Michael Appleton believes his Blackpool team should have won a thrilling Lancashire derby after they stormed back from two goals down to draw 3-3 with Burnley at Turf Moor, where both teams had a man sent off.
The Seasiders looked to be heading to defeat after Josh Brownhill’s strike and a well-taken double by Southampton loanee Nathan Tella – on his first start – gave dominant Burnley a deserved 3-1 advantage at the break.
Theo Corbeanu had given Blackpool hope by pulling one back against the run of play in the 20th minute but they were a different team in the second half, when close-range finishes by Shayne Lavery and Jerry Yates in the 74th and 76th minutes brought them level.
An incident-packed game boiled over when Sonny Carey was sent off by referee Keith Stroud for a late tackle on Ian Maatsen, who also saw red for his angry reaction when he pushed the Blackpool player in the back sparking a melee.
Appleton said: “I think we should have won – there is no doubt about that. I’d be surprised if even the most ardent Burnley fan would disagree with that.
“We were poor in the first 10 minutes and that is something we need to address but once we had dusted ourselves down, the way we responded was a real credit to the players and made me proud.
“We could have won three or four games with the amount of chances we created – good chances as well, not half-chances. And there’s a bit of frustration in the dressing room among the players because they knew they had them on the ropes.”
Appleton had sympathy for Carey – who had only been on the pitch for 10 minutes – over his dismissal.
“I could see what Sonny is trying to do – he is trying to stop the momentum of the counter-attack,” he said. “It probably sounded worse than it was.
“I was just joking in the dressing room that I’ve never seen Sonny make a tackle in the 10 weeks I’ve been here – whether it be in training or a game! He’s not that type of lad. He is not cynical in any shape or form.
“So it was one of them it could have gone either way. I suppose the reaction of their player helped us a little because it could have been 11 v 10.”
Burnley’s Taylor Harwood-Bellis, on loan from Manchester City, showed his class with the passes that led to Brownhill’s 20-yard screamer in the third minute and Tella’s first after 11 minutes.
The home side gifted Blackpool their first when goalkeeper Ari Muric played an ill-advised ball to Josh Cullen on the edge of the penalty area and he was dispossessed by Corbeanu who finished.
Tella restored Burnley’s two-goal advantage after capitalising on Jordan Gabriel’s stumble to cut inside Marvin Ekpiteta and curl a shot into the top corner – with the aid of a slight deflection off the Blackpool defender.
But Blackpool were transformed in the second half when Lavery and Yates sparked wild scenes of jubilation among their vociferous travelling support before the dismissals cranked up the tension.
It was Burnley’s third successive home draw and manager Vincent Kompany questioned their game management.
He said: “The first half was terrific but we lost our way in the second half. We were just a little bit overwhelmed by our own doing. It was in line with our previous performances this season but this time we’ve had the magic of goals.
“Introducing Tella went well and he will get more goals this season. But then not everything went to plan and we’ve got to learn lessons.
“I’ve got to say that when we went down to 10 men we got more momentum. It was a shame because he’s an important player for us.
“I will talk to him but we must remember he got booted off the pitch – it was a shin-high tackle. You are allowed a reaction but when you start putting your hands on someone you’re in trouble.
“What Ian did was not dangerous – it was just an error from a young player.”
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