Blackpool slipped to defeat for the first time under manager Michael Appleton, as they lost 2-1 against Wolves at Bloomfield Road.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake’s strike gave the visitors a deserved early lead, but Blackpool soon took control and had at least half a dozen attempts to equilise. Visiting ‘keeper Carl Ikeme was on top form to deny Thomas Ince and Tiago Gomes on numerous occasions, before Ebanks-Blake extended his side’s lead with a penalty.
Alex Baptiste pulled a goal back for The Seasiders, but Wolves held on to take all three points back to the Midlands.
Stale Solbakken’s side started fast and were ahead inside three minutes. Jermaine Pennant played through Ebanks-Blake, and the Wolves number nine showed excellent composure to clip the ball beyond an onrushing Matt Gilks.
BLACKPOOL 0 WOLVES 1
Appleton’s side looked to shake off that sluggish start with attempts at goal of their own, but long range efforts from Gomes and Nathan Delfouneso both failed to test Ikeme.
Ince then spurned a glorious chance to equilise, when he broke clear of the Wolves defence on 31 minutes. The winger looked to be in two minds whether to go for goal or square for Wes Thomas, but in the end he did neither, as his cross-shot evaded both Thomas and the far post.
The lively Gomes then looked to have levelled moments later, when his first time shot flew beyond the grasp of Ikeme. Luck was on the side of the visitors however, as the ball cannoned off the post and away to safety.
Luck had nothing to do with the Wolves ‘keepers next intervention however, as he produced a stunning save to deny Ince. The England U21 international had been set clear on goal by Gomes, but Ikeme made himself big on the edge of his area and produced a fine right handed stop.
HALF TIME: BLACKPOOL 0 WOLVES 1
Blackpool started the second as they had finished the first, and Ince had a third chance to bring The Seasiders level, when he again got in behind the Wolves defence but saw his shot deflected for a corner.
Ikeme then once again showed his quality producing three excellent saves inside a minute. First, he flung himself across goal to palm out a Gomes header, then he turned a curling Ince effort from 18 yards around the post. Finally, from the resulting corner, he somehow got a hand to another shot from Ince, after the winger found himself with space to strike from the edge of the area.
The Seasiders must have been bemused at how they weren’t level at the very least, as they looked to continue the siege of the oppositions goal. Substitute Gary Taylor-Fletcher drove at the Wolves defence, but aimed his shot straight at Ikeme, before Ince tried his luck with another attempt, this time dragging his shot across goal and wide.
Things quietened down for Blackpool after that, with Wolves enjoying their best spell of possession since the opening minutes of the game. That possession would eventually lead to them extending their lead, as the referee spotted an infringement on Bakary Sako in the box, and pointed to the penalty spot.
Blackpool’s players protested their innocence, but Ebanks-Blake stepped up and fired his penalty down the middle of the goal and into the net.
BLACKPOOL 0 WOLVES 2
That goal was a real sucker punch for Appleton’s side, who had been punished for not taking their earlier chances. Gomes looked to get Pool back in it with a long range effort, but his shot was comfortably held by Ikeme.
Ebanks-Blake then looked certain to pile on the misery for The Seasiders, and complete his hat-trick, when he ran clear through on goal and knocked the ball beyond Gilks. With the goal gaping, the striker could only fire over the bar.
That miss looked like it could’ve proved costly, when Blackpool set up a nervy finish with a goal in the 89th minute. Taylor-Fletcher fed Nouha Dicko, who saw his close range effort saved by Ikeme, but Baptiste was there to head the ball into the net.
BLACKPOOL 1 WOLVES 2
FULL TIME: BLACKPOOL 1 WOLVES 2