Match report: Wigan Athletic 2 Blackpool 1
A familiar face came back to haunt the Seasiders as their Carabao Cup participation ended in the first round.
Former loanee Jordan Flores, who helped them to promotion via last season’s League Two play-offs, struck a decisive goal just as Gary Bowyer’s players looked like only trailing by one goal at half-time.
It doubled a lead provided to the Latics by Josh Laurent, who broke the deadlock on 17 minutes.
Although Peter Hartley pulled a goal back with the hour approaching, the Seasiders’ late rally proved in vain.
Both managers had promised changes for the tie and both stuck to their word.
Bowyer made nine changes from the side beaten at Bradford City, while Wigan counterpart Paul Cook changed his whole team after victory at MK Dons.
While the Seasiders might have thought themselves unlucky to trail by two goals at half-time, they were taught a lesson in how to take chances.
Bright Osayi-Samuel, Armand Gnanduillet and Max Clayton all had efforts on the Wigan goal but could not get the better of keeper Owen Evans.
At the other end, Blackpool keeper Ben Williams pushed behind Alex Gilbey’s effort but could not stop Laurent from firing inside the post after he burst into the area.
Then, with half-time a matter of seconds away, Flores clinically fired past the keeper from long-range to turn Blackpool’s molehill into a mountain.
Williams kept them in the game with a fine stop from Grigg before the deficit was halved on 59 minutes.
Osayi-Samuel had a shot turned behind for a corner which saw Gnanduillet’s header find the net via a deflection off Hartley.
That was the cue for more Blackpool pressure which could have yielded extra time or a victory.
Solomon-Otabor curled an effort too close to Evans before substitute Jamille Matt headed a Taylor free-kick onto the top of the bar.
There was still time for Gnanduillet to fire acrobatically off target and then to drag a shot across goal in stoppage time as Blackpool’s strong second half eventually counted for nothing.
Wigan Athletic: Evans, Burke, Thomas (Stubbs 64), Daniels, James, Colclough, Laurent, Flores, Merrie (Lang 64), Gilbey, Grigg (Burgess 73). Subs not used: Lavercombe, Perkins, Hunt, Gregory.
Blackpool: Williams, Taylor, Aimson, Hartley, Anderton, Solomon-Otabor (Richards 86), Longstaff, Delfouneso, Osayi-Samuel (Matt 69), Clayton (Philliskirk 64), Gnanduillet. Subs not used: Mafoumbi, Des Pres.
Referee: Chris Sarginson.