Lincoln City 2-2 Blackpool: Seasiders denied sixth straight away victory after throwing away a two-goal lead against promotion rivals

Blackpool threw away a seemingly unassailable two-goal lead to draw against promotion rivals Lincoln City.

Saturday, 10th April 2021, 5:02 pm
Updated Saturday, 10th April 2021, 5:04 pm

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Lincoln City v Blackpool as it happened

Blackpool threw away a seemingly unassailable two-goal lead to draw against promotion rivals Lincoln City.

With 15 minutes to play at Sincil Bank, the Seasiders were coasting towards a richly deserved sixth straight away victory.

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Ellis Simms had given Blackpool a deserved first-half lead

Neil Critchley’s men, who had been completely dominant until this point, wasted a host of golden opportunities to stretch their lead.

They were eventually made to pay for that wastefulness in front of goal when the Imps, who sit one point behind them in the table, fired in two quickfire goals to leave the visitors shell-shocked.

Despite the late disappointment, Pool extend their unbeaten run to 14 games and remain in the play-off places with eight games to go.

Neil Critchley opted to make just one change to the side that beat Gillingham in convincing fashion on Easter Monday.

Jordan Thorniley was the man to drop out of the team, replaced by Daniel Gretarsson who came into central defence alongside Dan Ballard.

Elsewhere, Demetri Mitchell was a surprise absence from Pool’s 18-man squad, with his spot on the bench taken by youth-team striker Brad Holmes.

Kevin Stewart, Matty Virtue, Keshi Anderson, CJ Hamilton and Gary Madine remain sidelined by injury, while Bez Lubala is unavailable due to a ‘club matter’.

Lincoln, who started the day just one point behind the Seasiders in the league table, made three changes to the side that lost 2-1 at Oxford United in their last outing.

After that defeat, the Imps were forced to lock down their training ground for 10 days and postpone their Easter fixtures against Charlton Athletic and MK Dons.

Imps forward Callum Morton was fortunate to only escape with a yellow card inside the opening 60 seconds.

The Lincoln man scythed Chris Maxwell to the ground with a late and rash challenge after Pool’s keeper had rushed to deal with a poor backpass from Dan Ballard.

The home side, seemingly refreshed by their two-week break, were the more dangerous side early on and threatened down the left flank through Tayo Edun, whose dangerous pullback was well dealt with by the covering Luke Garbutt.

The Seasiders appeared to be going a little longer than usual, targeting Lincoln centre-back Lewis Montsma in particular.

The visitors came within a whisker of breaking the deadlock on 15 minutes when Ellis Simms was set free down the channel by strike partner Jerry Yates.

Simms showed good pace to latch onto the ball through but his effort was deflected narrowly wide and into the side netting.

Pool maintained the pressure, Sullay Kaikai having a close-range free-kick tipped behind for a corner before Ollie Turton headed wide from the resulting delivery, when he really ought to have found the back of the net after flying to meet Garbutt’s set-piece at the near post.

It remained one-way traffic and Blackpool could perhaps count themselves a little unlucky not to get a decision go in their favour when the dangerous Simms went to ground.

The striker had beaten Adam Jackson for pace and was through on goal but, despite originally attempting to stay on his feet, Simms couldn’t stay upright and the chance went begging.

Lincoln hit back with a spell of pressure of their own and almost edged ahead through midfielder Conor McGrandles.

Pool were given a big let-off when the midfielder could only direct his shot into the side-netting after rounding Maxwell having latched onto Morton’s through-ball.

Three minutes later, the deadlock was broken - but by Blackpool.

It came from the left foot of Simms, who had built on his strong display against Gillingham with another strong showing at Sincil Bank.

The Imps had failed to clear their lines on the edge of their own box, allowing Simms the chance to cut inside where he lashed home into the far corner of the net in emphatic fashion.

While Pool continued to play some neat, intricate football in the final third, it was their more direct balls straight down the middle of the pitch which seemed to cause Lincoln the most problems.

Critchley’s men were well-worthy of their half-time lead and perhaps deserved another goal to add to their tally.

But they didn’t have to wait too long to double their lead in the second-half, Sullay Kaikai the man to add his name to the scoresheet.

It was a composed finish from the winger, picking out the bottom corner and giving keeper Palmer no chance.

But the goal owed to some exceptional build-up play between Simms and Yates, with the latter flicking the ball into Kaikai’s path and opening up hordes of space for the winger to surge into.

Pool threatened to run riot at this point but squandered a priceless chance to add a third when Simms’ goalbound shot was blocked by his own teammate Yates.

Lincoln wasted two good chances of their own to reduce the deficit when Morgan Rogers had a shot deflect just over before Regan Poole headed over at the back post from the resulting corner.

The Imps, enjoying a bit of a bright patch at this point, were then thwarted by a superb save from Maxwell who somehow managed to tip Adam Jackson’s header over the bar from Cohen Bramall’s free-kick.

While the home side were beginning to offer more of an attacking threat, the Seasiders remained a big threat in attack and were keen to stretch their lead.

They had a good chance to do exactly that when a Garbutt corner was partially cleared into the path of Elliot Embleton, who failed to control his shot and blazed well over.

Yates looked set to continue his sterling goalscoring form and add Pool’s third after being set up by the exceptional Simms, rolling the ball past Palmer and towards the goal, but Jackson recovered to clear inside the six-yard box.

Imps boss and former Pool manager Michael Appleton had already made a double change at the break, but with 20 minutes remaining - and desperately searching for a route back into the game - he made another three to use up his full allocation of changes.

Pool really ought to be out of site though, as Yates was denied once again after seeing his close-range effort well blocked by Joe Walsh after Simms had been denied by Palmer down the left flank.

With 15 minutes remaining, Lincoln pulled one back with a goal out of nowhere.

One of the subs Anthony Scully was the man to get it, firing home into the empty net after Maxwell had parried a powerful cross towards the back stick.

It was the first goal Pool had conceded on their travels in almost nine hours of action, having kept six consecutive clean sheets.

The game should have been put to bed by this point, but the Seasiders were forced to hold on nervously in the final stage.

Inexplicably, Pool were begged back six minutes from time as Lincoln grabbed an unlikely leveller.

The dangerous Brennan Johnson was the man to get it, firing high into the roof of the Blackpool net after latching onto a clever through ball.

Neither side was content to settle for the draw and Pool thought they had strong appeals for a penalty waved away in stoppage-time, leaving them to settle for a draw that - while far from being the worst result in the world - feels very much like a defeat.

TEAMS

Lincoln: Palmer, Poole, Jackson (Eyoma), Montsma (Walsh), Bramall, Sanders (Anderson), Edun (Jones), McGrandles, Rogers (Scully), Johnson, Morton

Subs not used: Long, Howarth

Blackpool: Maxwell, Turton, Ballard, Gretarsson, Garbutt, Dougall, Ward, Embleton (Gabriel), Kaikai, Simms (Robson), Yates

Subs not used: Moore, Thorniley, Ekpiteta, Husband, Holmes

Referee: Marc Edwards

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