Doncaster Rovers 3-2 Blackpool: Neil Critchley's side squander two-goal lead to lose five-game winning run

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Blackpool squandered a two-goal half-time lead to lose to Doncaster Rovers, ending their five-game winning run in the process.
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Doncaster Rovers v Blackpool as it happened

The Seasiders were flying at the break following a superb opening 45 minutes, where Jerry Yates netted from the spot before CJ Hamilton added a second.

But the home side drew themselves level following a crazy opening eight minutes of the second-half, before going on to bag a winner with a penalty of their own late on.

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Blackpool were left angry with the officials after losing their winning runBlackpool were left angry with the officials after losing their winning run
Blackpool were left angry with the officials after losing their winning run

Blackpool, looking to produce a six-game winning streak for the first time since their ‘Perfect 10’ in 2007, found themselves frustratingly on the losing end of a stereotypical game of two halves.

Their performance certainly deserved a point at least though, and they were denied the chance to claim it at the death when the referee opted not to award a third penalty of the game despite a blatant handball from Brad Halliday.

The Seasiders went into the game with a hugely impressive record at the Keepmoat Stadium having won on seven of their last nine visits.

Critchley opted to make just one change to the side that beat Peterborough United on Saturday.

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Ethan Robson returned to the side to make his first league start since being shown a straight red card in the defeat at AFC Wimbledon. Grant Ward was the man to make way.

The Seasiders were otherwise unchanged, with Luke Garbutt, MJ Williams and Matty Virtue remaining on the sidelines and the likes of Jordan Thornily, Oliver Sarkic, Dan Kemp and Bez Lubala all being left at home.

Former Pool loanee Joe Lumley, who recently joined Doncaster on an emergency loan, started in goal for the home side, who made one change from their weekend draw with Sunderland.

Full of confidence from Saturday’s impressive win against previously table-topping Posh, Pool created an opening inside the first 60 seconds.

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Sullay Kaikai was the man who almost forced the ball home from close range, only to see the linesman’s flag raised, indicating the ball had gone out of play beforehand.

The Seasiders maintained the pressure and Lumley almost presented his former side with a gift in the early stages, the keeper hitting the ball straight to CJ Hamilton who couldn’t capitalise as the home side recovered to scramble clear.

Blackpool were presented with a priceless chance to take the lead with just nine minutes on the clock when they were awarded a penalty.

Gary Madine was the man to be brought down in the box by Brad Halliday as the striker attempted to get a head on Hamilton’s cross.

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Yates immediately grabbed the ball and sent Lumley the wrong way to give Pool a deserved early lead, scoring for the fifth time in six games.

Pool, now rampant, came close to doubling their lead two minutes later when Lumley flapped at Kaikai’s free-kick. The ball fell kindly for Yates but his shot ricocheted agonisingly wide of the post with Marvin Ekpiteta unable to get a decisive touch.

Lumley was again involved in the thick of the action midway through the opening period when he was tested by the unlikely source of Daniel Gretarsson, who sent an ambitious, swerving effort towards goal which the Doncaster keeper claimed well.

Believe it or not, a second chance came the way of Gretarsson a few moments later as Pool worked a corner back to James Husband.

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The left-back curled in a teasing cross that reached the unmarked Gretarsson, but he could only head over having been surprised the ball had reached him.

Blackpool weren’t made to regret that miss for too long as they eventually doubled their lead seven minutes before the interval.

It came after a scintillating counter-attack, Pool breaking from their own box to the Donny goal within seconds as Kaikai broke through on goal from the halfway line.

The winger was thwarted by Lumley, illegally, the referee judged, but he allowed play to continue to allow Hamilton to rifle home high into the empty net.

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Doncaster exerted a bit of pressure at the end of the first-half, Ben Whiteman drilling wide with his side’s first attempt on goal before Cameron John headed wide at the back post at full stretch from Reece James’ corner.

But Blackpool deservedly took their two-goal lead into the break, just reward for a magnificent first-half display.

Unfortunately the two-goal lead only lasted three minutes into the second period as Doncaster reduced the arrears early on.

The goal came from a set-piece once again, Pool’s Achilles heel at this moment in time, as Critchley’s side failed to clear their lines from an early corner.

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The hosts, who had made a tactical change at the break, worked the ball back into the danger area and Cameron John was there to steer a first-time effort into the far corner.

Pool’s players were adamant the crosser Josh Sims was in an offside position but the goal stood and the momentum swung the way of the Donny.

Inexplicably, Rovers were level just five minutes later. This time Blackpool were carved wide open, substitute Taylor Richards providing a teasing ball over the heads of the two centre-backs which Reece James flicked home smartly.

With Pool being pegged back within eight minutes of the interval, the game was now wide open. Gary Madine saw a shot blocked from Yates’ pullback.

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Pool composed themselves from their nightmare start to the second-half and slowly but surely began to carve open some more openings.

Hamilton put the after-burners on and surged down the right flank but was unable to pick out a teammate despite having plenty of options.

Blackpool’s miserable second-half was compounded when the home side were awarded a penalty 15 minutes from time, Kenny Dougall the man penalised for a desperate lunge.

Doncaster skipper Whiteman was the man to step up and he sent Maxwell the wrong way to pick out the bottom corner.

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Critchley took advantage of the new five-sub rule 10 minutes from time when he threw on Demetri Mitchell, Jordan Gabriel, Keshi Anderson and Ben Woodburn in a desperate attempt to get back in the game.

Pool threw the kitchen sink at the home side in the final stages but, despite there being three goals and six subs, only three minutes of time was added on at the end of the 90 minutes.

There was still time for some last-gasp drama though, as Doncaster defender Brad Halliday appeared to blatantly handle the ball in his own box. But much to Blackpool’s amazement, the referee remained unmoved.


Doncaster: Lumley, Halliday, Wright, Anderson, John, James, Whiteman, Coppinger (Richards), Smith, Sims, Okenabirhie

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Subs not used: Jones, Butler, Amos, Ravenhill, Williams, Lokilo

Blackpool: Maxwell, Turton (Gabriel), Ekpiteta, Gretarsson, Husband (Mitchell), Dougall, Robson, Hamilton, Kaikai (Anderson), Yates (Woodburn), Madine

Subs not used: Sims, Ballard, Ward

Referee: Ross Joyce