Report: Blackpool 2 Millwall 1
Substitute Nathan Delfouneso’s stoppage time winner gave Blackpool a first home win of 2013, as they came from behind to beat Millwall 2-1.
James Henry’s corner crept in on 32 minutes to give the Lions the lead, before Thomas Ince equilised in the second half with his 17th goal of the campaign.
Steve Thompson’s men continued to push for a winner, which looked as though it might elude them, until Delfouneso’s assured finish just before time gave the Tangerines a much needed three points.
A lightning quick start from the visitors almost saw them take the lead within the opening minute. James Henry slipped Martyn Woolford in behind the Blackpool back-line, but the former Bristol City winger dragged his shot across Mark Halstead and wide of the target.
Gary Taylor-Fletcher then responded for Pool with an effort from just outside the area which flew just wide, before Matt Phillips could only find the side netting with his low drive from a similar distance.
Woolford again found space in the Blackpool penalty area, and this time tested Halstead with a right-footed strike across goal. The shot was spilled by the young ‘keeper, but the onrushing Rob Hulse could only manage to find the foot of the post with the rebound.
The visitors did take the lead just after the half hour mark, and in bizarre circumstances. After Liam Trotter had forced a corner down the right, Henry’s cross with the outside of his boot managed to avoid everyone as it sneaked in at the near post.
BLACKPOOL 0 MILLWALL 1
Hulse then came within inches of doubling the Lion’s lead before the break, only to again be denied by the woodwork. After goalscorer Henry had slipped the striker beyond the Blackpool back-line, the on loan QPR man attempted an audacious chip over Halstead which bounced off the crossbar and to safety.
The Seasiders looked to capitalise on that bit of good fortune, but found the final ball going astray frustratingly often. Ince had his side’s last effort of the first-half, but his left-footed shot was easily held by Millwall ‘keeper David Forde.
HALF-TIME: BLACKPOOL 0 MILLWALL 1
Blackpool looked to continue that kind of pressure following the re-start, but had to wait until just before the hour mark to test Forde. Alex Baptiste’s low cross was almost turned in by Chris Basham, but the visiting goalie adjusted his feet quickly to make a smart save.
There would be absolutely nothing the Forde could do about Pool’s next shot on goal however, as Ince levelled on 62 minutes. The England U21 international, who scored twice for his country during the week, picked up the ball 30 yards from goal before breezing past Danny Shittu and coolly slotting into the net.
BLACKPOOL 1 MILLWALL 1
Those celebrations were very nearly cut-short for Steve Thompson’s side, as Millwall almost restored their lead virtually from the kickoff. Hulse found himself with space to shoot in the box, but Halstead stood up well make an excellent stop from close range.
Attacking excursions from the Lions were becoming less frequent in the second half, as Blackpool looked the side more likely to make something happen. Stephen Crainey’s long range effort had Forde scrambling across his goal, but in the end the ‘keeper saw it comfortably wide.
A scramble in the penalty area then saw Taylor-Fletcher denied by a block from point blank range, before Ince fired the rebound over the bar.
The introduction of Andy Keogh brought fresh attacking impetus for Kenny Jackett’s men, and the attacker was involved in a swift Millwall counter attack which brought about their next effort on target. Hulse cut the ball back across to Henry, who created the space to shoot but didn’t trouble Halstead who produced a comfortable catch.
As was the case in last week’s game against Barnsley at Bloomfield Road, there was to be a late winner, but this time it was Blackpool who got it. Nathan Defouneso neatly controlled the ball in the box, and then kept his composure to hook the ball beyond Forde and into the net.
BLACKPOOL 2 MILLWALL 1
Despite only seconds remaining, there was still time for Millwall to come within inches of snatching a point, but on this occasion the luck was well and truly with the Tangerines. Shane Lowry’s stunning, dipping volley left Halstead stranded, but once again the crossbar came to Blackpool’s rescue, as they held on for the victory.
FULL TIME: BLACKPOOL 2 MILLWALL 1