MATCH REPORT: Blackpool 1-1 Shrewsbury Town

Nathan Delfouneso peels off to celebrate after heading Blackpool level
Nathan Delfouneso peels off to celebrate after heading Blackpool level

Blackpool were denied a deserved fifth straight win as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to promotion chasing Shrewsbury Town.

The Seasiders dominated large swathes of what was a breathless game - Pool’s last at Bloomfield Road this season - but missed three or four gilt-edged chances leaving them to settle for a point.

Mafoumbi is beaten too easily for Shrewsbury's opener

Mafoumbi is beaten too easily for Shrewsbury's opener

At one point it looked as though Blackpool wouldn’t get any points at all after Sam Jones handed the Shrews the lead with an opportunistic long-range effort that Christoffer Mafoumbi should have saved.

But, after missing a host of chances, Pool eventually got the goal they deserved when Nathan Delfouneso headed home from close range for his ninth goal of the season.

It took a while for the goal to be confirmed after the linesman had initially ruled it out for offside, but after a minute or two of deliberations the referee decided to overrule his assistant’s decision.

Pool then almost went on to win it at the death when substitute Kelvin Mellor had a header from just a few yards out clawed off the line.

The result leaves Blackpool in 12th ahead of their final game of the season at Rotherham United next week.

Blackpool’s pre-match preparations were disrupted when Kyle Vassell pulled up injured in the warm-up, allowing Armand Gnanduillet the chance to take his spot in the starting line-up instead.

Elsewhere, Christoffer Mafoumbi was recalled to replace the departed Joe Lumley, who started for his parent club QPR after being recalled earlier in the week.

It presented Mafoumbi with the chance to make his first appearance for Blackpool since January.

The Frenchman played two straight games for the Seasiders at the turn of the year, only to find himself dropped back down to the bench following Lumley's arrival.

Shrewsbury, meanwhile, made six changes to their side from the one that beat Peterborough United in midweek as they continued to focus on their involvement in the end-of-season play-offs.

Blackpool almost got off to a lightning quick start when Nathan Delfouneso delivered a superb cross within the first 13 seconds of the game, with his dangerous delivery just eluding Viv Solomon-Otabor at the back post.

Delfouneso was again in the thick of the action on 12 minutes when he wasted a glorious chance to give Blackpool the lead as the home side continued with their bright start.

It came after Gnanduillet had been sent through on goal by Solomon-Otabor, with the striker cutting inside and seeing his shot blocked - the rebound falling to Delfouneso who blazed high over the bar from just 10 yards out at the second attempt.

The miss proved to be a costly one as the visitors went on to break the deadlock on 20 minutes with what was their only shot in the first half.

It was an attempt Mafoumbi ought to have saved too, as the shot stopper appeared to be caught by surprise by Sam Jones’ pot shot at goal. The effort from outside the box should have been easily claimed but, despite Mafoumbi getting a hand to it, Jones’ shot ended up in the back of Blackpool’s net.

Despite the goal, the Seasiders remained the better side in the first half with the vast majority of the play coming their way.

Pool wasted another great chance to get on the scoresheet on 34 minutes, when Colin Daniel burst through on goal only to see his strong effort palmed beat away by Shrews keeper Craig MacGillivray.

But Pool’s clearest chance of the half came with just two minutes of the opening period to play, but yet again it was missed.

A flowing move from one end of the pitch to the other resulted in Sean Longstaff slipping in Gnanduillet but, with only the keeper to beat, the striker shot wide of goal when he really ought to have scored.

Pool still managed to find time to miss another chance before the half-time whistle blew, as Delfouneso wastefully head over the crossbar after rising to meet Jimmy Ryan’s deep free kick.

Gnanduillet looked determined to atone for his earlier miss when he slalomed his way through Shrewsbury’s backline, only for a visiting defender to clear when he was just about to get a shot off at goal.

The away side were almost gifted a second as Bryn Morris sent a dipping effort at goal from range that Mafoumbi just about managed to deal with at the second attempt, but it wasn’t pretty.

That sparked a crazy couple of minutes of action, which eventually resulted in Blackpool pulling themselves back level.

Pool skipper Jimmy Ryan missed a great chance to equalise when he met Delfouneso’s deep cross with a sweetly timed effort that MacGillivray somehow managed to keep out.

But it wasn’t to matter, as the Seasiders eventually found the leveller their play more than merited with the following attack.

We had to wait a few minutes for it to be confirmed though, as Delfouneso’s close-range header was initially ruled out for offside when the linesman eventually managed to raise his flag.

But after lengthy deliberations referee Martin Coy opted to overrule the decision, much to the delight of the home supporters.

After working so hard to get back on level terms, Blackpool almost immediately threw it away as Sam Jones wasted a gilt-edged chance to restore their lead - blazing over from close range after a rebound had fell kindly for him.

Blackpool came close to going in front when Colin Daniel surged down the left before pulling the ball back to Longstaff. The midfielder was in acres of space but he opted to take a first time shot which he scuffed.

Ryan then brought a smart save out of MacGillivray on the follow-up before Gnanduillet headed narrowly wide from the resulting corner.

The Seasiders almost snatched all three points in the dying minutes when Kelvin Mellor was presented with a free header at the back post, only for the Shrews keeper to claw it away on the goalline.

Blackpool: Mafoumbi, Turton, Tilt, Robertson, Daniel, Ryan, Spearing, Longstaff (Agyei), Delfouneso (Mellor), Solomon-Otabor, Gnanduillet (Cullen)

Subs not used: Williams, McAlister, Cooke, Menga

Shrewsbury: MacGillivray, Riley, Sadler, Beckles, Lowe, B. Morris, Gnahoua (Whalley), Nolan, Jones (John-Lewis), Rodman, C. Morris

Subs not used: Henderson, Hendrie, Eisa, Thomas, Payne

Referee: Martin Coy

Attendance: 5,825 (2,549 Shrewsbury)