday, the Tangerines’ ambitions of promotion this season could be well and truly over.

There is an argument for Darrell Clarke being the League One manager of the season

That’s a statement that’s probably never been said about a club in the position of Cheltenham’s manager before but alas, the job that Clarke has done is nothing short of phenomenal.

Since taking the job, Clarke has picked up 28 points from the 20 games in which he has been in charge of. He has lifted the Robins off of the foot of the table to now within three points of safety and has implemented an attractive style of play in the process.

Although it is highly unlikely that Clarke does get the award, as it is normally given to a manager who has his side in the top-six, he has easily been the most impactful appointment of the season in the entirety of the EFL.

If Cheltenham can consistently replicate the performance, they will stay up

Although Blackpool may have not been at their best, it was a dominant performance from the Robins, who would have eight shots on target, with their opponents only having one. They ran out as fairly easy winners and deservedly so.

It’s now all about utilising both that performance as well as momentum going into the final third of the season. Compared to teams around them, Clarke’s side are in the best current form and have now picked up back to back wins.

On Saturday they welcome the visit of Port Vale in what is a six-pointer at the foot of the table. If able to replicate their performances from the last two games, they should be able to see off the challenge of their opponents and get even closer to safety in the process.

With games in hand over the majority of the sides above them and in better form than almost all of the bottom half, there is no reason as to why they can’t stay up this season.


About Ivan Newsome 364 Articles
Senior Editor

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