Memory Match: Blackburn 1-2 Blackpool, 1977

Jeff Chandler had a debut to remember
Jeff Chandler had a debut to remember

Matt Scrafton trawls through the archives to look back at Blackpool's hard-earned win at Ewood Park on September 10, 1977.

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Mickey Walsh got his name on the scoresheet

Mickey Walsh got his name on the scoresheet

Blackpool strengthened their position near the top of the Division Two table with a hard-earned win at rain-soaked Blackburn to give them three wins out of three in their last league visits to Ewood Park.

The Seasiders built a deserved 2-0 lead by half-time but had to defend grimly to keep Rovers out in a pulsating second-half fightback.

Blackpool regained their pride with a skillful and fighting display inspired by simply superb Bob Ward in goal who made some magnificent saves.

But Pool had plenty of chances to increase their lead carved by Mickey Walsh and Jeff Chandler, on his debut, who scored a goal to match his enthusiasm throughout.

Peter Suddaby marshalled the defence superbly in the second half when Blackpool should have had a penalty.

Blackpool gave Chandler his first-team debut in midfield after he had been a substitute in their last home game against Bristol Rovers.

Pool also welcomed back Alan Ainscow after a knee injury had kept him out from the start of the season.

He replaced Dave Tong, who had a leg strain and Chandler came in for defender Paul Hart; out with a suspected cartilage trouble with Stan McEwan dropping back to sweeper.

Keeper Bob Ward and right-back Paul Gardner recovered from injuries suffered at Sheffield Wednesday the previous Monday but Larry Milligan was named substitute in case of any reaction from Gardner’s badly-bruised ankle.

Heavy drizzle made the pitch soft and the surface was awkward but made for exciting football.

Harton turned on Harrison’s pass into the box and his cross was turned for a corner.

Harrison found Finnigan whose curling shot from just inside the box was saved by the keeper at the near post.

There was drama after five minutes when Wagstaffe surged unchecked into the Blackpool box and a goal was on before Ainscow seemed to pull him back by shirt and a penalty was given.

Captain Parkes sent the penalty to Ward’s left but the Blackpool keeper dived to save only for the referee to order the spot kick to be retaken.

Parkes put the ball in the same spot and Ward again saved.

Suddaby had to make a good tackle on Hird who burst into the Blackpool box.

Ronson screwed a shot wide after a good move involving Hatton and Parkes almost made amends for his penalty miss but Suddaby’s challenge forced Parkes to lift his shot over the bar.

Blackpool took the lead with a spectacular goal from Walsh after 13 minutes.

Blackpool built a good attack and Gardner sent in a perfect cross from the right to the near post and Walsh dived bravely to glance a header past Bradshaw at the far post.

Walsh could have had a second headed goal from another classic Finnigan chip but Bradshaw booted away.

But Blackpool found that second goal on 26 minutes with Gardner’s long through headed on by Walsh to Finnigan, whose pass across the box was knocked in beautifully by young Chandler.

Hatton should have made it three on the half hour when Finnigan’s superb pass sent him clear with only the goalkeeper to beat, but he lofted his shot over the bar.

Ward’s brilliance in the Blackpool goal kept Rovers out when he palmed right handed and at full stretch a fine shot by Hird.

Metcalfe was forced to shoot over the bar as Rovers tried to pull one back and Ward again showed impeccable handling when Wagstaffe hammered a free kick through the wall and the goalkeeper saved well.

Blackburn came out fighting in the second half and Wagstaffe’s fierce drive was blocked by Suddaby.

But Blackpool should have had a penalty when Ronson and Ainscow swapped passes in the box and Ainscow’s flick to set up a certain goal was blatantly handled by Hawkins. But the referee waved play on.

Rovers laid into Blackpool in a concerted spell of attacking, forcing corners and chances to get back into the game.

Hatton sliced wide of his own goal and Hird’s shot was deflected for a corner.

Rovers eventually got back in it on 69 minutes when sub Noel Brotherston scored as the tight-fisted Blackpool defence, led superbly by Suddaby and solid to a man, at last gave way.

Blackpool wasted a number of chances to restore their two-goal lead on the break but it wasn’t to matter, as the Seasiders held on to inflict Rovers’ first league defeat of the season.