MATCH REPORT: Blackpool 1-2 Doncaster

Sean Longstaff competes for the ball
Sean Longstaff competes for the ball

Blackpool slumped to their first home defeat of 2018 with a disappointing 2-1 reversal at the hands of Doncaster Rovers.

Doncaster held a 1-0 lead at the break after what had been a dire first half low on chances; Tommy Rowe the man netting with a deflected effort.

Colin Daniel levelled for Blackpool at the start of the second half

Colin Daniel levelled for Blackpool at the start of the second half

But the Seasiders came out fighting at the start of the second half and levelled through Colin Daniel, and even had chances to take the lead.

But Rowe added a second from a clever free kick routine to win it for the visitors, leaving Blackpool nervously looking over their shoulders.

The defeat means Blackpool’s trip to Oldham on Easter Monday takes on extra significance.

The Latics are currently the side that occupies the final spot in the bottom four but they still have two games in hand on the Seasiders, who are seven points clear.

Pool boss Gary Bowyer opted to continue his theme of changing his side’s formation to counteract Doncaster’s diamond system.

It has proved successful in the past, with the Seasiders recording two wins and a draw in the three games Bowyer has previously overseen against Darren Ferguson’s men.

So he once again decided to go with the 3-5-2 formation, which saw Will Aimson, Sean Longstaff and Armand Gnanduillet come into the side as Bowyer made three changes from the team that drew 0-0 at MK Dons last weekend.

Danny Philliskirk, Viv Solomon-Otabor and Kyle Vassell were the three to make way - the latter missing out of the squad altogether.

Coming into the game, the two sides were separated by just the one point in the league table and both knew another win, two at most, would be enough to secure their League One status.

It was also a match-up of two of the league’s draw specialists, as Blackpool and Doncaster have 27 stalemates between them - Pool edging it with 14 draws to Doncaster’s 13.

Blackpool made their intentions clear within the opening seconds of the game, as Armand Gnanduillet charged down Doncaster’s kick-off before the Seasiders were awarded a free kick just inside the visitors’ half - but Jimmy Ryan’s delivery came to nothing.

At the other end of the pitch, Curtis Tilt had to be alert to get a vital touch to divert John Marquis’ cross away from Blackpool’s box with James Coppinger waiting to get a shot off at goal.

The visitors showed plenty of endeavour to attack Blackpool in the early stages and they created a couple of chances in quick succession.

The first fell to Matty Blair who nodded downwards at the back post from a corner, only to head wide of goal, before John Marquis fluffed his lines in front of goal - blaming his airshot on the Bloomfield Road pitch.

From that point onwards, the two sides cancelled each other out and played out a dull first half - with neither side managing to produce a shot on target until the 43th minute.

That came from Doncaster and it resulted in a goal, as Tommy Rowe was invited to shoot and did so - producing an effort that took a wicked deflection off a Blackpool defender to loop over Lumley and into the back of the net.

Doncaster weren’t great in the opening period but they didn’t have to be to edge ahead of Blackpool, who failed to make any sort of impression.

Bowyer obviously wasn’t impressed either, as he hauled Nathan Delfouneso off at half time to replace him with Danny Philliskirk.

To their credit, the Seasiders made a bright start to the second half and forced a corner within the opening 60 seconds following some determined running from Gnanduillet - but the visitors managed to deal with the subsequent set piece.

Gnanduillet then skipped past a couple of challenges on the right-hand side of the box only to see his pullback cleared for another corner.

Blackpool were then denied an equaliser by a fine save from Marko Marosi, who managed to tip over Gnanduillet’s close-range header in what was the Seasiders’ clearest opportunity of the game to date by far.

Blackpool continued to take the game to Doncaster and they just their rewards 10 minutes into the second half as Colin Daniel got his side back on level terms.

The assist came via Jay Spearing, who played a superb cross-field ball to Daniel who took a touch before firing home at the near post.

Blackpool almost found a second through the unlikely source of Ollie Turton, who was picked out inside the Doncaster box by Curtis Tilt but the full back couldn’t make sufficient contact to steer home.

For all of Blackpool’s good play in the second half, they found themselves behind for the second time with just 20 minutes remaining.

It came via a clever free-kick from routine, where the ball was laid off to Rowe who bagged his second of the game with a low shot into the bottom corner.

Bowyer rolled the dice with just over 10 minutes to go, bringing both Dolly Menga and Viv Solomon-Otabor off the bench to bolster their attacking options.

Solomon-Otabor immediately showed what Blackpool had been lacking with a trademark direct run to win his side a corner, but Doncaster cleared their lines to preserve their lead.

But it was the visitors who came closest to scoring in the final stages, as Marquis went through on goal only to be tackled by Lumley on the edge of the box.

Blackpool: Lumley, Turton, Tilt, Robertson, Aimson (Solomon-Otabor), Daniel, Ryan, Spearing, Longstaff (Menga), Delfouneso (Philliskirk), Gnanduillet

Subs not used: Mafoumbi, D'Almeida, Cooke, Agyei

Doncaster: Marosi, McCullough, Baudry, Mason, Wright, Houghton, Beestin, Blair, Coppinger, Rowe, Marquis

Subs not used: Lawlor, Kongolo, Williams, Whiteman, May, Boyle, Ben Khemis

Referee: Ollie Yates

Attendance: 4,533 (962 Doncaster)