Vociferously vented protestations outside Bloomfield Road spoke volumes of the unrest and separation at Blackpool Football Club.
While a handful of Tangerines ignored the politics and opposition to the Oyston’s reign to take in the pre-season friendly with the Clarets, the majority angrily aired their frustrations outside the stadium.
The Seasiders’ plight is an unenviable one. The disharmony at boardroom level shows no sign of resolution, while the squad’s limitations on-field are just as desperate. Manager Jose Riga is expected to somehow assemble a team to compete in the Championship while the rig-moral ensues.
Two trialists began the fixture against Burnley, though six additions in four days made the team-sheet look remarkably more respectable. Peter Clarke, Jacob Mellis, Tomasz Cywka, former Clarets loanee Nathan Delfouneso, and West Brom loanee Donervon Daniels all started, though Costa Rican international Jose Miguel Cubero, who featured in the World Cup in Brazil, was unavailable for selection.
The occasion itself was the antithesis of that on Good Friday where Michael Kightly’s delightful finish edged Sean Dyche’s side closer to promotion. That fate was ultimately delayed as Derby County beat Doncaster Rovers in the evening kick-off at the Keepmoat Stadium.
This outing certainly put things in to perspective. It was a measure of how two clubs - just 43 miles apart - had endured significantly contrasting fortunes since respective relegations from the Premier League. Where one has perished, the other has rebuilt and returned to England’s top tier.
Unfortunately, as is often the case, a collection of fans over-evaluated that gulf, were too expectant, and were resultantly too critical of a performance in an exhibition match where bolstering fitness and preparation is pivotal - not results.
Yes, not even the imagination could decorate the fixture. But it was another good workout ahead of the opening day of the campaign that looms.
The energy and press of the Clarets was immediately noticeable once more, and it was that pressure and intensity that led to the opening chance when Dean Marney struck the bar once Marvin Sordell dispossessed the opposition’s trialist full-back.
The hosts rarely threatened and even when Andrea Orlandi’s pass penetrated Burnley’s rearguard, Delfouneso was adjudged to be offside as Alex Cisak saved at the striker’s feet.
Midway inside the first half Marvin Sordell’s fizzing strike whistled past the upright after Ashley Barnes battled for the ball with defender Peter Clarke. As the half-hour mark approached Tony McMahon bent a free-kick over the bar after Ross Wallace felled Delfouneso, before Marney’s low cross evaded the boot of Sordell by inches as the striker stretched at the far post.
And, just before the interval, Barnes dragged a shot wide from deep inside the penalty area.
After the break, Blackpool couldn’t cope with the crispness of the away side’s passing and movement accompanied with a potent and relentless press. The bulk of possession was Burnley’s, though creativity was lacking on occasion.
Sordell’s inswinging centre crept beside Clarke, who had stunted Barnes’s run, but the goalkeeper had to be alert and plunged to his right to save. Moments later Ross Wallace skipped past David Perkins - after latching on to Clarke’s unconvincing pass - and forced the keeper to turn around the post with his fingertips.
Scott Arfield then saw his effort turned over the bar from the angle of the box, but in the 69th minute the Clarets found the breakthrough. Kieran Trippier’s diagonal cross was cushioned back in to the box by Danny Lafferty and, once Marney swung a boot, Sordell swiped the ball in to the corner from the penalty spot - his third goal since joining the club last month.
The remainder of the clash was routine as the Clarets saw it out in a professional and commanding manner.
Burnley team: Cisak (Gilks H/T); Reid (Trippier 65), Long, Shackell (Duff H/T), Lafferty (O’Neill 73), Wallace (Gilchrist 82), Marney (Hewitt 73), Jones (Mee 61), Taylor (Arfield H/T); Sordell (Jutkiewicz 73), Barnes (Ings 65). Unused subs: Anderson.