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04 May 2021 Venue Bloomfield Road Attendance

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English Football League - League One

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PREVIEW | Blackpool vs Rovers

4 May 2021

Rovers will be looking to make it three away league games unbeaten when they travel to face Blackpool on Tuesday night.

Andy Butler’s side beat Rochdale 2-1 last time out, thanks to a double from Brighton & Hove Albion loanee Taylor Richards. 

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Blackpool’s recent form 

The Seasiders have lost two of their past six league outings, stretching back to a goalless draw at home to Accrington Stanley on April 13. They beat Sunderland at Bloomfield Road four days later, before a narrow defeat on the road at Rochdale was followed by a 1-0 loss at home to Shrewsbury Town. 

They got back to winning ways by completing a league double over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, and then comfortably beat Northampton Town 3-0 in their last league game. 

The man in charge   

Former Liverpool U23s head coach Neil Critchley was appointed as Blackpool manager in March 2020, just before the season was curtailed. Since taking over, Critchley has been in charge of 55 games, winning 24, drawing 17 and losing 14, giving him an overall win percentage of 43.6%.  

 

Ones to watch 

Luke Garbutt 

A product of the Everton Academy, Garbutt made a handful of appearances for the Toffees but spent the majority of his time at Goodison Park out on loan in the EFL. The left-back has enjoyed spells with Cheltenham Town, Fulham, Oxford United and Ipswich Town, before joining Blackpool on a permanent deal last summer.  

The 27-year-old has featured 34 times for the Seasiders this season, scoring four goals. 

 

Sullay Kaikai  

After coming through the system at Premier League side Crystal Palace, Kaikai has spent time on loan with several clubs in the EFL, building up his experience as a lively wide player. He spent time with Cambridge United, Shrewsbury Town, Brentford and Charlton Athletic, before making a permanent move to Blackpool in the summer of 2020. He has scored seven goals so far this season. 

 

Jerry Yates  

The 24-year-old striker arrived at Blackpool in the summer from Rotherham United having impressed while on loan at Swindon Town last season. Yates scored more than 20 goals for the Robins, helping them to the Sky Bet League Two title in the process.   

The Seasiders secured his signature and handed him the No.9 shirt, and he has showed the step up to Sky Bet League One has been a relatively smooth one, with 22 goals to his name so far this season. 

 

Last time out  

Rovers came from 2-0 down to beat Blackpool 3-2 when the teams last met in Sky Bet League One back in November. A penalty from Jerry Yates along with a CJ Hamilton put the Seasiders 2-0 up at the break, before Rovers drew level through goals from Cameron John and Reece James. Ben Whiteman struck the winner from the spot 14 minutes from time at the Keepmoat Stadium.  

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Match Reports

REPORT | Blackpool 2 Rovers 0

4 May 2021

An Ellis Simms’s brace means defeat for Rovers at Bloomfield Road as Blackpool confirm their place in the play-offs.

Rovers started the game brightly but barring an early chance for Tom Anderson which was stabbed wide from close range, were unable to create anything of note while Blackpool forced a number of saves from Louis Jones who continues to take the opportunities given him to stake his claim for the No.1 jersey next season. He denied Luke Garbutt, Jordan Gabriel and Jerry Yates. There was nothing the young shot-stopper could do when Simms was put through one-on-one – he did get a leg to it, but it was only enough to slow the progress of the ball on target.

For Simms’ second, Jones was even more unlucky. After coming off his line to maker the initial stop, the ball ricocheted favourably for the home side and the man on loan from Everton was able to poke it home.

Andy Butler was able to name the same starting XI for the first time since taking over as manager in March. The bench was also unchanged.

Blackpool entered the match knowing that a point from their final two games would see their season extended by a spell in the play-offs while Rovers were looking to make it three away matches undefeated.

The game quickly sprang into action with both sides registering early chances. Rovers won a corner kick when Blackpool were forced to put a dangerous Matt Smith a free kick over the by line to deny the four players lining up at the back post for a tap in. They went short and worked it to Tom Anderson at the near post who stabbed it wide.

At the other end, a challenge 30 yards from their own goal gave the home side their first shooting chance of the evening. Luke Garbutt struck it well, but Louis Jones sorted his feet and palmed it away from danger.

The game continued in a frantic manner with both sides getting forward well without testing the keepers. The blustering wind seemed to have an impact with defences struggling to control long balls forward while the final touch for both sides seemed to be lacking and the defences were able to pick up loose balls and mis-controlled touches.

With just less than 20 minutes on the clock, the Seasiders fans began to gather around the stadium hammering against fences and hoardings to roar their team on from the car park.

With just over 20 minutes on the clock, the XI on the pitch responded. Simms managed to evade the offside trap and put himself through one-on-one with Jones. His effort was on target but, even though the young keeper got a leg to it, it was only enough to slow the ball en route rather than direct it off target.

Rovers looked to hit back immediately with Tyreece John-Jules chasing down a through ball, keeper Chris Maxwell fumbled the initial collection and appeared to pick it up outside the box at the second time of asking but the officials weren’t interested.

Jones made a decent stop to deny Jordan Gabriel at his near post while it was John-Jules who was to get the next chance Rovers. Good play down the left with some link-up play between Reece James and Taylor Richards got the ball to the Arsenal loanee but he fired well over the bar. Fejiri Okenabirhie picked up a knock in this move which saw his evening end early as Butler’s misfortune with player injuries returning just thirty minutes into the first game in which he’d managed to name an unchanged XI.

The first half ended pretty scrappily – characterised by yellow cards to both right backs with Joe Wright and Gabriel following one another into referee Robert Lewis’ book in quick succession.

Rovers started the second half quickly with the lingering smell of smoke and gunpowder from flares going off in the car park hanging in the air. Lokilo’s cross from the right very nearly dipped under Chris Maxwell’s crossbar needing a touch to take it away from the goal.

Embleton had two efforts: the first struck from distance and comfortably stopped by Jones, the second way over the bar. While Simms danced through the defence drawing both centre-backs and keeper before unleashing an effort which was headed off the line by Wright.

Lokilo burned James Husband for pace leaving the former-Rovers player to kick the winger up in the air earning a deserved booking. The free kick was taken short by Smith to John-Jules who curled it on target, but it took a kind deflection into the arms of Maxwell.

Jones made a series of saves first to deny Simms at his near post, then a strong right hand to prevent Jerry Yates’ low effort from finding the back of the net.

 Both sides passed up big chances to score late on – substitute Josh Sims forced an excellent save from Maxwell when he headed Branden Horton’s cross to the back post on target.

At the other Elliot Embleton will still be wondering how he didn’t score from a central position six-yards out while Garbutt was denied again by Jones who was keeping Rovers in the game. A couple of scrambles in the Rovers box were somehow kept out by a combination of defensive prowess and luck but it was some misfortune for Jones which handed Simms his second of the evening.

The youngster did brilliantly to make the initial stop and deny the onrushing forward but the ricochet was kind to Simms who was able to poke home from close range. Substitute Omar Bogle should have undoubtedly have hit the target when he was picked out in the Seasiders’ box by a James Coppinger cross while Richards and AJ Greaves both sent efforts from distance over the bar and Smith had one saved at the near post but it was all a bit too little, too late for Andy Butler’s men who suffered defeat on the road.

 

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