An impressive Daniel Ballard debut earned him the Blackpool Man of the Match award on Tuesday, despite a narrow defeat to Charlton.
Tuesday’s Ballard debut for Blackpool came about in rather unconventional circumstances, with the defender initially starting on the bench.
After just two minutes, Blackpool centre-back James Husband picked up a red card for a professional foul as the last man. By the fourth minute, Ballard was on for midfielder Grant Ward. He then played 86 minutes as a substitute for a side with 10 men.
All the same, the Arsenal loanee did well. He made four clearances, three interceptions and one tackle, without being dribbled past once. He gave away just one foul and won Blackpool’s Man of the Match award.
Unfortunately, Charlton scored a late winner, even though they’d also gone down to 10 men after a second yellow to Ben Purrington. But it was still a positive start for Ballard on an individual level, particularly as Husband’s suspension opens up a spot next game.
“I really enjoyed it,” Ballard said. “This is why I’m here, I want to play and help the team to victories. I loved every minute, so hopefully, I can work hard and get many more opportunities.
“The whole team is really disappointed (with the result). We worked hard, especially in the first half with the sending off. We stuck together and got ourselves back into the game.
“It’s a tough defeat to take, but we’re working really hard and I’m sure we’ll bounce back and the results will come.”
After an impressive Ballard debut, he’ll only have to wait a few days for another opportunity, with Blackpool welcoming MK Dons on Saturday.
If the 21-year-old has another good game in Husband’s absence, it will be difficult to drop him even when the first-choice alternatives are all available.