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Report: Blackpool 1-3 Rovers

Rovers record back-to-back wins on the Fylde Coast thanks to a Ben Brereton brace and Tyrhys Dolan's first in blue-and-white

25 August 2020

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A first half brace from Ben Brereton helped Rovers earn a 3-1 victory against Blackpool as Tony Mowbray's men made it back-to-back pre-season victories on the Fylde Coast.

Brereton produced two confident finishes in the first half hour in tough conditions at Bloomfield Road to hand Rovers a deserved two-goal advantage.

But Blackpool hit back just before the interval through Matty Virtue's thumping finish to keep Rovers honest going into the second 45 minutes.

Although the play after the interval lacked as many chances, there was still time for Tyrhys Dolan to bag his first goal in Rovers colours with just two minutes remaining to wrap up the comfortable victory.

A strong start to the game saw Rovers have the first shot in anger, but although the purchase on his effort was good, Brereton's shot from just inside the box flew off target after only two minutes played.

But Brereton made no mistake with his next opportunity a moment later, connecting with Joe Rankin-Costello's perfectly weighted cross from the right to glance a header beyond Jack Sims in the home goal.

At the other end, former Rovers man Liam Feeney tested Andy Fisher with a curled attempt, but it was comfortable for the goalkeeper to hold.

Blackpool had drawn 3-3 in their weekend encounter with Everton, and the start of this game was just as open, with Armstrong missing the chance to make it 2-0 when being denied by Sims, before Feeney again saw Fisher in his way in what was a lively opening 10 minutes to the encounter.

Rovers' pressing was causing all sorts of problems for Neil Critchley's side, and fine footwork from Armstrong saw him nutmeg A. Trialist before Sims was out quickly to deny him from getting his name on the scoresheet midway through the first half.

Brereton bagged himself his brace on the half hour mark, latching onto a through ball from Lewis Holtby to delicately dink the ball over Sims and into the bottom corner to give Rovers a more than deserved two-goal advantage.

Harry Chapman almost made it 3-0 a minute later, but he prodded just wide after a smart dart in off the left and into the box as a confident-looking Rovers continued to probe for more goals.

However, it wasn't all plain sailing for Rovers on the seaside, with Blackpool pulling a goal back five minutes before the break through Virtue.

After being slid in to the right of the box, the midfielder worked a yard before rifling an effort into the roof of the net to give Fisher no chance.

The hosme side's tails were up by this point as they looked for an equaliser, but this time Fisher was alert and well placed to stop Oliver Sarkic's shot from levelling things up.

The 2-1 scoreline was how it remained as the teams went in for their half-time team talks, but Rovers will have been wondering just how the lead wasn't greater after a raft of first half opportunities came and went.

Although the start of the second half wasn't as energetic as the first, Rovers continued to control proceedings, keeping hold of the ball and dictating the way the encounter was going.

Chances were at a premium for both sides, but substitute Joe Rothwell went close with 20 minutes remaining, with his jinking run ending in the playmaker dragging his left-footed strike wide of the target.

Time was running out for Blackpool to find an equaliser, and Feeney would have come back to haunt his old club in the final 10 minutes had his chip dropped sooner and didn't land on the roof of the net.

Jacob Davenport tested fellow alteration Alex Fojticek in the home goal with five minutes remaining, but the free kick was straight down the Slovakian's throat.

A third goal of the night did arrive in the final moments in the most fortuitous of circumstances. The lively Dolan picked the pocket of Fojiticek to simply roll home into an empty net to wrap up the win and continue Rovers' 100% start to pre-season.

Blackpool: Sims (Fojticek, 46), Howe, Trialist (Husband, 75), Sarkic, Feeney, Nottingham (Thorniley, 46), Virtue (Ward, 75), Shaw, Devitt (Garrity, 46), Antwi, B. Trialist.

Unused substitutes: Robson, Anderson, Yates, Kaikai, Turton, Hamilton, Ekpiteta.

Goal: Virtue, 40.

Rovers: Fisher (Eastham, 66), Rankin-Costello (Bennett, 59), Bell (Brennan, 72), Lenihan (c) (Pike, 72), Wharton (Williams, 66), Travis (Evans, 46), Johnson (Davenport, 66), Chapman (Dolan, 59), Brereton (Carter, 72), Armstrong (Buckley, 66), Holtby (Rothwell, 46).

Unused substitute: Lyons.

Goals: Brereton, 4, 30, Dolan, 88.

Referee: Leigh Doughty.


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