Report: Swindon 3 Blackpool 2
Blackpool were undone by a late Swindon Town winner as Nicky Ajose bagged a hat-trick to leave Neil McDonald’s men empty handed, despite a spirited display.
The visitors had looked on course for a point after Danny Philliskirk’s successful penalty, but Ajose scuffed home the winner two minutes from time.
Tom Aldred’s bullet header gave Pool an early advantage, before Ajose pounced on an uncharacteristic error from Colin Doyle.
Ajose was on hand to put The Robins in front before Philliskirk levelled from the spot, but it wasn’t to be for The Seasiders.
McDonald couldn’t have dreamt for a better start last night, as Aldred was again amongst the goals in the second minute. He met Mark Yeates’ in swinging corner with a bullet header, which crashed beyond Lawrence Vigouroux.
That was Blackpool’s first attempt on target and Swindon duly equalised with theirs. After being passed fit to start, Doyle’s error led to it, after he spilled Jonathan Obika’s shot and Ajose pounced for 1-1.
In wet and windy conditions, Yeates then tried his luck from range, but Vigouroux safely gathered the ball for the hosts. It was on the break when Pool were having their joy and once the game began to open up Philliskirk flicked a header at the home stopper.
With Pool looking a threat on the break, the game was suiting Yeates, who cut inside and had an effort cleared by the Swindon defence, as the two sides went in level at The County Ground.
Half-Time: Swindon 1 Blackpool 1
If his mistake was the talking point of the opening period, Doyle quickly made amends after the break, making himself big to deny Obika who’d skipped clear of the Blackpool defence.
The stopper was being kept busy after the break and made simple saves to keep out Ajose and Obika soon after. The conditions were starting to kill the game as a contest, as Bradley Barry’s long-range shot was easily kept out by Doyle.
However, the goalkeeper could do nothing to prevent the hosts turning their dominance into a lead. Barry skipped past Potts with ease and his terrific cross in front of the Pool goal was turned in at the back post by Ajose.
That goal provoked McDonald to make his first change, swapping Yeates with Bright Osayi-Samuel. Just four minutes after falling behind Blackpool had themselves level again, as a key refereeing decision went their way.
From McAlister’s corner Clark Robertson was coming in at the back post and was hauled down for a penalty. Philliskirk confidently stepped up to ram the spot-kick into the roof of the net and drag his side level once more.
At this point, with 15 minutes on the clock, it really was anybody’s game and Hayden White did brilliantly to throw himself in front of Ajose’s effort, with the striker on his hat-trick.
Pool’s second substitute saw Jarrett Rivers replace David Norris, with McAlister moving inside. Brandon Omonde-Ottewell saw his speculative effort deflected wide, with Doyle rooted to the spot.
With five minutes remaining Jack Redshaw came on in place of Cullen. However, there would be one final sing in the tail as Ajose wrapped up his hat-trick, scuffing home the winner after Doyle had denied Obika.
There was one final chance for The Seasiders, but Will Aimson headed straight at Vigouroux at the death.
Full-Time: Swindon 3 Blackpool 2