Blackpool boost survival chances with vital win over Wigan
Blackpool boosted their Sky Bet Championship survival chances with a 1-0 Lancashire derby victory over fellow strugglers Wigan thanks to Jerry Yates’ early goal.
The Seasiders’ win – coming on the back of a run of four straight defeats – was the first under the caretaker charge of Stephen Dobbie and lifted them to within four points of safety with four games to play.
Rock-bottom Wigan, meanwhile, appear all-but doomed following a third consecutive loss.
Despite the current predicament of the two clubs, there was a terrific atmosphere around Bloomfield Road as the game kicked off.
And it was the home fans who were celebrating an opening goal after less than two minutes.
Yates, back in the Blackpool side after shaking off a hamstring injury, latched onto a perfect through-ball from Keshi Anderson before burying a low, angled strike past Ben Amos.
That lifted the atmosphere still further, though there was an unsavoury edge at the other end minutes later when the game was held up as Wigan’s James McClean received some abuse from a home section while preparing to take a corner-kick.
The Latics were next to threaten after 20 minutes when Thelo Aasgaard found some space just outside the Seasiders’ box, but his low drive was off target.
The visitors had enjoyed the better of it since the goal, and they were denied again when Will Keane’s effort was bravely blocked by Jordan Thorniley.
Blackpool nearly grabbed a second in bizarre fashion on the half-hour mark.
Yates charged down Jack Whatmough’s poor attempt at a clearance and the ball trickled inches wide of the post.
Wigan replied with Keane going close following a Callum Lang cross and Charlie Hughes being thwarted by Dan Grimshaw’s smart save, but Blackpool held on to their lead until the break.
The Seasiders created the first chance of the second period as Anderson floated a cross into the path of Josh Bowler, but he volleyed straight at a grateful Amos from 15 yards.
The Latics replied with Keane failing to truly test Grimshaw from inside the box and the visitors seemed to step up their urgency, going close again just past the hour mark.
Substitute Ashley Fletcher lifted a cross onto the head of Aasgaard, but his effort looped disappointingly onto the roof of the net.
Fletcher himself then saw a crisp strike blocked by Blackpool skipper Curtis Nelson.
It was Fletcher again who threatened in the 81st minute, heading narrowly wide after he rose to meet McClean’s cross.
The visitors kept plugging away but it was Blackpool who went on to prevail thanks to their early goal, with Wigan remaining winless on their travels since early October.
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