PRESS VIEW: Fleetwood 0 Blackpool 0
When Fleetwood Town have needed a hero there is one man who has always been there to answer the call since 2003 and he was there once again to fan the flames on derby day.
14 years and 478 games later club skipper Nathan Pond was on hand to put in a monumental shift and ensure local rivals Blackpool left Highbury with just a point as he lead the line to shut the Seasiders out.
It is safe to say there were more fireworks off the pitch than on it with flares flaming from both sets of fans and fireworks.
But while the fireworks went on off the pitch it was a defensive masterclass from the returning Pond that will live on in the memory of this, just the fourth ever competitive Fylde coast derby.
The clash means more than most to Pond, a man who has been promoted six times with Town, being there every step of the way at Town’s meteoric rise up the leagues coincided with the misfortunes down the coast at Bloomfield Road.
The proud Prestonian is Mr Fleetwood Town and is the only player to have featured in every Fylde coast derby and it was apt that he picked up the man of the match award to erase those memories of an own goal in the clash at Blackpool in 2015.
He might be the wrong side of 30 but Pond proved he has still got it as he was the man Rosler tasked with leading the way to help Town bounce back from a 4-2 defeat at Walsall in midweek.
In recent weeks he has had to sit patiently on the bench watching on, and for a man nearing 500 appearances for Town, that would not have been an easy ask.
But as ever the total club man Pond has watched on and captained from the sidelines.
But given the chance to start once again he grabbed it with both hands and gave a gritty performance that proved he is far from ready to pass the baton on to his young crop.
He used all his experience to out-muscle and out think Blackpool danger man Kyle Vassell.
Rosler had made five changes to that side that lost at Walsall with Pond back from injury, central midfielder George Glendon, the kid from Squires Gate Jack Sowerby, striker Devante Cole and forward turned wing wizard Wes Burns back in to deputise for Lewie Coyle who had served his three-match ban for a red card at Chorley but was not allowed to play due to a cast on his broken hand.
The swirling sea winds had put paid to any chances of the fine footballing clash we had been anticipating with it all a bit hoof and hope from Town.
That forced ex-Fleetwood man and Blackpool’s midfield maestro Jimmy Ryan forced to dance around deep in his own half as Town succeeded in pressing the Seasiders.
While both sets of fans rocked the terraces the liveliness off the pitch could not translate on to it in a game of few chances.
In reflection Ash Eastham would have hoped to have done better after watching back his header from Glendon’s corner as he nodded way off target although Kelvin Mellor looked to have leapt with his hand to put the defender off.
While Fleetwood toiled in attack as the Seasiders cut off their counter-attacking strengths Blackpool should have taken the lead in the 41st minute.
Vassell’s ball cut through Fleetwood’s defence like a hot knife through butter to send Sean Longstaff one on one but Alex Cairns was up to the task and batted his effort away.
Town succeeded in stopping ex-player Ryan, who was booed by sections of the Cod Army on his first return to Highbury after his summer exit, and Jay Spearing dictating the Seasiders’ forward play and it looked like Town would be the one to win it – especially after Bowyer had brought off danger man Vassell for the closing exchanges.
Burns has been reborn as a wing-back and looked the biggest threat for Town with some probing right-wing runs though, like in his man of the match stint in the 0-0 draw with Doncaster, there was no-one to get on the end of his efforts.
His last gasp strike just fizzed past the left post and evading the run of Cole.
Amari’i Bell blasted a Glendon short corner over from the edge of the box to prove that lightning does not strike twice as he tried to build on a midweek screamer at Walsall.
But all in all it was a dreary derby day with Town’s lack of invention and impetus up top now becoming a real worry.
Though with Coyle expected back from injury allowing Burns to move back up top and forward Conor McAleny anticipated to return to the grass it can be hoped that a return to firepower will be seen in the next league game at Wigan on December 9.
Because one thing is for certain, despite their toil, grit and a return to a blank blueprint not one shot on target, at home, on derby day, is just not good enough.