MATCH REPORT: Blackpool 1-1 Gillingham

Kyle Vassell gave Blackpool the lead just before half time but it wasn't enough
Kyle Vassell gave Blackpool the lead just before half time but it wasn't enough

Blackpool were made to pay for their wastefulness in front of goal as Tom Eaves cruelly levelled at the death for Gillingham.

The Seasiders dominated the game and thought they had done enough to win it thanks to Kyle Vassell’s goal just before half time.

But Eaves popped up at the back post in the final minute of normal time to deny Gary Bowyer’s men their second win in the space of just four days.

Pool squandered chance after chance to add to their tally but they lacked that clinical touch in front of goal to pick up a win their performance richly deserved.

As was the case against Peterborough on Saturday, Blackpool made a blistering start to proceedings and almost scored inside 30 seconds through Sean Longstaff’s deflected effort.

Viv Solomon-Otabor started where he had left off at the weekend too and he almost created an early goal with one of his trademark runs, which saw the ball eventually fall for Kyle Vassell only for the striker to see his shot deflect off a defender and bounce just wide.

The one-way traffic continued to rein in on Gillingham’s defence in the early stages, with Colin Daniel sending a diving header wide of goal.

The Gills were a handful from set pieces and they sent a warning shot to the hosts, with Gabriel Zakuani directing a back-post header inches wide of the far post.

But the opportunities continued to stack up for the home side but they weren’t able to test goalkeeper Tomas Holy.

First Callum Cooke could only fire wide with his low, drilled shot before Daniel sent another glancing header wide of goal after getting on the end of Solomon-Otabor’s dangerous cross.

The winger continued to be Pool’s main threat in the first half and it was his superb through-ball that unleashed Ollie Turton down the left and his pullback found Cooke in the centre, only for the midfielder to see his effort deflected wide of goal once again.

The Seasiders strung together some superb one and two-touch passing moves and they were in total control of the first half in all facets of the game aside from the scoreline.

But for all their dominance, it was Gillingham came close to breaking the deadlock for a second time after a short corner found Lee Martin who saw his shot ricochet just wide of Ryan Allsop’s post.

The two sides continued to exchange chances before the half-time interval, with defender Curtis Tilt getting a good connection inside the Gills’ box only to shoot straight at the ‘keeper.

With all the chances coming and going, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before one ended up in the back of the net and that proved to be the case just five minutes before the interval.

It was that man Kyle Vassell who scored for the second game running with a powerful finish from just inside the box after Kelvin Mellor’s effort had rebounded into his path.

It meant Gary Bowyer’s side headed into the half-time interval a goal to the good and no one inside Bloomfield Road could argue it wasn’t richly deserved.

Gillingham came out at the start of the second half with a bit more attacking intent which led to Conor Wilkinson trying his luck from range, but his shot failed to trouble Allsop in the Blackpool goal.

But that only invited Blackpool to counter attack which is a dangerous tactic to take for a side coming to Bloomfield Road.

One break in particular saw Vassell played in behind the back four only for the striker to get the ball stuck under his feet, otherwise the goal would have been at his mercy.

Blackpool continued their quest for that all-important second goal and they had the chances to find it. Cooke again could only shoot wide from the edge of the box just moments after Mellor had fluffed his lines at the back post to volley harmlessly wide.

Gillingham wasted a golden chance to draw level midway through the second period when the ball fell to Conor Wilkinson following a defensive mix-up, but the winger could only drag his shot wide of goal.

Daniel found himself in some space inside the Gillingham box and, as seemed to be the theme of the night, could only shoot wide.

Blackpool, just as they did against Peterborough, had to dig in and do some defending towards the end of the second half but they stood up to the challenge well.

That was until the final minute of normal time, when Blackpool were made to pay for all their missed chances when Tom Eaves nodded in at the back post to rescue a point for the visitors.

Blackpool: Allsop, Mellor, Aimson, Tilt, Turton, Spearing, Cooke (D'Almeida), Longstaff, Daniel, Solomon-Otabor (Gnanduillet), Vassell (Menga)

Subs not used: Williams, Taylor, Ryan, Delfouneso

Gillingham: Holy, O'Neil, Zakuani, Hessenthaler (List), Martin, Ogilvie, Parker, Clare, Byrne (Nugent), Wilkinson (Wagstaff), Eaves

Subs not used: Nelson, Oldaker, List, Chapman, Cundle

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 2,650 (145 Gillingham)