Report: Blackpool 6-1 Blues
Blues were beaten by Blackpool in the Sky Bet Championship on Easter Monday.
At Bloomfield Road, first-half efforts from Jake Beesley, CJ Hamilton and Kenny Dougall gave the Seasiders a position of control.
This lead was added to when Beesley completed a brace in the 56th minute before Ivan Sunjic stroked home a consolation.
Second-half substitute Jerry Yates then scored a fifth for Neil Critchley’s team from the penalty spot with five minutes remaining and Callum Connolly made it six during injury time.
Lee Bowyer made four changes from the side that started against the Sky Blues in B9 on Good Friday. Jordan Graham, Sunjic and Jordan James came into the team, as well as Troy Deeney who wore the armband.
Blackpool took an early lead, striking inside three minutes. Hamilton’s weaving run down the channel presented a crossing opportunity and his skidded centre was converted from close range by a poised Beesley.
Blues aimed to respond instantly and a series of high-quality Graham deliveries, off either foot, were only a teammate’s touch away from an equaliser. Onel Hernandez then threatened from the opposite flank, drifting inside and having a deflected effort go narrowly wide.
However, the hosts would double their lead before a quarter of an hour had been played. Hamilton again pushed on down the right but this time, instead of looking for another tangerine shirt, went alone and fired the ball low inside the near post.
Despite the deficit, the visitors continued to attack and again Hernandez was causing problems, forcing Chris Maxwell into a smart save. But it was to be the Seasiders who found the net again before the first-half had concluded, with Dougall heading in Charlie Kirk‘s corner after 40 minutes.
HALF-TIME: Blackpool 3-0 Blues
Blues started the second period on the front foot and Lyle Taylor forced Maxwell into a flying save before Marc Roberts recorded another effort on target from the resulting corner. Blackpool’s stopper was called into action again moments later, being forced to spill the next effort as James followed his burst forward with a fizzing shot.
Although these close shaves livened the home side and they added goal number four before the hour. Zack Jeacock had initially done superbly to deny Connolly from inside the area, but Beesley was on hand to score the rebound for his second of the match.
Refusing to be beaten, Bowyer’s side pulled a goal back. On the halfway line Troy Deeney chose the right time to thread the ball through to Hernandez and despite the chance appearing to have gone when he cut back onto his favoured right foot, Sunjic was on hand to slide in the square pass with 63 minutes on the clock.
Beesley was denied a hat-trick when his header bounced out off the post before Richard Keogh failed with the follow-up. But Blackpool struck their fifth from the penalty spot after Taylor was adjudged to have committed a foul inside the area, with the recently introduced Yates beating Jeacock from 12 yards.
A sixth was added to the Seasiders' count deep into injury time when Connolly found the corner from a curling right-footed free-kick.
Blackpool's early goal immediately gave Blues work to do and they were unable to recover.
Blues remain on 45 points and have three league games to play in the 2021/22 season.
Blackpool (4-4-2): Chris Maxwell, Callum Connolly, Richard Keogh, Marvin Ekpiteta, James Husband, CJ Hamilton, Keshi Anderson, Kenny Dougall, Charlie Kirk, Shayne Lavery (Jerry Yates 69), Jake Beesley (Gary Madine 80).
Substitutes not used: Stuart Moore, Reece James, Josh Bowler, Matty Virtue, Jordan Thorniley.
Blues (3-5-2): Zack Jeacock, Nico Gordon, Marc Roberts, Kristian Pedersen, Jordan Graham (Maxime Colin 46), Ivan Sunjic, Ryan Woods, Jordan James, Onel Hernandez, Lyle Taylor, Troy Deeney (Scott Hogan 74).
Substitutes not used: Connal Trueman, Jeremie Bela, Juninho Bacuna, George Hall, Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Referee: Tim Robinson.
Attendance: 13,993 (3,330 away)
Blues' penultimate away fixture is followed by their second to last outing at St. Andrew's of the campaign. Millwall are the visitors on Saturday, kick-off 3pm, before a trip to the Welsh capital to take on Cardiff City the following weekend at the same time.