Max Clayton’s 88th minute strike secured Blackpool their first victory in the group stages of the Checkatrade Trophy this evening, as The Seasiders beat Accrington Stanley 2-1.
The forward notched his first goal for the club late on to avoid a penalty shoot-out taking place to decide the winner of a bonus point in Group B.
Manager Gary Bowyer made nine changes for the match, with Curtis Tilt and Nathan Delfouneso the only players remaining from the team that started at Southend United last time out. Goalkeeper Christoffer Mafoumbi made his competitive debut for the club.
The lively Mehki McLeod had the first two opportunities of the game, both of which flew wide of Christoffer Mafoumbi’s left-hand post.
At the other end, Blackpool were putting together a number of good, passing moves without testing Accrington ‘keeper Aaron Chapman.
It was the opposition who continued to look more threatening in front of goal, with Eric Sousa clipping the crossbar with a free-kick and Mallik Wilks firing wide of the far post.
Scott Quigley, who was holding the ball up well for Blackpool, had a strike quickly charged down as The Seasiders looked to register an effort on target.
Accrington did just that moments later, when McLeod drew a save out of Mafoumbi, who was making his competitive debut prior to heading off on international duty with Congo.
Blackpool finally made the most of an opportunity on 33 minutes, when Danny Philliskirk fired in from the edge of the box.
The lead only last five minutes though, as Erico Sousa was left unmarked at the back post to send a diving header past Mafoumbi to equalise.
A well-worked short corner between Callum Cooke and Andy Taylor resulted in the latter hitting the side netting with a shot from just outside the box.
Half-Time: Accrington Stanley 1 Blackpool 1
Fantastic footwork from Mallik Wilks presented a great opportunity for the home side to take the lead after the restart, however the forward blazed over the bar.
Max Clayton then had a great opportunity to restore Blackpool’s lead but was unable to convert after Scott Quigley’s strike was parried into his path.
The chances continued to come for both sides, with Wilks guilty of missing another great opportunity for Accrington after being slipped through on goal. Almost a carbon copy followed minutes later, though this time he hit the outside of the post.
Blackpool’s goalscorer in the previous Checkatrade Trophy match, Fin Sinclair-Smith, was introduced for Scott Quigley in the 71st minute. It was the youngster’s super cross that almost brought another Blackpool goal, but Nathan Delfouneso was unable to find the net.
With penalties looming for a bonus point in the group, Max Clayton scored the decisive goal to give Blackpool the victory. The forward fired in off the post from six-yards out to score his first for the club and wrap the match up.
The result moved Blackpool on to four points in Northern Group B of the competition.
Full-Time: Accrington Stanley 1 Blackpool 2