Blackpool 2-0 Preston North End: Seasiders take the derby spoils after easing to comfortable victory

Blackpool took the derby spoils after beating Preston North End in the first meeting between the two sides in eight years.

Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 5:06 pm
Updated Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 6:50 pm

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Blackpool v Preston North End RECAP

Goals in either half from Keshi Anderson and Gary Madine secured a relatively routine victory against a powder-puff Preston side, who barely laid a glove on them.

The Seasiders never really hit top gear, but neither did they need to.

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Nevertheless, it’s yet another shot in the arm for Neil Critchley in mastermining Blackpool’s first win against Preston at Bloomfield Road in 24 years.

Amazingly, the win sees Pool move up to 11th and level points with the play-off spots, having won for the sixth time in their last nine games.

As he so often does, Critchley dropped another big surprise with his team selection with the dropping of Sonny Carey.

The midfielder, who was in inspired form on his first league start in Wednesday night’s comeback win against Reading, was replaced by Gary Madine, as the Seasiders reverted to 4-4-2.

Gary Madine scored his first goal in nine months after an injury-plagued year

Madine was one of two changes, as Josh Bowler came in for Demetri Mitchell after an impressive cameo off the bench in midweek.

Dujon Sterling returned from illness to take a spot on the bench, which saw Tyreece John-Jules drop out of the squad altogether.

Kevin Stewart remains sidelined with an ankle injury, joining Daniel Gretarsson (concussion), Reece James (foot), Matty Virtue (ACL), Grant Ward (achilles), CJ Hamilton (foot) and Shayne Lavery (hamstring).

PNE, meanwhile, named an unchanged side from their midweek win against Coventry City.

But Frankie McAvoy’s side, who began the day in 18th, three points adrift of the Seasiders, were boosted by the return of Sean Maguire to the bench.

With the ferocious Bloomfield Road atmosphere behind them, the Seasiders got off to a lightning fast start, Ryan Wintle and James Husband getting shots off at goal inside the opening two minutes.

The first shot on target of the afternoon came the way of the visitors though, as Dan Grimshaw collected Ben Whiteman’s effort from range at the second attempt after parrying the initial shot.

After a little spell of Preston pressure, the Seasiders squandered a big chance to take the lead after just 10 minutes.

It came after the ball broke for Josh Bowler on the wing, Bowler’s pullback deflecting into the path of Kenny Dougall who shot agonisingly wide on his weaker left foot.

Preston caused the Seasiders one or two problems from their first corner of the game, which ended with Alan Browne’s volley rocketing into the head of Husband.

Another half chance came Blackpool’s way, as in-form striker Jerry Yates fired across the face of the six-yard box after his initial effort was blocked.

In all honesty, the game had yet to really catch fire. It was a stodgy affair, with the two sides cancelling each other out a little bit.

Midway through the half, Marvin Ekpiteta was required to make a vital interception to deny Daniel Johnson, who was looking to run onto Emil Riis’ through-ball 10 yards out.

Just as the game appeared to be drifting a little, Bloomfield Road was brought to life in the 27th minute when the Seasiders edged their noses in front.

From Pool’s point of view, it was well-worked. From Preston’s perspective, it was soft.

It began with a high diagonal from right to left to James Husband, who did superbly to take the ball down before picking out Keshi Anderson on the edge of the box.

Anderson took it first-time, which seemed to surprise keeper Dan Iversen, the ball creeping past him and into the near corner.

In becoming the first Blackpool player to score against PNE in 12 years, Anderson sent Bloomfield Road into raptures as they celebrated their opener, taunting their rivals in the process.

The Seasiders had to survive a moment of danger when Richard Keogh clashed with Emil Riis, as the latter looked to run onto a long ball over the top. Preston thought Keogh fouled their man, but the referee waved play on.

At the other end, Keogh came close to doubling Pool’s lead four minutes before the interval, heading over from Josh Bowler’s right-wing cross.

The game suddenly sprung to life at the start of the second-half, with both sides exchanging great chances.

The first fell the way of Blackpool, who countered from a Preston corner. Bowler played in Anderson, who was denied by a superb tackle from Josh Earl.

The visitors countered themselves, enjoying a four-against-one at one point, putting the ball on a plate for Ben Whiteman who inexcusably fired wide. It was a big let-off for the Seasiders.

Blackpool were almost in for a second when Kenny Dougall picked out Bowler in acres of space, but the midfielder overhit his pass which bobbled through to the keeper.

The second-half was a bit of a damp squib, quite literally too as the rain fell down on the Bloomfield Road pitch.

Midway through the second-half, boos rang out from the home faithful as Blackpool-born Tom Barkhuizen emerged from the bench.

A minute later, Anderson fired over from a tight angle after being set up by workhorse Jerry Yates. It was more of a lofted effort from the winger, but Iversen never looked in too much trouble.

In such a tight, tense game as this, the second goal was always going to prove crucial.

On 68 minutes, it arrived and it came the way of Blackpool. It was a delightfully-worked goal, too, as Yates threaded the eye of a needle by picking out strike partner Gary Madine, who helped the ball on and picked out the bottom corner, scoring for the first time in nine months.

Absolute bedlam ensued.

The visitors turned to another former Seasider in a desperate bid to turn around the game, introducing Brad Potts to more boos.

Blackpool, meanwhile, made their first change with just over 10 minutes remaining, as Yates was given a deserved ovation as he was replaced by Sonny Carey.

Other than long throws, the visitors really struggled to produce much of a comeback, much to the frustration of the visiting supporters who made their feelings clear.

Pool were forced into making a second change seven minutes from time when Kenny Dougall was forced off having received treatment. Callum Connolly was the man to take his place.

PNE began to throw a bit of caution to the wind in dying stages, Sean Maguire firing wide after latching onto a Barkhuizen lay-off.

It was all a little too late for the visitors though and you never truly believed Preston thought they could get back in the game.

Critchley, meanwhile, helped wind down the clock by making his third and final change, replacing Bowler with Demetri Mitchell.

Things went from bad to worse for Preston when Alan Browne was sent off in the final minute of stoppage time, shown a second yellow card for his involvement in some fisticuffs between the two sets of players.

But the game belonged to Blackpool, who celebrated a richly deserved derby win in style.

TEAMS

Blackpool: Grimshaw, Gabriel, Keogh, Ekpiteta, Husband, Dougall (Connolly), Wintle, Bowler (Mitchell), Anderson, Yates (Carey), Madine

Subs not used: Moore, Sterling, Garbutt, Dale

Preston: Iversen, van den Berg, Earl (Maguire), Bauer, Storey, Hughes, Whiteman (Potts), Brown, Johnson (Barkhuizen), Sinclair, Riis

Subs not used: Rudd, Cunningham, Lindsay, Ledson

Referee: Tim Robinson

Attendance: 13,946

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