Swindon Town 0-2 Blackpool: Jerry Yates scores against his former side as Seasiders return to League One play-offs with FIFTH straight away win

Blackpool saw off strugglers Swindon Town to win their fifth away game on the bounce and reclaim their spot in the League One play-offs.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 4:57 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd April 2021, 4:58 pm

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Swindon Town v Blackpool as it happened

Blackpool saw off strugglers Swindon Town to win their fifth away game on the bounce and reclaim their spot in the League One play-offs.

Goals in either half from Ellis Simms and Jerry Yates saw the Seasiders extend their unbeaten run to 12 games in the first game of Blackpool’s Easter double-header.

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Jerry Yates celebrates after netting against his former club

It was a thoroughly professional display from Neil Critchley’s men, who edged ahead on the stroke of half-time through Simms after a dominant, but frustrating opening 45 minutes.

The Seasiders remained in control in the second-half and got the second goal they deserved when Yates rounded the goalkeeper to score against his former side, and also his 18th goal of the campaign.

Blackpool’s victory, which was accompanied by their 16th clean sheet of the campaign, was their first at the County Ground in 35 years.

The result sets us up nicely for Easter Monday’s Bloomfield Road clash against play-off rivals Gillingham, who sit two points behind Blackpool in the league table.

Critchley opted to make two changes to the side that drew 2-2 with Plymouth Argyle last week.

Demetri Mitchell was surprisingly dropped to the bench despite delivering a Man of the Match display in his last outing.

Jordan Thorniley also dropped down to the bench, as Daniel Gretarsson and Ellis Simms came into the starting line-up - seeing Pool revert to 4-4-2.

Dan Ballard returned from international duty but was only named among the substitutes having started in Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria on Wednesday night.

Marvin Ekpiteta, James Husband, Kevin Stewart, Matty Virtue, Keshi Anderson, CJ Hamilton and Gary Madine remain sidelined through injury, while Bez Lubala is unavailable due to a club matter.

Husband, who has been out with a foot injury since the 1-1 draw against Burton Albion in mid-March, took part in the warm-up and looks close to making his return.

Swindon, who started the game just a point above the dropzone, made one change to the side that beat Bristol Rovers 1-0 last week, having overcome Fleetwood Town the game before.

John Sheridan’s side were clearly full of confidence early on and ought to have edged ahead as early as the fourth minute.

Brett Pitman was the man to squander his chance, skewing wide from 10 yards after being picked out in space by Jordan Garrick.

Blackpool threatened for the first time on 15 minutes when Elliot Embleton, playing further out to the right, picked out Jerry Yates with a clever threaded pass.

The striker, who enjoyed a prolific loan spell with Swindon last season, was just about to pull the trigger before a Swindon man recovered to clear behind for a corner.

Critchley’s men saw plenty of the ball in the opening period but Swindon were happy for them to keep possession, opting to sit back and soak up pressure.

It made for a largely dull affair, with the Seasiders struggling to break down Swindon’s stubborn deep block and the hosts failing to capitalise on their counter-attacks when they came.

Pool remained patient in their build-up play, creating a half chance for Embleton on the half-hour mark, which the Sunderland loanee blazed over the bar from range.

The visitors slowly but surely began to turn the screw and came inches away from breaking the deadlock when Grant Ward volley agonisingly wide after latching onto a partially-cleared cross.

Pool were well in control of proceedings but were just lacking a little bit of a cutting edge in the final third.

That all changed on the stroke of half-time when Jordan Gabriel clipped a lovely ball into the path of Ellis Simms in the right-hand channel.

The ball bounced up invitingly for the Everton loanee, but he still had plenty to do. But he showed impressive composure to lash the ball past Lee Camp and into the back of the net for his fourth goal in tangerine.

Pool looked to build on their lead at the beginning of the second-half and had a good opening to do exactly that when Embleton and Yates broke at pace, but the counter-attack broke down at the all-important moment.

Luke Garbutt tried his luck with a long-range free-kick when a cross into the box looked to be the better option, whistling the set-piece a yard or two wide of the Swindon goal.

Blackpool remained comfortable, but they needed to capitalise on their dominance and get a second goal.

Step forward Jerry Yates, who doubled Pool’s lead against the side he helped to promotion from League Two last season.

The 24-year-old beat the offside trap to latch onto Daniel Gretarsson’s long ball, before rounding the keeper and slotting home into the empty net for his 18th goal of the season.

The home side almost reduced the deficit immediately after Blackpool’s second goal, but Chris Maxwell produced a stunning save to turn Jack Payne’s fierce drive behind.

Yates, having been a little quiet up to his goal, then came close to scoring his second of the game when he volleyed over after Anthony Grant’s block had flicked up nicely for him.

Brett Pitman curled an effort wide from the edge of the box for Swindon, who showed more ambition in a five-minute period than they had mustered for the entirety of the game up to that point.

As if Blackpool don’t have enough problems at centre-back at the minute, they were made to sweat when Daniel Gretarsson went down with a knock.

The centre-back wanted to play on, but Critchley took no chances and replaced him with Jordan Thorniley with 13 minutes remaining.

The Seasiders almost bagged a third when Embleton curled just wide of the upright on his weak foot after displaying some lovely footwork to bamboozle two Swindon men.

Critchley also took no chances with Sullay Kaikai, who was brought off five minutes from time and replaced by Ethan Robson after briefly going to ground with a knock.

Pool saw out the five minutes of stoppage-time without any trouble to claim another away-day win to take them back into the top six.

TEAMS

Swindon: Camp, Iandolo, Grant, Odimayo, Thompson (Grounds), Caddis (Smith), Palmer, Payne, Garrick, Twine (J. Grant), Pitman (Hope)

Subs not used: Matthews, Curran, Omotoye

Blackpool: Maxwell, Gabriel, Turton, Gretarsson (Thorniley), Garbutt, Dougall, Ward, Embleton, Kaikai, Simms (Mitchell), Yates

Subs not used: Moore, Ballard, Antwi, Robson, Apter

Referee: Carl Boyeson

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