MATCH REPORT: Blackpool 1-2 Rotherham

Viv Solomon-Otabor battles for the ball
Viv Solomon-Otabor battles for the ball

Former Fleetwood Town man David Ball struck twice as Rotherham United came from behind to condemn Blackpool to a 2-1 defeat at Bloomfield Road.

Kelvin Mellor had handed the Seasiders the lead with a first-half wonder strike, his third goal in as many games.

Kelvin Mellor celebrates his first-half strike

Kelvin Mellor celebrates his first-half strike

But Ball capitalised on some hesitant defending to get the Millers back level before sealing the turnaround with a header three minutes from time.

Gary Bowyer's men seemed to be in control for much of the match but they threw it away in the final 15 minutes.

They have now won just one of their last 10 games and are without a league win at home since October.

The Seasiders were handed a boost in the lead-up to the game with the news that Clark Robertson and Kyle Vassell were fit enough to start. Ollie Turton missed out with a dead leg while Curtis Tilt remained out of contention.

Rotherham, meanwhile, were without their top scorer Kieffer Moore after he was sent off in the previous league match.

The visitors made a bright start to proceedings and produced the first opportunity of the game, but tall striker Jonson Clarke-Harris was only able to direct his header wide of the Blackpool goal.

Pool were then dealt a huge blow when, with just ten minutes on the clock, Kyle Vassell was forced off with yet another injury and was replaced by Nathan Delfouneso.

Both sides were toothless in attack as they struggled to cope without their main dangermen in attack.

It looked as though it would take something special to break the deadlock and that’s exactly what happened 20 minutes in, when Kelvin Mellor bagged his third in as many games to put Blackpool ahead.

The ball fell to the right-back on the edge of the Rotherham box and he lashed it home via the inside of the post.

The goal put the wind in Blackpool’s sails and they continued to dominate possession in the first half, without ever seriously testing Marek Rodak in the Rotherham goal.

The visitors, who had been lacklustre all half, rallied in first-half injury time and had some half-hearted penalty appeals turned down after David Ball’s pullback hit the flailing hand of Clark Robertson.

The visitors made a double change at half-time and that seemed to spark some life into them.

The Millers got in behind the Blackpool defence but Ryan Williams’ pullback was superbly defended by Clark Robertson to clear the danger.

Blackpool continued to pose problems on the attack and they almost doubled their lead just before the hour mark when Viv Solomon-Otabor was presented with a chance to shoot just inside the box, but his effort was comfortably saved by Rodak.

Gary Bowyer’s men continued to pass their way out from the back but they were almost caught out when Sean Longstaff lost possession on the edge of the box. Substitute Jerry Yates was the man to intercept but he sent his shot well wide of goal when under no pressure.

The home side continued to come under the cosh and they were given a real let-off with 20 minutes remaining when Richard Woods’ close-range header hit the crossbar.

Pool could have made it more comfortable for themselves but Nathan Delfouneso wasted a golden opportunity to put some more space between the two sides.

The forward could only fire wastefully over the bar after Solomon-Otabor had run the length of the field to set him up.

They were made to pay for that miss when, a couple of minutes later, former Fleetwood Town man David Ball drew Rotherham level.

Not for the first time in recent weeks, Blackpool failed to deal with a simple ball into their box and Ball was there to steer home from close range.

His second, the goal that turned out to be the winner three minutes from time, was superbly taken as he got across his man to steer home a header at the near post.

Blackpool: Allsop, Mellor, Aimson, Robertson, Taylor, Spearing, Ryan, Longstaff (Cooke), Daniel, Solomon-Otabor, Vassell (Delfouneso)

Subs: Williams, D'Almeida, Philliskirk, Quigley, Gnanduillet

Rotherham: Rodak, Ihiekwe (Yates), Wood, Ajayi, Emmanuel, Towell, Vaulks, Williams, Mattock, Ball, Clarke-Harris (Forde)

Subs: O'Donnell, Cummings, Onariase, Wiles

Referee: Mark Heywood

Attendance: 3,654 (986 Rotherham)