Blackpool 2-2 Wycombe Wanderers: Harry Pritchard nets late penalty to rescue point for the Seasiders

Harry Pritchard celebrates after dispatching his late penalty
Harry Pritchard celebrates after dispatching his late penalty
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A Harry Pritchard penalty five minutes from time rescued a point for Blackpool against play-off rivals Wycombe Wanderers.

The Seasiders appeared to be heading for a disappointing defeat on home turf but they were given a late lifeline when debutant Nya Kirby was hauled down for a penalty, which substitute Pritchard dispatched with aplomb.

Wycombe had previously taken the lead on two occasions, Jason McCarthy restoring their lead after Ben Heneghan had cancelled out Adebayo Akinfenwa’s early header - all three goals coming via corners.

But Pritchard’s late spot kick, his first goal in 16 games, earned a point for Blackpool and extended their unbeaten run to four games.

Terry McPhillips opted to make two changes to the side from the weekend win at Coventry City.

In came Michael Nottingham for Donervon Daniels, who missed out for personal reasons, while Liam Feeney replaced Nick Anderton who dropped down to the bench.

Mark Howard, Callum Guy and Chris Long were still not fit enough to return and for the second game running, with Myles Boney also missing, there was no sub goalkeeper named on the bench.

Wycombe, who started the game one place and one point below Blackpool in the league table, had won their last three games on the spin.

Former Blackpool loanee Ryan Allsop started in goal for the visitors while another former Seasider, Marcus Bean, was named on the bench.

There were fears the game wouldn't go ahead following heavy rainfall, but the pitch passed two inspections - at 4.30pm and 5.30pm respectively.

Once the game did get underway, the Seasiders were dealt an early blow when captain Jay Spearing was forced to hobble off with a knee injury just six minutes in.

A second blow was dealt to McPhillips’ men shortly afterwards with the Chairboys taking the lead through their talisman Adebayo Akinfenwa.

The striker was unforgivably left unmarked from Joe Jacobson’s corner and the man nicknamed ‘the Beast’ made no mistake with his header from inside the six-yard box.

To Pool’s credit, they did react well and almost produced an instant response, Nathan Delfouneso firing a shot just past the post with Allsop stranded.

Wycombe looked a threat every time they worked the ball into the Blackpool box, and that’s the route they took on 24 minutes when they went close to adding a second as Alex Samuel flicked a near-post effort just past the post and into the side netting.

At the other end, Liam Feeney - who is still yet to score his first goal for Blackpool - came agonisingly close to levelling it up as he headed narrowly over the Wycombe bar from Delfouneso’s vicious cross which Allsop failed to claim.

With 10 minutes of the first half remaining, Pool almost conceded a comical own goal following a defensive mix-up between Ben Heneghan and Christoffer Mafoumbi, but fortunately the Seasiders were able to recover before Samuel could get a shot off at goal.

Despite the poor state of the pitch, Blackpool were still able to play some neat football in and around the Wycombe box but it was all in front of the visitors, who were able to keep Pool at arm’s length.

Shortly before the interval the Chairboys looked to pounce on a mistake from Curtis Tilt, but Nick Freeman could only shoot straight at Mafoumbi with his low, drilled effort.

In first-half stoppage time, space opened up for Nathan Delfouneso and he looked to pick out the top corner with a curling effort on his weak effort, but Allsop watched on as it flew a yard or two wide.

Just as they did against Coventry at the weekend, Blackpool scored at the very start of the second half as Ben Heneghan notched his first goal for the club.

It was a carbon copy of Wycombe’s opener, the centre back given the freedom to head beyond Allsop from Jordan Thompson’s corner.

Unfortunately for Pool they were level for just two minutes, Wycombe retaking the lead by taking advantage of some horrendous defending from the home side.

The Seasiders failed to deal with Joe Jacobson’s inswinging corner and, although it looked like the ball ended up in the back of the net without anyone getting a touch, Jason McCarthy claimed the goal was his.

With Pool looking to get back into the game for a second time, they turned to the bench where they brought on Elias Sorensen for his debut.

Pool were given a priceless chance to get a dangerous shot off at goal when they were awarded a free kick right on the edge of the area in a central position, but Armand Gnanduillet was unable to keep down his effort which he lifted just over the bar.

As the Seasiders continued to chase the game a second debutant was brought on, Nya Kirby given his first minutes for the club.

Jacobson, the creator of Wycombe’s two goals, came close to scoring himself as he curled a sublime free kick towards the top corner that narrowly missed the upright.

With just five minutes remaining, Blackpool were awarded a nailed-on penalty when Kirby was hauled down to the ground after some lovely footwork by the touchline.

With regular taker Spearing off the pitch, it fell to substitute Harry Pritchard to take the resulting spot kick and he made no mistake, smashing it into the back of the net off the underside of the crossbar.

That set up a grandstand finish, Paris Cowan-Hall almost giving Wycombe the lead for a third time as he whistled a low shot just past Mafoumbi’s post.

Blackpool almost won it a minute from time when Delfouneso diverted Gnanduillet’s powerful cross towards goal with a clever flick, but Allsop was there to make a stunning save to deny his former club.

TEAMS

Blackpool: Mafoumbi, Nottingham, Heneghan, Tilt, Bola, Turton, Spearing (Pritchard), Thompson (Kirby), Feeney (Sorensen), Delfouneso, Gnanduillet

Subs not used: Anderton, Taylor, Shaw, O'Sullivan

Wycombe: Allsop, Jombati, Jacobson, Gape, El-Abd, Cowan-Hall (Bolton), Thompson, Freeman (Tyson), Samuel, McCarthy, Akinfenwa (Bloomfield)

Subs not used: Yates, Stewart, Bean, Kashket

Referee: Martin Coy

Attendance: 2,388 (145 Wycombe)