Blackpool collapse again to leave them on verge of relegation

Blackpool's Mark Cullen winces in pain as he pulls up with a hamstring injury
Blackpool's Mark Cullen winces in pain as he pulls up with a hamstring injury
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Blackpool’s League One future is hanging by a thread after another total collapse against Wigan.

Amid huge protests ahead of the game against the Oyston family from Pool’s supporters, Neil McDonald’s men rued missed chances in the opening 45 minutes.

Both Mark Cullen and Jack Redshaw fluffed great openings in front of goal, before a second half master-class saw Wigan promoted.

Once Chris McCann’s deflected effort found the net just after the hour mark it was game over, with two Yanic Wildshut goals and a late Will Grigg header settling the tie.

A point for Fleetwood in either of their remaining two games would see Blackpool relegated to League Two.

At the start of the game it was Wigan who looked bright, showing very few signs of nerves as they searched for a promotion winning point, taking just two minutes for their first glimpse of goal.

Former Pool loan man Jacob’s rattling the wall with a free-kick from a very dangerous position after Clark Robertson had fouled Will Grigg.

In the opening ten minutes Blackpool played their part, although the quality of the visitors always looked a threat.

And on ten minutes we saw the first on target effort of the game, when Jacobs found space to turn and shoot goal wards from 20 yards, Colin Doyle was a match.

Just a minute later though Blackpool had a flash of hope of their own, only for some quick thinking by Latics keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen to thwart the danger.

He rushed out to beat the ball away as Jack Redshaw snuck in behind Wigan’s back four.

For the next 15 minutes there was very little between the two sides, but then came as big a chance as Mark Cullen has had all season.

Some slack defending allowed the strike to run clear in on goal from the right-hand side, only to drag his effort across goal and wide.

It was the sort of chance you have to score in do-or-die games, or at least hit the target.

And it was the Seasiders who continued to put the pressure on as the half progressed, with another chance coming their way just after the half-hour mark.

This time it was Tom Aldred who rose to meet a Jim McAlister corner, only to head over from five yards.

I know McDonald always claims to be pleased with his team, but at this point he for once had genuine reason to be, Pool were on top and winning the battles.

What he won’t be happy with is the amount of very decent chances Pool were failing to make count, or even hit the target with.

The latest saw Redshaw with an almost open goal after a terrible mix-up between Perkins and Jaaskelinen allowed him in behind, only for the striker to fire over.

To be fair to Redshaw it was a very tight angle although a little more composure would have gone a long way.

At half-time you get the feeling Gary Caldwell will have had a few choice words to say to his players, and they started after the break well.

Just five minutes into the second half came their best chance of the game, as Will Grigg turned Robertson in the box, only for Doyle to be alert and beat the chance away.

Blackpool suffered a blow just moments later as Cullen pulled up with what looked like a torn hamstring as he chased a ball into the corner, it’s likely his season is over.

But after an hour of competing, battling and showing promise, Pool went behind.

A lofted ball towards the edge of the area wasn’t dealt with and instead fell to Chris McCann who blasted an effort into the top of the net from the area of the area.

The effort appeared to take a deflection off Aldred, but it was a very decent strike from the Irish winger.

It left Wigan on the verge of promotion, and Blackpool needing to find something, from somewhere and fast.

What didn’t help Pool was McDonald’s decision to take off Redshaw soon after. The forward had been their best player on the day, causing real problems in the hole.

McDonald’s baffling decision was booed by the home supporters.

And the atmosphere inside Bloomfield Road was about to get much more hostile, as McDonald’s side totally collapsed in all too similar style.

First substitute Yanic Wildshut was allowed the freedom of Blackpool to cut inside and lash past Doyle on 71 minutes, before the same player was allowed to do exactly the same just a moment later.

And things would get worse with just five minutes to go.

A Connor McAleny corner was headed on by Craig Morgan at the near post and as Pool’s players ball-watched Grigg responded to head home at the back post.

For Wigan it meant promotion, for Blackpool it could well mark the end of League One football.