MATCH REPORT: Blackpool 1-1 Accrington Stanley

An injury time header from Accrington Stanley defender Mark Hughes denied Blackpool what would have been their second straight win.

Saturday, 25th August 2018, 4:22 pm
Updated Saturday, 25th August 2018, 7:00 pm
Nathan Delfouneso put Blackpool ahead on 66 minutes

The Seasiders appeared to be heading for the three points courtesy of Nathan Delfouneso’s 66th-minute effort - the forward’s first goal of the season.

But Hughes was left unmarked from a Stanley corner to send a looping header into the top corner of Blackpool’s net in the first minute of stoppage time.

Blackpool will be left to reflect on a number of missed opportunities before they did eventually break the deadlock through Delfouneso’s close-range effort, with Joe Dodoo, Michael Nottingham and Jay Spearing all going close.

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The main news before kick-off concerned want-away defender Curtis Tilt, who was left out of the squad amid ongoing speculation over his future.

The centre back is still wanted by Championship side Ipswich Town, who are thought to be mulling over a loan move for Tilt with a view to a permanent transfer in January - with the deadline for loan signings due to end next Friday.

Tilt was one of three changes to Blackpool's side from Tuesday night's 2-0 win against Coventry City, with Donervon Daniels and Harry Pritchard also dropping out of the starting line-up.

Daniels missed out through injury, as did Joe Bunney who was not included in the squad.

Ben Heneghan, Paudie O'Connor and Nathan Delfouneso were the three to come in.

It was the visitors who saw the first sight of goal, with former AFC Fylde man Sam Finley seeing his shot deflected wide after wriggling for room inside the Blackpool box.

But the Seasiders came closer just a few minutes later, when Nathan Delfouneso saw his glancing header well tipped over by Stanley keeper Connor Ripley.

Stanley came close after 30 minutes, when Ben Heneghan was forced to make a vital last-ditch block to deny Ross Sykes a free header at the back post.

Jordan Thompson, an impressive performer in midweek, became increasingly influential in the game and he had a go with a powerful curling effort, but Ripley was equal to his shot from distance.

The Seasiders then saw two clear-cut chances come and go in quick succession, with Nathan Delfouneso and Joe Dodoo the two men who failed to capitalise.

Both came from Thompson crosses - the first reaching Delfouneso in the centre only for the forward to see his effort well saved, before Dodoo blazed well over just a minute later from another Thompson pullback.

After an entertaining first period, the second half started sloppily with neither side capable of putting together more than three or four passes without conceding possession.

But Pool soon began to threaten, and it came via the left boot of that man Thompson again as he whipped in a superb corner which Michael Nottingham threw himself at only to see his header glance narrowly wide of the upright.

The two combined from another corner just seconds later, but this time Nottingham’s header was blocked inside the six-yard box.

Ollie Turton was then urged to shoot from the edge of the box as Pool began to turn the screw, but Ripley easily claimed his deflected effort.

Yet another chance came and went for the Seasiders as Jay Spearing volleyed agonisingly wide after a long throw had been cleared to him on the edge of the area.

It looked like it just wasn’t going to be Blackpool’s day when Dodoo had a shot cleared off the line before Delfouneso was denied on the follow-up.

But, from the following corner, Blackpool finally made the breakthrough on 66 minutes when a high looping cross from Thompson was nodded down into the path of Delfouneso who fired in from close range.

With 15 minutes to go, Accrington almost found a leveller out of nowhere as substitute Offrande Zanzala was set through on goal only for Mark Howard to deny him with a superb stop.

The rebound fell to Sean McConville who had the simple task of slotting home into an empty net but Howard got up off the floor to make a second stunning save.

Stanley came even closer on 84 minutes, when Jordan Clark glanced a header onto the post before Mark Hughes slid his effort into the side netting.

Zanzala went down in the Blackpool box in the first minute of injury time but referee Lee Mason waved away Accrington’s penalty appeals

But a minute later Stanley had their equaliser courtesy of centre back Mark Hughes, who was left unmarked from a corner to head home into the top corner despite Howard’s despairing dive.


Blackpool: Howard, Nottingham, Heneghan, O'Connor, Bola (O'Sullivan), Turton, Spearing, Thompson, Dodoo (Gnanduillet), Delfouneso, Cullen (Feeney)

Subs not used: Mafoumbi, Taylor, Pritchard, Sinclair-Smith

Accrington: Ripley, Johnson (Mangan), Styles, Hughes, Ihiewke, Clark, Conneely (Zanzala), Brown (Nolan), McConville, Finley, KeeSubs not used: Maxted, Richards-Everton, Mingoia, Platt

Referee: Lee Mason

Attendance: 3,354 (720 Accrington)