Gillingham 2 Blackpool 1

Blackpool's Lloyd Jones
Blackpool's Lloyd Jones
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A late goal from Brad Dack saw Pool lose 2-1 against table topping Gillingham.

The midfield man fired home with just nine minutes to go after a largely positive display from Neil McDonald’s Blackpool side who probably deserved something out of the game.

After Doug Loft gave the home side an early lead Blackpool battled their way back into the game just after the break when the superb Brad Potts’ cross was turned into his own goal by Ryan Jackson.

Despite a decent second half display, the home side sealed the win when Dack followed up a Jake Hessenthaler blocked shot to score from ten yards.

After naming the same eleven as last week, Blackpool started the game in pretty positive fashion on a bight but windy afternoon in Kent, and even forced the first save of the game on two minutes.

Winger Henry Cameron cut inside from the right and tried his luck from the edge of the area, keeper Stuart Nelson tipped over with relative ease.

The plan for the Seasiders was clearly to keep things tight and try and break on the counter attack, and that was clear to see in the early stages.

John Herron and Jose Cubero playing the roles of stoppers, allowing Potts a little bit of licence to break from the midfield.

He was Pool’s best player on the day.

Gillingham, like Blackpool, were operating with just Cody McDonald up front, although so far the three attacking players behind him have caused a real threat this season, and you can see why.

In particular the long-haired Dack gets himself into some dangerous pockets in front of the back four.

As the ten minute mark past Blackpool were already finding him difficult to deal with.

And it was Dack who had their first real opening of the game on 13 minutes when he headed Ryan Jackson’s cross goal wards, luckily it was straight at Doyle who saved comfortably.

At this point it was clear Pool were in for a long afternoon, with Gillingham enjoying plenty of possession and wave-after-wave of attack.

At on 16 minutes they got their deserved breakthrough.

Luke Norris’ free-kick was well saved by Doyle, sadly he could only turn it into the path of skipper Loft who turned it home.

The goal highlighted the problems with lining up so defensively, you can’t expect to have the luck Pool enjoyed at Scunthorpe last weekend every game.

Chances were few and far between in the opening half for the Seasiders, but they had huge opening on 23 minutes - and should have equalised.

McAlister did well down the left hand side and his inch perfect cross picked-out Potts who made a mess of his header, turning it wide.

The sun was probably in the youngster’s eyes so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, but he should have at least hit the target.

While Blackpool at least tried to attack it was always going to leave gaps at the other end, and that Norris already doubled the home side’s lead on the half hour mark when he fired just wide.

With half-time approaching McDonald would have been desperate to get his side in just a goal behind, and he had Tom Aldred to thank for keeping the score at 1-0 on 38 minutes.

He bravely flung himself in the way of Loft’s 12 yard strike, before the winger fired the rebound over.

This sort of defending is what Aldred has made a career out of, and this was a key block at a vital time for the Seasiders.

As the board was raised for two minutes stoppage time Blackpool had a huge scare as Norris rattled the bar from a 25-yard free-kick.

Much like the first half, Pool began the second period well and quickly drew themselves level on 52 minutes.

Potts, who was the Seasiders’ best player throughout, took advantage of Brennan Dickenson’s hesitation to fire a low cross into the box which Ryan Jackson made a right mess of, turning it into his own goal.

The goal saw confidence breeze into McDonald’s young side, who continued to push forward much to the vocal frustration of the home supporters.

On the hour mark Blackpool were again asking questions of the home side, and created two chances within ten seconds.

First Potts’ acrobatic effort was cleared off the line by Max Ehmer before Lloyd Jones saw his follow up blocked on route to goal.

McDonald responded by introducing David Norris in place of the tiring John Herron as the former Celtic man eases his way back in following injury.

Kwame Thomas soon followed in place of Cullen.

With quarter of an hour to go the game died a little, with neither side looking like having what it takes to find the breakthrough.

You could sense McDonald was smelling the chance of back-to-back wins, all this season I’ve not seen him so animated on the sidelines.

With the chance of a victory clearly on his mind, McDonald threw on Bright Samuel in place of Cameron in search of an attacking spark.

All of Pool’s attacking play was coming through Potts in the middle, and he created a decent chance for McAlister with 11 minutes left, sadly the Scot’s effort

Sadly it would all count for nothing.

With nine minutes left Jake Hessenthaler’s blocked shot couldn’t have fallen to a worse person for Pool as Dack composed himself and fired home from ten yards.