18 April 2023

West Brom move into play-off position with win over struggling Blackpool

18 April 2023

Blackpool’s hopes of avoiding relegation from the Championship were dealt a blow with a 2-0 defeat at home to play-off hopefuls West Brom.

The Seasiders had been hoping to follow Saturday’s win against bottom side Wigan with another much-needed three points.

But with Brandon Thomas-Asante and Taylor Gardner-Hickman finding the net for West Brom, the defeat left their chances of escaping the drop looking ever-more precarious.

Albion, meanwhile, climbed five places to sixth with the victory as they look to book a play-off place.

Blackpool were out of the blocks quicker but could not capitalise on a terrific chance for Morgan Rogers, who struck a post after CJ Hamilton’s cross from the left looped up after a deflection and landed nicely for the Manchester City loanee.

That miss would prove costly as the visitors took the lead after 18 minutes. A corner came to Conor Townsend inside the box and he helped the ball goalwards where Thomas-Asante flicked home his ninth Baggies goal of the season.

Blackpool twice went close to an equaliser within the space of a few minutes, Jerry Yates firing wide after spotting Albion keeper Alex Palmer off his line and Curtis Nelson seeing a header blocked.

Blackpool’s best chance of the half fell to Keshi Anderson with half an hour played. Yates played him in but, after leaving the defence in his wake, he dragged his finish wide.

In stoppage time, Palmer pulled off a fine low save to deny Rogers and ensure West Brom went in at the break ahead.

Although they had been somewhat fortunate to lead at half-time, the Baggies went close to doubling that advantage five minutes after the restart when Karlan Grant’s cross was glanced narrowly wide by Thomas-Asante.

Grant then saw his shot saved by Dan Grimshaw after Charlie Patino’s miscued clearance, and Darnell Furlong blazed over after Grimshaw’s punch at a corner.

Blackpool weathered that storm and went close to levelling through Sonny Carey, whose free-kick was narrowly over, and Nelson, who was denied by Palmer.

On the hour mark those missed chances came back to haunt Blackpool as Albion substitute Gardner-Hickman made the most of hesitant defending to slot in their second goal.

Chances continued to come and go for Blackpool, Nelson heading Hamilton’s cross over and Hamilton himself failing to keep his effort down after he neatly created space for himself in the box.

But Blackpool were unable to make a breakthrough and fell to a defeat that leaves them in a dire predicament, while West Brom celebrated a victory which boosted their promotion hopes.

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