Match report: Blackpool 1 Wigan Athletic 1 (Wigan win 5-4 on penalties)

Blackpool's Fin Sinclair-Smith celebrates scoring
Blackpool's Fin Sinclair-Smith celebrates scoring
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The Seasiders’ involvement in this season’s Checkatrade Trophy began with a penalty shootout defeat at Bloomfield Road.

Gary Bowyer’s side had trailed to Alex Gilbey’s second-half goal before youngster Fin Sinclair-Smith came off the bench to to level on 88 minutes.

In a cruel twist, however, Sinclair-Smith missed the sudden death penalty which saw the visitors win 5-4 after a dozen spot-kicks.

Bowyer had made 11 changes from the Blackpool side which defeated Oldham Athletic on Saturday.

He was allowed to do so given his starting line-up met the requirement of at least four outfield players having made at least 40 career first-team appearances.

If the challenge was for those players to make an impact then Sessi D’Almeida was fortunate not to make one on Chris Merrie by jumping into an early two-footed challenge.

The home side began in lively fashion with debutant Scott Quigley tricking his way past a defender and seeing a shot beaten away by Jamie Jones.

Wigan’s keeper made a more routine stop from Nathan Delfouneso as the opening quarter-hour passed with little of note coming from the visitors.

However, they came into proceedings more as the half progressed with Gilbey having shots blocked by Kelvin Mellor and Peter Hartley.

Max Power sent a free-kick into the Blackpool wall before seeing another effort from 20 yards dip narrowly over the bar.

Wigan came closest of all moments before the break when another D’Almeida foul – which brought a talking-to for the midfielder and Seasiders’ skipper Andy Taylor – gave them a free-kick 20 yards out.

Callum Lang’s effort was tipped onto the bar by Ben Williams and the loose ball cleared as the half ended goalless.

The Seasiders brought on Armand Gnanduillet at half-time for Hartley with the striker firing over barely 30 seconds after his introduction.

However, the Seasiders’ best chance came just before the hour as Danny Philliskirk sent Quigley into the area but Jones proved equal to his shot.

A more routine save for the Wigan keeper saw him hold Delfouneso’s effort before Gilbey broke the deadlock with a low shot from the edge of the area.

Delfouneso volleyed straight at Jones from distance as both sides took it in turns to shuffle their respective packs.

Wigan introduced Noel Hunt and Victor Maffeo, while Bowyer brought on Rowan Roache and Sinclair-Smith, the latter ending D’Almeida’s eventful evening.

Though the Seasiders huffed and puffed for an equaliser, they struggled to carve out much in the way of meaningful opportunities.

The closest either side looked like getting to another goal came with 10 minutes left as Williams tipped over yet another effort from Power.

However, with time running out, Sinclair-Smith got free down the left-hand side before finishing clinically.

So to penalties: Taylor, Mellor, Delfouneso and Roache scored for Blackpool with Max Clayton having missed.

Power, Gilbey, Hunt and Maffeo scored for Wigan before James Barrigan fired a potential match-winning penalty wide.

Josh Laurent then put Wigan 5-4 up before Sinclair-Smith’s effort was saved to give the visitors victory.

Blackpool: Williams, Mellor, Hartley (Gnanduillet 46), Taylor, Anderton, Philliskirk, D’Almeida (Sinclair-Smith 71), Des Pres, Delfouneso, Clayton, Quigley (Roache 71). Sub not used: Boney.

Wigan Athletic: Jones, Burke, Daniels, Thomas, Perkins, Power, Merrie (Barrigan 77), Burgess (Hunt 68), Laurent, Gilbey, Lang (Maffeo 68). Subs not used: Perrin, Gregory, Whitehead, Plant.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson.

Attendance: 1,532.