Peterborough United 5-0 Blackpool: Excellent first season back in the Championship ends on a sour note

A much-changed Blackpool side suffered their heaviest defeat of the campaign in their season finale against already-relegated Peterborough United.

Saturday, 7th May 2022, 2:26 pm
Updated Saturday, 7th May 2022, 7:11 pm

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A Sammie Szmodics double and goals from Jonson Clarke-Harris, Jack Marriott and Jack Taylor meant Neil Critchley’s side ended the season with back-to-back defeats.

The Seasiders, who opted to rest a number of players, were never really at the races and the scoreline could easily have been far greater.

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The only positive was the debut handed to youth-team products Luke Mariette and Jake Daniels, who were given time off the bench in the second-half.

Despite the poor result, Blackpool have still enjoyed an excellent first season back in the Championship - finishing in 16th, 23 points clear of the bottom three.

Critchley opted to make wholesale changes, seven in total, to the side that lost to Derby County last week in Blackpool’s final home outing of the campaign.

Jordan Thorniley and James Husband missed out through injury, while Kenny Dougall, Keshi Anderson, Charlie Kirk, Shayne Lavery and Gary Madine were left out altogether.

Jonson Clarke-Harris opened the scoring for Posh in the first-half

There was a first start for Sonny Carey since Boxing Day on the midfielder’s recovery from a fractured metatarsal.

Oliver Casey, Luke Garbutt, Kevin Stewart, Owen Dale, Jerry Yates and Jake Beesley also came into the side.

Jordan Gabriel, Dujon Sterling and Grant Ward all remain sidelined through injury, while the likes of Reece James, Ethan Robson, Matty Virtue and Josh Bowler didn’t travel either.

Dan Grimshaw and Marvin Ekpiteta, aside, the subs’ bench was made up of youngsters, including 30-goal striker Jake Daniels and Luke Mariette and Rob Apter, who were both recalled from their loans at Curzon Ashton and Chester.

Peterborough, whose relegation to League One had already been confirmed, named a strong side on their final outing in the Championship.

It was the home side who threatened first through midfielder Jack Taylor, whose powerful shot was well saved by Chris Maxwell at his near post.

The shot stopper was forced into another save on 10 minutes as he palmed Ricky Jade-Jones’ curling effort away from goal.

The home side were largely controlling possession in the early stages with some neat play, but the Seasiders always looked threatening on the counter.

Nevertheless, it was Posh who threatened again in the 15th minute when Jonson Clarke-Harris powered a header towards goal which Maxwell was equal to.

Blackpool’s first chance fell to Jake Beesley after he was picked out by a lovely weighted cross from his strike partner Jerry Yates. Beesley made a good contact with his header, but keeper Dai Cornell was equal to it.

Cornell made a more routine stop from Luke Garbutt’s free-kick, which was right on the edge of the Posh box.

Maxwell kept Blackpool on level terms once again with a superb save to deny Taylor, whose powerful header looked to be heading for the top corner.

Sammie Szmodics was the next Peterborough player to test Maxwell, but Pool’s keeper stood firm to turn his cross/shot behind for a corner.

The game was temporarily halted just after the half-hour mark to allow Richard Keogh receive treatment from the physios.

The 35-year-old wasn’t able to continue though and limped off to a rapturous applause from the tangerine contingent in the away end.

His replacement Marvin Ekpiteta was involved straight away, forced to retreat and sprint back to try and deny Clarke-Harris who had rounded Maxwell.

Despite Ekpiteta getting back in time, it still wasn’t enough as Clarke-Harris showed composure to slot home into the empty net.

The Posh talisman could have made it two a couple of moments later when he caught Callum Connolly sleeping only to blaze over from close range.

Blackpool were second best in the first-half but they squandered a priceless chance to level when a partially cleared free-kick bobbled its way into the six-yard box, where Connolly could only toe-poke wide.

The Seasiders ended the half strongly, as Garbutt picked out Beesley with another floated free-kick only for the striker to fail to make contact. Most were expecting the offside flag to be raised but it never did.

The start of the second-half began in a similar vein, although Posh did try their best to gift Blackpool an equaliser when a defender gifted CJ Hamilton the ball in the box.

Hamilton showed a lack of conviction and his eventual cross was easily cleared when he had teammates in space.

The Seasiders were given a major let-off just before the hour mark when Ekpiteta slipped, giving Pool the chance to race through on goal with a two-on-one. But thankfully the Seasiders were able to recover and clear their lines.

There was nothing they could do to stop Peterborough doubling their lead a few minutes later though when Szmodics got the wrong side of two Blackpool defenders to rifle home past Maxwell.

It was a really poor goal to concede, especially when they could have countered themselves seconds earlier when they failed to pick out Jerry Yates in acres of space.

Sonny Carey almost pulled a goal back almost instantly, drilling just wide with a deflected effort after producing a delightful piece of skill to loft the ball over the head of a Posh player.

It proved to be his final action of the game though as he was replaced by 18-year-old debutant Luke Mariette - a proud moment for one of the stars of the club’s Under-19s side.

His introduction was soon overshadowed as Peterborough added a third in simple fashion, Szmodics left completely unmarked to tap home his second of the afternoon after the home side had got in far too easily down the left.

With nine minutes left on the clock, Critchley turned to his bench again to hand out another debut - this time to 17-year-old Daniels, who replaced Yates.

Posh continued to get in behind Blackpool’s full-backs down both flanks in the final stages and, were it not for some poor crossing, could have easily ended the game with six or seven goals to their name.

Nevertheless, a fourth did duly arrive five minutes from time when it was Jack Marriott’s turn to be left completely unmarked to sidefoot home from yet another wide cross.

In the final minute of normal time, Peterborough added a fifth as Jack Taylor picked out the top corner from 25 minutes.

Despite the horror scoreline, it was the travelling contingent of Blackpool fans that were singing at full-time in a show of appreciation for the season’s efforts.

TEAMS

Peterborough: Cornell, Edwards, Burrows, Jade-Jones (Randall), Fuchs (Grant), Knight, Poku, Ward, Szmodics, Taylor, Clarke-Harris (Marriott)

Subs not used: Lakin, Oluwabori, Bodnar, Kent

Blackpool: Maxwell, Connolly, Casey, Keogh (Ekpiteta), Garbutt, Stewart, Carey (Mariette), Hamilton, Dale, Yates (Daniels), Beesley

Subs not used: Grimshaw, Moore, Strawn, Apter

Referee: Andy Woolmer

Attendance: 9,118