Seasiders Lose Out Late OnBlackpool Youth are still searching for their first win of 2015 after they suffered a narrow defeat to table-toppers Wigan Athletic at Squires Gate.
A late Adrian Purzycki strike sealed all three points for the visitors in a game of very few chances.
Before the game, The Seasiders were forced to shuffle the pack as both captain Mark Waddington and vice-captain Joe Moulden were missing through injury, while winger Henry Cameron was on first-team duty.
Richie Kyle had spoken pre-match about the tough task his side faced having lost 3-1 to The Latics earlier in the season, with their captain Louis Robles proving the difference back in October. Kyle made no fewer than five changes to the side which lost out to Birmingham City in The FA Youth Cup nine days earlier.
Wigan were looking to extend a long unbeaten run which has propelled them to the top of the league, but it was the home side who shaded the opening exchanges.
After a couple of half chances for both sides, Dom Telford saw his 25-yard curling effort well saved by goalkeeper Owen Evans after 24 minutes.
As the first-half wore on, The Seasiders looked to take the game to Wigan. They were the better team and played some good football, Anthony Cato and Dom Telford looking sharp, while Alieu Njie had Robles under control at the back.
Slowly but surely, the visitors grew into the game. First Liam Langford with a long-range effort which Miles Boney parried away, then Alex Cvetkovic dragged his shot wide from the edge of the box.
As the half-time whistle blew it was clear that there wouldn’t be much in this contest, and one mistake could lead to a goal. James Doyle looked to set Pool on their way, but he shot over after 53 minutes.
The visitors were inviting pressure, which The Seasiders looked to capitalise on, Bright Samuel’s long punt into the area found the dangerous Telford, whose trickled shot beat Evans but not the line as a Wigan defender cleared.
With 20 minutes to play, the visitors carved their first real chance of the second-half, Adam Anson with space in the box, but Boney blocked his goal-bound effort to leave the striker clutching his head.
On 75 minutes, Blackpool had their chance to grab the three points, Telford whipping in a pin-point cross onto the head of Sam Roscoe, who saw his effort creep agonisingly wide of the far post with Owen and his defenders beaten.
What proceeded next were a couple of minutes of madness which cost The Seasiders dearly. From a Wigan free-kick, Sean Harrison appeared to have kicked out at Njie which led to a straight red-card for the defender, much to the despair of the away bench. This presented the perfect opportunity for Kyle’s side to grab the three points, 10 minutes to go against 10 men, the visitors were there to be beaten. Or so it seemed.
After Harrison left the field, Wigan resumed play, and from that free-kick the ball broke to Purzycki whose low shot squirmed under Boney and into the net, to break Tangerine hearts on 80 minutes.
Blackpool huffed and puffed for an equaliser in vain but the full-time whistle served a timely reminder that football can be a cruel game. Kyle’s side had performed well, but too many individual mistakes cost them dear.
A trip across the border to Wrexham is next up for Pool, where they’ll be looking to recapture their form of 2014.
Team: Miles Boney, Luke Higham, Macauley Wilson, Alieu Njie, Sam Roscoe (Tyler Rufus 86), James Doyle, Anthony Cato, Rhys Coogan (Kit Gregory 66), Bright Samuel, Dom Telford, Elliot Pond.
Subs not used: Jack Steele, Declan Lewis, Caleb Richards