REPORT | Blackpool 4 Wanderers 1

Ricardo Santos sent off Blackpool

Wanderers suffered a first defeat in eight league games as their Bloomfield Road jinx struck again, writes Pete Oliver.

The Whites haven’t won at Blackpool since 1977 and that run was extended on an afternoon that started well but then went rapidly downhill.

George Thomason’s early goal put Ian Evatt’s men in front and seemingly firmly in the driving seat as they aimed to end the winless streak at the seaside at the 14th attempt.

But Blackpool weathered the storm and struck twice following set-plays to lead at half-time.

Wanderers had created a couple of golden opportunities to suggest a comeback would have been on the cards but the controversial dismissal of captain Ricardo Almeida Santos and a third goal from the penalty spot 20 minutes into the second half all but ended those hopes.

Santos conceded a penalty for a last-gasp challenge on Kyle Joseph but despite seemingly having eyes only for the ball as he slid in also saw red to earn a suspension that will – pending the outcome of an appeal rule – him out of next Tuesday night’s trip to Wigan.

Thomason celebration Blackpool away

A fourth goal from Jordan Gabriel then rubbed salt into the wounds and left the Whites needing to re-group quickly for the local derby when they will again have the chance to potentially move back into the League One automatic promotion places.

The return of Santos from injury was one of three changes to the Wanderers’ starting line-up as Zac Ashworth was also re-called along with George Thomason, following his three-match ban.

And it took Thomason just nine minutes to make his mark as he repeated the goal he had scored in the first meeting between the sides in November.

Kyle Dempsey’s lively start brought a cross from the midfield man which was laid off by Jon Dadi Bodvarsson. Thomason’s attempted pass was blocked but when the ball was returned to him, the former Blackpool youngster needed no second invitation to steer a first-time shot into the bottom corner of the net.

The Whites looked in complete control but handed the hosts a route back into the game after a quarter of an hour. Frustrated at a free-kick awarded against Josh Sheehan, Wanderers didn’t switch on quickly enough and when Karamoko Dembele fed Jake Beesley, the former team-mate of Evatt at Chesterfield finished superbly with a curling strike into the top corner.

Mendes Gomes chance Blackpool

Still Wanderers looked the better team and it took a magnificent save from Dan Grimshaw to deny Bodvarsson as he met an excellent ball in from Ashworth with a close-range effort 20 minutes into a frantic encounter on a poor pitch.

Josh Dacres-Cogley couldn’t capitalise on the rebound and rather than regain the lead, Evatt’s men then found themselves behind following another free-kick. This time James Husband was released to deliver a cross which George Byers met with a header well saved by Joel Coleman before Marvin Ekpiteta followed up to force the ball over the line.

Most of Wanderers’ problems were self-inflicted and it took a smart save from Coleman to keep out an effort from Shayne Lavery as the Seasiders were allowed to break following a Whites’ corner.

But the visitors won’t know how they didn’t go into the break level as Grimshaw made another point-blank save just before half-time to deny Carlos Mendes Gomes from Dacres-Cogley’s cross.

Minutes after the re-start it was Coleman’s turn to make an excellent save to keep out a flick from Blackpool substitute Kyle Joseph.

And after Wanderers had again begun to build up a head of steam Joseph became a central character when he was caught by Santos after Coleman had come out and been by-passed by Husband’s ball towards goal.

That left Wanderers with 10 men to try and mastermind a comeback in the final 20 minutes but bar a couple of corners they didn’t really carry a threat.

And with six minutes to go Blackpool put the cap on a painful afternoon for the Whites when they defended another corner and broke clear for Gabriel to slot home the Seasiders’ fourth goal.

Wanderers: Coleman; Jones, Almeida Santos, Toal; Sheehan (Maghoma 71), Dacres-Cogley, Dempsey (Morley), Thomason, Ashworth (Iredale); Mendes Gomes (Collins 76), Bodvarsson (Adeboyejo 76). Substitutes: Iredale, Forrester, Morley, Jerome.

Booked: Mendes Gomes, Jones

Sent off: Almeida Santos

Blackpool: Grimshaw; Pennington, Ekpiteta, Husband; Gabriel, Byers, Norburn, Coulson (Lyons HT); Dembele, Lavery (Joseph HT), Beesley. Substitutes: O’Donnell, Morgan, Casey, Hamilton, Kouassi.

Booked: Grimshaw

Referee: Josh Smith

Attendance: 12,276

Read Time: 4 mins