WHEN it comes to 2015, on the pitch at least, life has been a beach for Leeds United.
But they got more than they bargained for on the Fylde coast on a simply atrocious playing surface with only a decent final half-hour saving face.
Blackpool may have been easy opponents throughout a desperate campaign and be destined for League One, but they cast aside thoughts about summer holidays to dig in and produce a spirited performance against away-day specialists Leeds.
It led to a deserved 44th-minute opener from Gary Madine, who headed in the rebound after Andrea Orlandi’s delicious free-kick hit the woodwork.
Blackpool, to their credit, did not look like a side who had lost their previous six matches, with Leeds struggling to get to grips with the awful pitch.
Thankfully for United, they improved after Mirco Antenucci and Steve Morison entered the fray on 54 minutes, with the former firing in his 10th goal of the season eight minutes later, restoring parity with a fine lob.
It followed up Antenucci’s late strike in the 3-0 win at Fulham on Wednesday with his cameo offering food for thought for head coach Neil Redfearn.
The closest effort to a winner came when Marco Silvestri impressively parried Michael Jacobs’s free-kick, and a late ‘goal’ from Giuseppe Bellusci was chalked off for an earlier foul.
But the big talking point afterwards remained the pitch.
Redfearn said: “I feel sorry for Blackpool. Like when we played at Wigan, it must be a nightmare for them.
“All it needs is a path across it and it’s then like a public park pitch.
“The game was entertaining without having any quality because people made mistakes. There were goalmouth incidents and what have you, but if you want to be serious about getting out of this division, you need a decent surface to play on.”
On his side’s improvement after his double subsitition, he added: “The substitutes made a difference and we got a little bit more of a focal point in Morro.
“But I felt a bit sorry for Billy (Sharp). That lone striker is a bit of a graveyard shift if you don’t get the quality in to them.
“But we looked better with Morro up there and Mirco started getting free and causing problems. The finish was a quality finish.
“What Mirco is doing is coming on and answering in the right way. He’s doing it with his performances and he’s going to play his way back into the team. That’s what you’re asking for.”
Blackpool: Lewis, Hall, Clarke, O’Dea, Dunne; Orlandi, Cubero, Addison, Perkins, Jacobs; Madine. Unused substitutes: Parish, Ferguson, Aldred, Oliver, Osayi-Samuel, Telford, Delfouneso.
Leeds United: Silvestri; Wootton, Bamba, Bellusci, Berardi; Murphy, Cook; Byram, Mowatt (Antenucci 54), C Taylor (Doukara 75); Sharp (Morison 54). Unused substitutes: Austin, Cani, Cooper, S Taylor.
Referee: S Duncan (Northumberland).
Man of the match: Lewis Cook.