Report and ratings as Blackpool see off Bolton Wanderers to go clear at the top of the Central League

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Blackpool’s development squad saw off Bolton Wanderers in clinical fashion to go clear at the top of the Central League.
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The two sides were separated by only goal difference prior to kick-off, albeit Stephen Dobbie’s side had played one game fewer.

But the Seasiders are now three points clear with a game in hand still to play thanks to a 4-1 win at Bolton’s Eddie Davies Academy in Lostock.

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Brad Holmes and the returning Beryly Lubala were both at the double as the visitors ran amok against their nearest rivals.

Lubala was the only first-teamer to feature, the winger handed some minutes after recently being recalled from an unsuccessful loan spell with Colchester United.

It was a 2010 reunion of sorts with Dobbie joined by Ian Evatt and Matt Gilks, who are both involved on Bolton’s coaching staff, and former assistant Steve Thompson, who is now head of recruitment at Oldham Athletic.

Despite a dominant first-half display, Pool almost found themselves going a goal behind inside the first two minutes when Conor Carty went close after capitalising on a defensive mistake.

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Stephen Dobbie's side are now clear at the top of the Central League table. Picture: Blackpool FCStephen Dobbie's side are now clear at the top of the Central League table. Picture: Blackpool FC
Stephen Dobbie's side are now clear at the top of the Central League table. Picture: Blackpool FC

But Dobbie’s men soon asserted their control, taking the lead with Holmes’ first of the afternoon thanks to a sweeping finish from Donovan Lescott’s pullback.

Luke Mariette almost added a second only to be denied by the goalkeeper’s sprawling legs after being teed up by scorer Holmes.

Blackpool duly made it 2-0 shortly afterwards though with Lubala tucking away a penalty after being brought down in the Bolton box.

Tayt Trusty, wearing the captain’s armband and back in midfield, stung the palms of the Bolton shot stopper with a rasping drive from 25 yards.

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Holmes went close again with two close-range attempts which were both blocked, but he wasn’t to be denied his brace when he made it 3-0 with another slotted finish.

This time the forward drilled home at the back post from Mariette’s left-wing cross. The keeper desperately tried to keep the ball out but the linesman ruled it had gone over the line.

Blackpool’s first-half rout was almost complete on the stroke of half-time when Lubala hunted a fourth only to curl just wide after cutting in from the left.

Five minutes into the second-half Holmes, who looked full of confidence on a hat-trick, was forced off with an injury, with Zak Emmerson taking his place.

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His replacement almost got in on the act when he side footed inches wide of the far post having sprung the offside trap, minutes after Lescott had struck the outside of the post from Lubala’s clever through ball.

The winger did end up completing his brace though when he smashed home from close range after Bolton had failed to clear their lines.

The hosts were much improved in the second period though and did put Blackpool under some pressure - and they did end up reducing the deficit through Carty who fired beyond Archie Cunningham following some hesitant defending from Alex Lankshear.

Despite the setback, the Seasiders went straight back onto the attack, coming close to a fifth through Emmerson who drove just over the bar.

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Bolton: Hutchinson, Senior, Khumbeni, Toure, Inwood, Sackey, Tutte, Stanley, Carty, Pettifer, Sithole

Subs: Frimpong, Jones, Grivosti, Sharples-Ahmed, Tweedley

Blackpool: Cunningham, Moore, Squires, Lankshear, Hughes, Nyame (Byron), Mariette, Trusty, Lubala, Lescott (Francis), Holmes (Emmerson)

Subs: Spinelli, Donkor

Referee: Nat Cox


Cunningham - 7

Moore - 8

Squires - 7

Lankshear - 6

Hughes - 8

Nyame - 8

Trusty - 8

Mariette - 7

Lescott - 8

Lubala - 9

Holmes - 8