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Match Reports

Report: Gillingham 2 Blackpool 2

Seasiders Fight Back For Point At Priestfield

20 August 2019

Blackpool fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 in a pulsating encounter at Gillingham.

Having found themselves behind following a brace from Alex Jakubiak, the Seasiders rallied through Sullay Kaikai and Armand Gnanduillet to salvage a point.

All the goals came in the first-half, with both sides having opportunities to win it in the second 45, yet neither managed to do so.

The Seasiders were boosted by the return of skipper Jay Spearing for the fixture, who had recovered sufficiently from the shoulder injury that ruled him out against Oxford United.

However, it was the hosts who made the stronger start to the game, taking the lead in the ninth minute. On loan Watford striker Alex Jakubiak was afforded time and space to pick out the bottom corner from just inside the area.

Gillingham continued to look threatening in possession, holding their shape and countering when they found space. Blackpool, meanwhile, couldn’t find the rhythm required in attack.

The blow of losing Nathan Delfouneso followed, with the forward going down injured in the centre-circle. Callum Guy was the man to replace him.

Despite the change, Blackpool continued to find themselves under pressure. Jak Alnwick made himself big to deny Elliott List from finding the net but was then unable to prevent Gillingham scoring a second a minute later. The man who got it was Jakubiak again.

The response from The Seasiders was stunning. First, Sullay Kaikai found himself unmarked in the box to reduce the deficit, then Curtis Tilt struck the post on the half-volley.

As the half-time whistle was about to blow, Armand Gnanduillet headed in an equaliser to get Blackpool back on level terms.  

Half-Time: Gillingham 2 Blackpool 2

Six minutes after the restart, Gnanduillet almost carved out an opportunity to put Pool ahead. The striker was slotted through by Feeney but saw his strike deflect behind under pressure.

Both teams were pushing for the lead and committing numbers forward in attack, yet neither side could muster a clear chance to go in front.

A powerful strike from Gnanduillet nearly changed that, taking wicked deflection before falling wide of the post.

Gnanduillet then looked to turn provider, nodding the ball down for Kaikai to shoot on the turn. Unfortunately, the winger was unable to keep his effort from rising over the bar.

Another chance soon presented itself for Kaikai though, which he hit sweetly on the volley. It took a fantastic save from Jack Bonham to prevent the ball from rocketing into the net.  

At the other end, Jak Alnwick was positioned well to pull off a save from Gillingham substitute Mikael Mandron.

The hosts were now piling on the pressure, pumping ball after ball into the box to challenge for. Manager Simon Grayson opted to introduce Nick Anderton as a replacement for Liam Feeney and utilise him at centre-half.

Blackpool held firm under the aerial bombardment and had a late chance to win it through Jordan Thompson, though a point was probably fair on balance.

Full-Time: Gillingham 2 Blackpool 2

Team: Alnwick, Bushiri (Nottingham 73), Edwards, Tilt, Turton, Feeney (Anderton 84), Spearing, Thompson, Delfouneso (Guy 28), Kaikai, Gnanduillet

Unused: Mafoumbi, Pritchard, Shaw, Hardie

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