Blackpool 0-3 Gillingham: Seasiders end League One campaign with abject home defeat

Blackpool ended their League One campaign with an abject 3-0 home defeat to Gillingham.

Saturday, 4th May 2019, 5:48 pm
Updated Saturday, 4th May 2019, 9:31 pm
It was a last game of the season to forget for the Seasiders

Blackpool ended their League One campaign with an abject 3-0 home defeat to Gillingham.

The Seasiders saved their worst 45 minutes of the season until the last day, the visitors running in three unanswered goals in the opening half.

Two of them came via Gillingham’s top scorer Tom Eaves after Brandon Hanlan had given them the lead inside the opening 10 minutes - but all three goals were far too easy and avoidable from Pool’s point of view.

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The Seasiders improved in the second half as they desperately attempted to haul themselves back into the game, but by then the damage had already been done.

The result sees Blackpool finish the season in 10th place, one point and one positive above neighbours Fleetwood Town.

Terry McPhillips opted to make two changes to his side from last weekend’s narrow defeat at promoted Barnsley.

He resisted the urge to give Jimmy Ryan his first appearance of the season, the midfielder starting the game on the bench alongside youth teamer Nathan Shaw.

Chris Long came into the side in place of Nya Kirby, who suffered a groin injury at Oakwell last week.

The second change saw Nick Anderton replace Michael Nottingham, which Marc Bola reverting to right back.

Mark Howard, Ollie Turton, Donervon Daniels and Max Clayton all remain sidelined with injuries.

After a slow start to proceedings, the away side took the lead after just seven minutes with the first real opportunity of the game.

It came from absolutely nothing, too, as Brandon Hanlan made and finished the move himself, ghosting past the flat-footed Curtis Tilt before calmly slotting beyond Christoffer Mafoumbi into the far corner.

Blackpool struggled to issue much of a response to going a goal down and, Long’s liveliness aside, never looked likely to create any clear-cut openings.

But, on 25 minutes, Armand Gnanduillet went closer to levelling matters when he saw his low shot cleared off the line.

It came after the striker skipped past a challenge to give himself a clear sight of goal and his effort did beat goalkeeper Tomas Holy, only for Barry Fuller to clear the danger at the last second.

They were made to rue that miss as, on the half-hour mark, the visitors doubled their lead in clinical fashion.

Tilt was again involved for the wrong reasons, his slip opening up space for Gillingham’s top scorer Tom Eaves to curl home into the far corner from the edge of the box.

Ten minutes later it went from bad to worse for the Seasiders as they allowed Gillingham to score a third in almost comically bad circumstances.

Harry Pritchard simply stood and watched as Bradley Garmston crossed for Eaves, who got in between the two centre backs to tap home his second of the day.

Unsurprisingly Pool rang the changes, making a double swap - Jimmy Ryan replacing Evans to make his long-awaited first appearance of the season.

Nathan Delfouneso was also brought into the fold to replace Long, as McPhillips searched for an unlikely route back into the game.

Five minutes into the second period the Seasiders came close to pulling one back when Jordan Thompson’s inswinging free kick was deflected just wide of the far post, with the goalkeeper stranded in no man’s land.

Marc Bola, now playing in his normal position of left back, came close with a fierce drive from the edge of the box that Holy did well to parry away from danger.

Pool’s general play was much improved but it was too little, too late, with Pritchard failing to get any contact on his close-range shot from Delfouneso’s cross.

Delfouneso appeared to have pulled one back for the Seasiders just after the hour-mark, poking a shot onto the goalline from a yard out after Pritchard’s shot had been fumbled by Holy.

There were appeals from the home supporters that the ball had crossed the line, but it ended up flicking off a defender and bouncing just wide of the post.

Pool had the ball in the back of the net from the subsequent corner when Pritchard headed home, only for it to be ruled out for offside.

Tilt was the next Pool to come close, seeing his header from Ryan’s corner pushed away from goal by Holy.

That proved to be Pool’s last chance of the day as they failed to find the back of the net once again as they slumped to a disappointing home defeat in their final action of the campaign.

TEAMS

Blackpool: Mafoumbi, Bola, Heneghan, Tilt, Anderton, Spearing, Pritchard, Thompson (Feeney), Evans (Ryan), Long (Delfouneso), Gnanduillet

Subs not used: Boney, Guy, Shaw, Dodoo

Gillingham: Holy, Da Silva (Parrett), Garmston, Ehmer, Hanlan, Charles-Cook, Fuller, Oldaker (Reilly), Bryne, Ogilvie, Eaves (List)

Subs not used: Hadler, Lacey, Campbell, Rees

Referee: Ollie Yates

Attendance: 9,571 (503 Gillingham)