Blackpool's survival hopes left hanging by a thread after harsh defeat to West Brom

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Blackpool failed to convert one of their best performances of the season into a positive result as they fell to a 2-0 defeat to West Brom – leaving their survival hopes hanging by a thread.
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How Stephen Dobbie is already making progress integrating Blackpool's first-team...

Stephen Dobbie’s side were the better side for much of this crunch encounter at Bloomfield Road, especially in the first-half where they dominated.

But their poor finishing in front of goal proved costly while the Baggies’ added quality proved to be the difference as they boosted their play-off hopes.

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With most of their relegation rivals not in action until tomorrow night, Blackpool remain four points adrift of safety with only three games remaining, while other sides also have games in hand to play.

But if the worst is to happen and Blackpool are to drop down to League One, at least they will do it with some fight and with the knowledge they gave it everything they had under their interim boss.

The Seasiders were handed a major boost before kick-off with the news that Jerry Yates was ruled fit.

The striker was a doubt despite making his return from a hamstring injury in the 1-0 win against Wigan on Saturday, where Yates scored the winning goal after just three minutes.

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West Brom's added quality in front of goal proved to be the differenceWest Brom's added quality in front of goal proved to be the difference
West Brom's added quality in front of goal proved to be the difference

The 26-year-old barely trained in the lead-up to the weekend game but he somehow managed to get through all 90 minutes.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s clash, Dobbie admitted he would have a difficult decision to make whether to risk Yates for the second time in just four days. But the club’s top goalscorer was passed fit and started in attack.

Dobbie made three changes from the side that got back to winning ways on Saturday after a run of four straight defeats.

Josh Bowler dropped down to the bench, while James Husband missed out with the head injury he suffered against Wigan. Ian Poveda was also absent.

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Jordan Gabriel came into the side at right-back, meaning Andy Lyons moved over to the left-hand side of the back four. Charlie Patino and CJ Hamilton also came into the starting XI.

Dom Thompson missed out, while Marvin Ekpiteta, Charlie Goode, Liam Bridcutt, Kevin Stewart, Tom Trybull, Shayne Lavery, Jake Beesley and Gary Madine remain sidelined through injury.

Unlike Saturday, Blackpool weren’t able to make an early breakthrough although they probably ought to have done.

Morgan Rogers, playing on the right flank against his former academy side, whacked a close-range effort against the post after meeting CJ Hamilton’s deflected cross from the other side.

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The hosts looked at risk of losing not one, but two players to injury during the opening 15 minutes when Jordan Thorniley and Keshi Anderson went down requiring medical attention, but thankfully both were able to continue.

As a result of the disruption, the game lost its flow and Blackpool weren’t able to capitalise on their bright start.

They were eventually made to regret that fourth-minute Rogers miss when the Baggies took the lead with a goal out of nowhere from John Swift’s corner.

The Seasiders could only have themselves to blame though as they failed to find the first and second contact, leaving Brandon Thomas-Asante with the opportunity to flick home from close range which he grasped with both hands gleefully.

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Dobbie’s men responded well though and almost levelled through Yates, who drilled just wide from range after spotting goalkeeper Alex Palmer back pedalling towards his own goal.

The Seasiders maintained the pressure and created another opening, this time from a corner as Curtis Nelson’s header was scrambled clear inside the six-yard box.

Rogers almost had the chance to atone for his earlier miss when he latched onto a clever ball over the top, but unfortunately his touch let him down at the key moment - otherwise he was in one-on-one with the keeper.

While Blackpool were playing well, they were guilty of squandering another major opportunity on the half-hour mark when Anderson drilled agonisingly wide when he had to score.

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It came after Anderson forced a mistake deep into Baggies territory, exchanging quick passes with Yates before failing to hit the target from point-blank range.

The Seasiders were so unlucky to be behind, coming close once again as Rogers’ powerful low effort was superbly saved by Palmer at his near post.

They could have found themselves two down five minutes into the second-half though when Asante went close again, glancing a header just wide after the Seasiders were undone down their right flank.

Karlan Grant was the next Baggies man to go close as the visitors began to offer more of an attacking threat, but Dan Grimshaw came to Blackpool’s rescue with a clever stop with his legs.

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Blackpool responded with their own spell of pressure, roared on by the North Stand who were willing the ball into the back of Palmer’s net.

Typically, just as the Seasiders were beginning to knock on the door, West Brom doubled their lead with another goal out of nowhere.

This time it was substitute Taylor Gardner-Hickman who got it, coolly slotting home from John Swift’s pullback.

The Seasiders continued to rally despite the odds being against them, but their wastefulness in front of goal continued to blight them - CJ Hamilton blazing well over after creating a yard of space for himself in the box.

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With Pool badly needing a goal, Dobbie turned to development squad striker Brad Holmes off the bench.

The 20-year-old, making his first appearance since May 2021, had a half chance within minutes too, seeing a shot blocked 10 yards out from goal.

But even with Nelson going up front in the final stages, Blackpool weren’t able to force the issue with a late goal which would have at least made things interesting.


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

Subs not used: Maxwell, Garbutt, Connolly, Dougall

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WBA: Palmer, Furlong, Ajayi, Pieters, Townsend, Chalobah (Gardner-Hickman), Molumby, Wallace, Swift (Rogic), Grant (Albrighton), Thomas-Asante

Subs not used: Griffiths, Malcolm, Faal, Livermore

Referee: Stephen Martin

Attendance: 10,705