Report: Blackpool 2 Carlisle 2
Kyle Vassell and Armand Gnanduillet were both on the scoresheet as Blackpool came from behind to share the spoils with Carlsile United.
The Seasiders fell behind shortly after the break through Charlie Wyke, before Michael Raynes made it two.
Blackpool were not to be deterred, however. Vassell’s header sparked a resilient comeback before Gnanduillet raced through to level things up.
Nine minutes in Blackpool had their first real chance. Gnanduillet edged in front of his marker at the near post to meet a Kelvin Mellor’s cross, but his glancing header hit the wrong side of the post.
Dominating the midfield in the opening exchanges, Jack Payne ventured forward just after the 20 minute mark and let go a left-footed strike from 20 yards which forced a fine save from Mark Gillespie.
Shortly before the break, Gnanduillet again was causing The Cumbrians’ defence problems. This time a long, searching ball found Blackpool’s big man up top, who outmuscled the centre-half with ease to brilliantly take the ball down in the area. He managed to shift the ball into a shooting position but could only find the side-netting with his effort.
The Seasiders then piled on even more pressure. A fabulous piece of skill from Vassell was followed by a left-footed strike which flashed just wide thanks to a slight touch from the Carlisle goalkeeper.
The set-piece that followed also almost, again, saw Blackpool take the lead. Tom Aldred going close to breaking the deadlock after a scramble in the opposition’s box.
In a frantic first 45 minutes of football, Gary Bowyer’s men enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and provided all of the game’s major chances in the game, but ultimately failed to make their early dominance pay.
Half-time score: Blackpool 0 Carlisle United 0
Against the run of play, Carlisle made the breakthrough just five minutes after the interval. A deflected shot from Jabo Ibehre looped high into the air and hit the top of the crossbar after it had the backtracking Sam Slocombe struggling. The ball rebounded and the quickest to react was Carlisle’s Wyke, who tapped home from two yards out.
Minutes later, Blackpool were 2-0 down. A free-kick from Nicky Adams was whipped in with too much pace and power for the ‘Pool defence to deal with and Raynes rose the tallest to head home the travelling side’s second goal in quick succession.
The Seasiders were much quicker to react to the second goal than they were to the first, however. Vassell nodded home from short range after great work from Gnanduillet on the right-hand side to reduce the deficit.
In the 74th minute Blackpool’s pressure, which had been piled on vigorously since conceding, finally paid. Gnanduillet levelled the scoring to set-up a grandstand finish at Bloomfield Road.
Proving once again that he is too strong for The Cumbrian defence, the Frenchman outfought the defender, who initially looked the favourite, for a high ball and found himself the victor to leave himself one-on-one with Gillespie and he comfortably slotted into the net to make it 2-2.
Unfortunately for Pool, the game was to end as a draw. Despite a plethora of late chances for both sides and lots of pressure on the Carlisle defence, the spoils were to be shared in a fast paced game largely dominated from The Seasiders.
Full-time score: Blackpool 2 Carlisle United 2
By Pete McCarthy