Brad Holmes bags a brace as Marvin Ekpiteta and James Husband step-up return from injury in behind-closed-doors outing against Huddersfield
Young striker Brad Holmes bagged a five-minute brace as both Marvin Ekpiteta and James Husband stepped up their return from injury in Blackpool’s behind-closed-doors 2-1 victory against Huddersfield Town.
The Seasiders named a strong side combining a mixture of first-teamers in need of minutes and youngsters.
Stuart Moore, Jordan Thorniley, Cameron Antwi, Ethan Robson, Nathan Shaw, Rob Apter and Brad Holmes all featured alongside the returning Ekpiteta and Husband.
Trevor Sinclair’s son Sky and a trialist were also named in the starting XI, while Huddersfield named a similar mixture of Under-23 players and first-teamers.
Youngster Apter had the game’s first chance during what was a lively start, seeing his shot from 18 yards well saved by keeper Giosue Bellagambi.
The home side’s first opening of the afternoon came via Jaden Brown, who flashed a dangerous ball across the face of the Blackpool goal but just ahead of teammate Micah Obiero.
A frantic, end-to-end start continued with Pool’s highly-rated striker Holmes, who has been on fire for the youth-team this season, flashing a shot wide of the top left hand corner.
The 18-year-old made no mistake with his next chance though, tapping home to give the Seasiders the lead after Rob Apter’s effort had been palmed away into his path.
The Terriers looked to produce a quick response as Josh Koroma saw a shot deflect just wide after Alex Pritchard’s free-kick had fallen kindly for the former Leyton Orient striker.
But, just five minutes after giving Blackpool the lead, Holmes doubled his tally with his side’s second of the game.
It was a sterling finish from the in-form forward, who stepped inside his man before curling a right-footed effort into the far corner.
Stuart Moore, who has been understudy to Chris Maxwell since signing on a free transfer in February, maintained Pool’s two-goal lead with a fine stop to deny Brown.
Huddersfield continued to pepper the Blackpool goal, as Romoney Crichlow glanced a header wide from Pritchard’s set-piece.
The hosts eventually pulled one back just after the half-hour mark, as the increasingly influential Pritchard played in Matty Daly who beat Moore at his near post.
Pool will no doubt have breathed a collective sigh of relief when both Pritchard and Koroma were brought off during the first-half after getting their allotted minutes under their belts.
Nevertheless, Huddersfield still posed an attacking threat as Brahima Diarra, the man to replace Koroma, had a shot from the edge of the box well saved by Moore.
Pool made wholesale changes at the break, with the majority of their first-team players making way.
After a slow start to the second period, Ben Jackson provided a teasing cross for Huddersfield teammate Keiran Phillips, but Blackpool’s much-changed backline did well to scramble clear.
Phillips threatened again when his free-kick on the edge of the Blackpool box skimmed the top of the crossbar, while Daly and Myles Bright were both denied by Moore.
Huddersfield squandered a big chance to level 15 minutes from time when the ball dropped for Jackson in front of goal, but Moore thwarted him with an important stop.
Pool’s keeper made sure of the victory by saving Daly’s initial effort four minutes from time before making a miraculous stop to deny Phillips’ goalline effort on the rebound.
Huddersfield: Bellagambi, Jackson, Brown, Crichlow, Elphick, Austerfield, Pritchard, Phillips, Daly, Obiero, Koroma
Subs: Bilokapic, Elliott, Camara, Bright, Ayina, Diarra, Spencer, Daley
Blackpool: S.Moore, Sinclair, Ekpiteta, Thorniley, Husband, Antwi, Robson, Shaw, Apter, Holmes, Trialist
Subs: McLachlan, Squires, J.Moore, Mariette, Trusty, Bange, Trialist
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