Blackpool suffer first defeat of the season during lacklustre display at Stoke City

Blackpool suffered their first defeat of the season in a 2-0 reversal at the hands of Stoke City.

Saturday, 6th August 2022, 4:52 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th August 2022, 9:55 pm

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Live updates from Blackpool's first away game of the season at Stoke City

Michael Appleton’s men produced a lacklustre display in their first away trip of the campaign and can have no complaints with the final results.

Goals in either half from Harry Clarke and Jacob Brown handed the away side a deserved win, but the margin of victory could have been even greater.

Matty Virtue battles with Stoke City's Lewis Baker

The Seasiders played Stoke far too much respect at times, especially during a drab first-half where they only invited pressure on themselves.

While the away side did improve slightly in the second period, it was nowhere near enough to get a result.

Defensively Blackpool were poor, with both goals coming via left-wing crosses. In attack, meanwhile, they were far too reliant on Josh Bowler to create anything of note.

Appleton kept faith with the same team that claimed an opening day win against Reading last weekend.

It meant debutant Charlie Patino had to settle for a spot on the bench, with Lewis Fiorini, Matty Virtue and Sonny Carey keeping their places in the side.

Chris Maxwell returned from a groin injury to reclaim his spot among the substitutes, replacing Stuart Moore, while Patino’s inclusion on the bench saw Beryly Lubala drop out.

Eight players remained sidelined through injury, with Luke Garbutt, Jordan Gabriel, James Husband, Richard Keogh, Doug Tharme, Kevin Stewart, Keshi Anderson and Jake Beesley all out.

Rather than get at Stoke in the opening stages, a tactic that proved effective last season, the Seasiders opted to sit off the home side and allow Michael O’Neill’s side to dominate possession.

Blackpool gave the Potters far too much respect though, only inviting pressure as a result.

Dangerman Dwight Gayle produced the first shot on goal of the afternoon, drilling a powerful low effort straight at Dan Grimshaw who collected at the second attempt.

Blackpool were dealt an early blow when Gary Madine was forced to trudge off the pitch after going down injured.

The striker, who was replaced by Theo Corbeanu, didn’t appear happy at all as he walked off, exchanging more than a few words with Appleton before eventually shaking hands in the dugout.

Things almost went from bad to worse a minute later when Josh Laurent smacked a long-range effort against the crossbar, resulting in a mad scramble which the Seasiders somehow survived.

The visitors finally threatened and it wasn’t a huge surprise to see Josh Bowler was involved in the thick of it.

The winger, who netted Pool’s late winner at the bet365 last season, cut inside from the right before unleashing a curling shot which deflected into the path of Sonny Carey.

The midfielder opted to lash a volley across the face of goal, flying inches away from Jerry Yates in the six-yard box.

Stoke were still the side on top though and deservedly edged ahead just after the half-hour mark.

It was a soft goal to concede from Blackpool’s point of view, as Josh Tymon was allowed far too much time to deliver a cross from the left which Harry Clarke headed home unopposed at the back post.

The Seasiders continued to sit off the home side, resulting in Stoke delivering cross after cross into their box.

Another of these deliveries resulted in the ball dropping to Jacob Brown, with his snapshot bringing another good save out of Grimshaw.

After a lacklustre opening period, it was no surprise to see Appleton make another change at the break, replacing Matty Virtue with Kenny Dougall to try and address their lack of balance in midfield.

The only way Blackpool looked like scoring was through a moment of individual brilliance.

In Josh Bowler, they possess a player more than capable of doing exactly that and he almost produced the goods after dancing through two challenges like they weren’t there.

He opened up space in the Stoke box as a result but he could only curl wide of the far post, a disappointing end to a majestic solo run.

This sparked a period of Blackpool pressure though, although Rhys Williams had to be on his tip-toes to make another important block at the other end of the field.

Stoke threatened again through another high-quality delivery from Tymon, this time from a deep and wide free-kick. The teasing cross reached four Stoke players in the six-yard box but Aden Flint somehow found a way to turn the ball over.

With 20 minutes remaining, Appleton turned to his bench to hand a debut to Charlie Patino, who replaced Lewis Fiorini.

The hosts almost grabbed a second via route one, as an unusually shaky Marvin Ekpiteta was beaten too easily in the air by Jacob Brown.

His flick-on fell straight to strike partner Dwight Gayle, who unleashed a powerful shot on the turn which Grimshaw somehow managed to turn behind with his leg.

The Seasiders didn’t heed the warning though and eventually conceded a second with 15 minutes remaining.

Once again, it came via a left-wing cross, leaving Jacob Brown in space at the near post to turn home an impressive first-time effort.

Blackpool stuck at it in the final stages as they looked to grab a late consolation, but that’s all it would have been as the result was already sewn up.

Appleton was left with much to ponder at the full-time whistle ahead of next week’s clash against Swansea City, with a Carabao Cup tie against Barrow sandwiched in between.

TEAMS

Stoke: Bursik, Clarke, Flint, Taylor, Tymon (Thompson), Wilmot, Baker, Smallbone (Clucas), Laurent, Brown, Gayle (Campbell)

Subs not used: Bonham, Jagielka, Kilkenny, Wright-Phillips

Blackpool: Grimshaw, Connolly, Ekpiteta, Williams, Thompson, Fiorini (Patino), Virtue (Dougall), Carey, Bowler, Yates (Lavery), Madine (Corbeanu)

Subs not used: Maxwell, Thorniley, Hamilton

Referee: Bobby Madley

Attendance: 23,612 (1,512 Blackpool)