Blackpool beat Wigan in Stephen Dobbie’s first home game to keep faint survival hopes alive

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Jerry Yates’ early strike handed Stephen Dobbie his first win as Blackpool’s interim boss while keeping alive the Seasiders’ faint survival chances.
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The striker returned from injury to score the only goal of the game after just two minutes in this bottom-of-the-table clash.

While the Seasiders remain second bottom, the gap to safety now stands at four points with four games to go - with another home game against West Brom on the horizon on Tuesday night.

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While this was far from a sterling display from Dobbie’s men, they were largely comfortable against a poor Wigan side that - despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession - never really threatened the Blackpool goal.

The hosts could have offered more themselves going forwards, but at this stage of the season it’s all about results and after four straight defeats, Blackpool will be more than delighted to return to winning ways.

They also did so by keeping a vital clean sheet that ends a run of 13 goals conceded in just four games.

Blackpool were handed a major boost ahead of the game with the news that Jerry Yates was passed fit to play.

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Jerry Yates marked his return from injury with his 13th goal of the campaignJerry Yates marked his return from injury with his 13th goal of the campaign
Jerry Yates marked his return from injury with his 13th goal of the campaign

The club’s top goalscorer was a major fitness doubt after missing both games over the Easter period with a hamstring injury.

But after passing a late fitness test, the striker was ruled fit and returned straight to the starting line-up.

Yates was one of three changes to the side that lost 3-1 to Luton Town in Dobbie’s first game in the dugout on Easter Monday.

Dan Grimshaw also made his long-awaited return to replace Chris Maxwell in goal to make his first appearance since December 29, 2022.

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Ian Poveda is the third and final change as part of a hugely attacking team selection.

Maxwell, Sonny Carey and CJ Hamilton are the three to drop down to the bench.

Youngster Brad Holmes, who has been in scoring form for Blackpool’s development squad, is also named among the substitutes.

Luke Garbutt, Dom Thompson and Kenny Dougall all miss out, while Marvin Ekpiteta, Charlie Goode, Liam Bridcutt, Kevin Stewart, Tom Trybull, Shayne Lavery, Jake Beesley and Gary Madine remain sidelined through injury.

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As for Wigan, they made three changes to the side that lost to Swansea City on Easter Monday as Omar Rekik, Thelo Aasgaard and Will Keane all coming into the starting XI.

Blackpool have been guilty of not capitalising on bright starts in recent weeks but they certainly couldn’t be accused of that on this occasion.

Only two minutes were on the clock when the returning Yates fired Blackpool ahead with a clinical finish across the keeper and into the back of the net in off the inside of the post.

Keshi Anderson deserves huge credit for his play in the build-up as well before having the presence of mind to play a perfectly weighted through-ball to the striker.

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The game instantly cooled down after Blackpool’s lightning fast start, with Dobbie’s men happy to sit back in their structure and frustrate the visitors, whose fans in the East Stand were becoming increasingly frustrated.

Josh Bowler squandered a good chance to test goalkeeper Ben Amos when he latched onto Yates’ lovely flick-on only to blaze well over the Wigan bar.

Wigan, meanwhile, continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession but lacked any sort of a goal threat, albeit Jordan Thorniley was required to make a vital block to deny Thelo Aasgaard just before the half-hour mark.

The Wigan fans were jeering their own players only a few minutes later when Yates charged down Jack Whatmough as the visitors attempted to play out from the back. The block almost deceived Amos, arrowing just wide of his upright.

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We nearly saw a repeat of Easter Monday’s defeat to Luton when Wigan came close to levelling in first-half stoppage-time when Grimshaw failed to deal with an awkward ball into the box.

It resulted in the ball bobbling around the six-yard box for a spot on pinball, but fortunately the Seasiders were able to scramble behind.

Replays showed Curtis Nelson clearly handled the ball as the cross came in but thankfully for Blackpool it went completely unnoticed by the referee, who didn’t have a clear view.

After emerging unchanged for the start of the second-half, Morgan Rogers laid on a clever lofted ball for Bowler whose first-time volley was straight at Amos in the Wigan goal.

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Wigan responded with a chance for Aasgaard, who scuffed an effort straight at Grimshaw after failing to make a clean contact with a cross in from the right.

Blackpool were dealt a blow on the hour mark when James Husband was forced off with a nasty-looking head injury following a coming together with teammate Curtis Nelson.

A stretcher was brought onto the field but thankfully he was able to walk off alongside the physio team.

The second-half was largely a stop-start affair, with neither side able to muster any sort of sustained pressure in the final third.

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Blackpool were given more medical concerns when Poveda was forced to hobble off to be replaced by CJ Hamilton having previously required attention from the physios earlier in the half.

While Wigan showed a bit more intent during the final stages, Blackpool were still doing a good job at keeping them at arm’s length.

A James McClean free-kick provided a headed opportunity for Ashley Fletcher but he nodded harmlessly wide at the back post.

McClean also wasted a big chance when he could only prod wide into the side-netting from a teasing ball in from the right.

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The Seasiders otherwise saw out the remaining minutes well, even with nine minutes of stoppage time being added on, to hold on for an uneventful but crucial three points at Bloomfield Road.


Blackpool: Grimshaw, Lyons, Nelson, Thorniley, Husband (Gabriel), Fiorini, Anderson, Bowler (Hamilton), Poveda (Patino), Rogers (Carey), Yates

Subs not used: Maxwell, Connolly, Holmes

Wigan: Wigan: Amos, Nyambe, Hughes, Whatmough (Fletcher), Rekik (Pearce), McClean, Power, Naylor (Tiehi), Aasgaard, Keane (Magennis), Lang

Subs not used: Jones, Darikwa, Caulker

Referee: Thomas Bramall

Attendance: 12,027