MATCH REPORT: Bolton 1-0 Blackpool
The Tangerines found themselves on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline after a spirited performance against Bolton Wanderers in the EFL Trophy.
The game, being played out in front of a sparse crowd at the Macron Stadium, seemed more akin to a reserve fixture with its low tempo and lack of intensity.
Despite their positive performance, Blackpool were unable to repeat their 4-2 extra-time win against Bolton in the first round of the EFL Cup earlier this season.
The only goal of the game came via the dangerous Sammy Ameobi, who shot into the roof of the net from close range.
Brad Potts was inches away from giving Blackpool an early lead when he flicked inches wide of the post from Mark Cullen’s inviting pull back.
But after Pool had dealt with a teasing cross into their own box, they were punished for their early miss with the hosts taking the lead from the following corner.
The Seasiders failed to clear their lines and winger Sammy Ameobi, on loan from Newcastle, flicked into the top corner at the second attempt.
Danny Philliskirk, playing in a midfield role for the third game running, found himself in space in the box when the ball fell to him following a cross from the left from Colin Daniel, but his attempt to drill it in from close range was skewed frustratingly wide.
The Trotters were having some joy with balls over the top of Blackpool’s defence and Will Aimson was forced to make a well-timed challenge with striker Jamie Proctor bearing down on goal.
Jamille Matt, coming up against former Premier League defender David Wheater, did well to hold the ball up but often found himself isolated up top.
The goalscorer Ameobi almost turned creator after surging past young full back Luke Higham, only to see his pull back well defended by Aimson in the centre of Blackpool’s defence.
Aimson was again called into action moments later when Josh Vela fired into his midriff following Zack Clough’s cross.
Potts had another good chance to get his side back on level terms when his drilled shot was deflected narrowly over the bar, after good work from Daniel to intercept the ball in the midfield of the park and break forward.
The resulting corner also saw Aimson flick towards goal with a near-post header, only for it to blocked and cleared away from the danger zone.
Gary Bowyer’s men were happy to sit back and let Bolton build up from the back, even after conceding the early goal.
There were some half-hearted appeals for a penalty from the away end when Mark Cullen went down in the box after Blackpool had broke forward at speed, but referee Kevin Friend was unmoved.
In the early stages, the Tangerines were squeezed high up the pitch and had to resort to playing long balls up to the frustrated Jamille Matt.
But as the half wore on, Blackpool frustrated their opponents and began to see some joy from the counter attack, as the game swung in their favour.
Cullen again found himself in space when the ball was diverted to him by Philliskirk, only to see his attempt blocked after cutting inside.
With Bowyer opting to make two changes for the start of the second half, the game became slow and cumbersome once again as both sides seemed content to cancel each other out.
Bolton, fielding a strong XI after their 2-0 defeat at home to Oxford at the weekend, looked bereft of confidence despite the lead and were happy to pass the ball across their back four without probing Blackpool’s defence.
Blackpool again went close when Jamille Matt’s downward header from Michael Cain’s corner was cleared off the line.
But midway through the second period the Bolton fans thought their side had doubled their lead when Zach Clough’s side-footed effort came off the inside off the post only to be cleared away to safety.
The chance seemed to invigorate the home side as they pushed on searching for their second.
Gary Madine, coming onto the field to replace the impressive Clough, found himself straight into the action seeing his left-footed curling effort clawed away from the top corner by Lyness.
Blackpool rallied in the final five minutes of the game and went close when 'keeper Ben Alnwick was forced to save at the feet of Matt just yards from goal.
Substitute Kyle Vassell also struck a well-hit shot that stung the palms of the Bolton 'keeper, but Bowyer's men were unable to push on and find an equaliser their play surely deserved.
Bolton: Alnwick, Wilson, Wheater, Thorpe, Taylor, Derik, Vela (Spearing), Clough (Madine), Ameobi, Henry, Proctor (Samizadeh)
Subs: Howard, Dervite, Beevers, Spearing, Madine, Trotter, Samizadeh
Blackpool: Lyness, Higham, Aimson, Nolan, Daniel, Potts (Yeates), McAlister, Cain, Philliskirk (Osayi-Samuel), Cullen, Matt.
Subs: Boney, Payne, Vassell, Gnanduillet
Referee: Kevin Friend
Attendance: 1,589 (333)