Doncaster Rovers 0-1 Blackpool: Armand Gnanduillet strikes at the death to help Seasiders get back to winning ways
A dramatic stoppage time goal from Armand Gnanduillet saw Blackpool get back to winning ways in fine fashion against previously unbeaten Doncaster Rovers.
The striker came off the bench to win it in the second minute of stoppage time, heading home from Liam Feeney’s ball in following a flowing counter attack.
It capped off a much improved display from the Seasiders, who deserved the three points on sheer endeavour alone.
The Seasiders came into the game on the back of defeats against Coventry City and MK Dons where three goals were conceded on both occasions.
But Pool were much improved across the park, limiting the home side to very few - if any - genuine opportunities to score.
It appeared Blackpool would have to settle for a point, but in the second minute of stoppage time the Seasiders broke away at speed, Feeney delivering a pinpoint cross for Gnanduillet who had the simple task of heading home for his sixth goal of the season.
Eyebrows were certainly raised when Blackpool announced their line-up, Simon Grayson making two changes from the weekend defeat against MK Dons.
Out went top scorers Sullay Kaikai and Armand Gnanduillet, who were surprisingly dropped to the bench, in favour of Matty Virtue and Ryan Hardie who were handed first league starts.
Ollie Turton was unfortunate to find himself named on the bench for the second game running, while Joe Nuttall kept his spot in the side despite some mixed displays.
It was a very subdued opening to proceedings, with neither side able to stamp their authority on the game in the early stages.
The first opening of sorts fell Blackpool’s way, with Nuttall dragging a shot wide of goal when he had options either side of him.
Grayson’s men have to withstand a spell of pressure from the home side, with keeper Jak Alnwick forced into making a couple of last-ditch punches away from the danger area.
With genuine openings hard to come by, Pool could have done more to attack Jordan Thompson’s dangerous corner which somehow managed to fizz through the box without getting a touch.
The game sparked into life just before the half-hour mark, with both sides exchanging opportunities.
Matty Virtue showed Kieran Sadlier inside and the Doncaster man proceeded to do exactly that before firing wide of the near post.
The closest either side came to breaking the deadlock followed a minute later, when Ian Lawlor denied Ryan Hardie with a flying stop - turning the striker’s curling effort away for a corner.
The Doncaster shot stopper then got down to save comfortably from Nuttall’s low effort.
After another lull in the game, the home side threatened just before the break but were denied by a crucial last-ditch block from Virtue.
The midfielder threw his body on the line to deflect Niall Ennis’ goalbound effort away for a corner, which the Seasiders dealt with comfortably.
Jak Alnwick was called into action at the start of the second period to stop the Seasiders from going behind, making a superb save to tip Ben Whiteman’s effort around the post.
It was a crucial save, too, as Whiteman’s shot was destined for the bottom corner of Pool’s net.
Whiteman again came close a couple of minutes later, flashing a low shot across the face of the Blackpool goal with Alnwick beaten.
Pool produced an almost identical effort of their own courtesy of Thompson, whose dipping effort narrowly missed the far post of the Doncaster goal.
Some good play from Ryan Edwards and Thompson set Liam Feeney free down the right and the wing-back’s pullback caused all sorts of problems for the home side, who somehow managed to scramble the ball behind for a corner courtesy of some last-ditch defending.
Hardie wasted a golden chance to put Pool ahead halfway through the second period after being gifted a free shot on goal by the goalkeeper.
Lawlor’s attempted clearance fell straight to the feet of Hardie who, despite only having the keeper to beat, shot straight at the man in between the sticks.
The home faithful thought their side were about to take the lead when Niall Ennis took the ball past the onrushing Alnwick, with the goal at his mercy.
But Tilt somehow managed to get back in time to head Ennis’ effort over the crossbar with what was a vital last-ditch block.
The visiting Pool fans wanted Grayson to make a change and that’s what the manager did with just over 15 minutes remaining.
He changed the front two, bringing on Kaikai and Gnanduillet with Hardie and Nuttall the two to make way.
The two newcomers almost combined for the opening goal with 10 minutes remaining, Kaikai swinging in a cross for the unmarked Gnanduillet who could only loop his header straight at the keeper.
Doncaster were the side pressing ahead for a late winner, but they were caught out in stoppage time when the Seasiders broke away at speed.
Feeney was unleashed down the right and he bagged his eighth assist of the season with a sublime cross for Gnanduillet, who headed into the back of the net to send the Pool fans into raptures.
Doncaster: Lawlor, Halliday, James, Anderson, Sheaf, Sadlier (Coppinger), Whiteman, Taylor, Blair (May), Ennis, John
Subs not used: Dieng, Daniels, Gomes, Longbottom, Kiwomya
Blackpool: Alnwick, Edwards, Heneghan, Tilt, Feeney, Husband, Spearing, Virtue (Guy), Thompson, Hardie (Gnanduillet), Nuttall (Kaikai)
Subs not used: Sims, Bushiri, Turton, Scannell
Referee: Antony Coggins
Attendance: 6,964 (424 Blackpool)