Preston 1-0 Blackpool: Seasiders produce abject display to lose the derby at Deepdale

Blackpool’s quest to complete a first double over rivals Preston in 48 years eluded them as they slumped to a disappointing defeat at Deepdale.

Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 9:56 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 12:05 am


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Blackpool goalkeeper Dan Grimshaw rushed to hospital following nasty collision d...

Cameron Archer’s effort in first-half stoppage-time was enough to separate the two sides but in truth, the Seasiders could have no complaints with the result.

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Neil Critchley’s side lacked quality throughout and were lacking in intent from the off, especially in the first-half when the damage was done by the home side.

Perhaps more worrying for the Seasiders was with withdrawl of goalkeeper Dan Grimshaw just 10 minutes into the game.

The shot stopper was stretchered off and rushed to hospital following a nasty collision with Preston’s eventual goalscorer, with some watching on Sky Sports suggesting the PNE man ought to have been sent off.

Blackpool were dealt two selections blows ahead of kick-off with the news that both Dujon Sterling and Kevin Stewart were missing through injury.

Cameron Archer's goal was the difference between the two sides

Sterling wasn’t entirely unexpected as the defender was forced to hobble off with a sore ankle during Saturday’s defeat to Nottingham Forest.

With Jordan Gabriel only just returning from a five-week lay-off, Critchley opted not to risk him and instead went for Callum Connolly at right-back.

That was one of four changes, as Richard Keogh also replaced Jordan Thorniley at centre-back having returned from a calf injury at the weekend.

Ethan Robson was the man to take Stewart’s spot in midfield alongside Kenny Dougall, while Keshi Anderson made his first start since January in place of Jerry Yates - starting in the number 10 role off Gary Madine.

There was a spot on the bench for Matty Virtue, who hasn’t made an appearance for Pool since injuring his ACL at Oxford in March of last year.

Luke Garbutt, Grant Ward and Sonny Carey all remain sidelined.

Preston, meanwhile, made three changes from their weekend defeat to Derby County.

Ryan Lowe’s side started the night one point and one position below the Seasiders in the league table, having played one game more.

Deepdale was a cauldron of noise as the two sets of players took to the field, as Preston used the occasion to mark what would have been the 100th birthday of legendary figure Sir Tom Finney.

The Seasiders started the game brightly, winning a corner inside the opening 60 seconds thanks to a CJ Hamilton break down the left.

Pool worked a short corner to the returning Ethan Robson, who could only side foot over the bar from the edge of the box.

On the 10-minute mark, the game was stopped for a number of minutes following a nasty challenge on Dan Grimshaw.

It came after the Pool keeper raced out of his goal to claim the ball at the feet of Cameron Archer, who had been played through on goal.

After a lengthy stoppage, where Grimshaw didn’t move, the shot stopper was stretchered off and replaced by former Preston man Chris Maxwell, who was predictably booed as he entered the field of play.

Once play resumed, both sides exchanged good opportunities as Josh Bowler saw a shot blocked at one end and Archer had an effort deflect over the bar at the other.

Preston rattled the woodwork from the resulting corner, as Andrew Hughes met Ben Whiteman’s delivery with a header that clipped the top of the crossbar.

The crossbar came to Blackpool’s rescue once again when Brad Potts’ right-wing cross took a heavy deflection and looped over Maxwell.

Pool were finally beginning to find their feet in the game and sustain some pressure, as Callum Connolly had a close-range effort blocked by Potts.

But it was at this moment in the game that the hosts took the lead in the second minute of 11 added on at the end of the first-half.

Predictably, the opener came via Archer, the man who could have arguably been sent off for his recklesness for Grimshaw’s withdrawl.

The forward too his goal incredibly well, latching onto a through-ball before drilling across Maxwell and into the far corner.

It came after Keshi Anderson thought he ought to have been awarded a free-kick at the other end after being tripped, but it looked like the winger was looking for it more than anything.

Critchley, a little surprisingly, didn’t make any changes at the interval as something drastically needed to change.

The first opening of the second period again came the way of Preston, but Marvin Ekpiteta showed good awareness before blocking Riis’ goalbound effort.

The pattern of play remained the same, the openings coming the way of the home side as Pool struggled to get a foothold in midfield.

The Seasiders finally showed a bit of intent when Anderson broke forward and fed Bowler, who was crowded out in the Preston box after showing some clever footwork.

Critchley’s side began to see more of the ball as the game crept towards the hour mark, but their play was still far too predictable and pedestrian - and the hosts were only too happy to sit back and soak it up.

Blackpool needed a spark and they turned to the bench for one, introducing Shayne Lavery in place of the largely ineffective CJ Hamilton.

The change a move back to 4-4-2, with Andersn moving to the left wing away from his initial number 10 role.

While Preston weren’t as threatening as they were in the first, they still caused problems every now and then, Ben Whiteman shooting wide of the upright with an outswinging effort.

With just over 10 minutes left on the clock, Pool had some half-hearted penalty appeals waved away when the ball appeared to hit the hand on a Preston defender in the box.

Jerry Yates also came off the bench, as did Matty Virtue to make his first appearance in tangerine in 13 months.

Two minutes later it was Preston’s turn to appeal for a spot kick as a powerful Whiteman shot hit the arm of Marvin Ekpiteta.

The home fans thought David Webb had given it too as he appeared to point to the spot, when in fact he was signalling for a goal kick.

Ethan Robson ballooned a woeful effort well over the bar three mintues from time to sum up Blackpool’s drab evening.

The visitors never looked like even coming close to equalising in stoppage-time, never mind actually doing it - and Preston saw out the four minutes of stoppage-time with ease.

The referee eventually called time on the game, inflicting a second successive defeat on the Seasiders who face another Lancashire derby on Saturday away to Blackburn Rovers.