Blackpool 3-3 Oxford United (6-3 on aggregate): Seasiders reach League One play-off final

Blackpool 3-3 Oxford United (6-3 on aggregate): Seasiders reach League One play-off final

by Emily Smith
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After scoring Blackpool’s third goal, Jerry Yates held up a t-shirt commemorating nine-year-old Blackpool boy Jordan Banks who was killed after being struck by lightningBlackpool reached the League One play-off final after a 3-3 draw with Oxford in their semi-final second leg gave them a 6-3 aggregate win.

Oxford made an immediate impact as Matty Taylor struck low from inside the box but Elliot Embleton’s curled finish levelled for the hosts soon after.

Kenny Dougall flicked in Dan Ballard’s clipped ball to put Blackpool ahead before Rob Atkinson equalised.

Jerry Yates restored Blackpool’s lead before Olamide Shodipo made it 3-3.

The Seasiders will face either Sunderland or Lincoln at Wembley on 30 May, with the Imps holding a 2-0 lead heading into Saturday’s second leg.

Blackpool are now 90 minutes from a return to the Championship with the performances this term reflecting their recent resurgence, after financial troubles and off-the-field issues saw two relegations and a subsequent change of ownership after their relegation from the second tier in 2015.

Blackpool reach Wembley – as it happenedThe hosts came into the tie with a 3-0 first-leg lead but Oxford hit the target early on to threaten an impressive comeback courtesy of Taylor’s 18th goal of the season.

But a frantic opening 13 minutes saw Blackpool score twice within two minutes to essentially finish the tie off.

Atkinson’s near-post strike after the break once again gave Karl Robinson’s side hope of an unlikely fightback before Blackpool again struck within moments of conceding.

Substitute Shodipo’s goal against the run of play was a mere consolation in a decent Oxford performance, but their chances were hampered after they were stunned by Blackpool in the first leg.

Yates fired in his 23rd goal of the season after he was left unmarked and he held aloft a t-shirt commemorating nine-year-old Blackpool boy Jordan Banks, who was killed after being struck by lightning while playing football.

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley told BBC Radio Lancashire:

“I thought Oxford were excellent and a real credit to Karl Robinson, they never gave up, they played really good football but my thoughts are with my players tonight and they deserve this moment and to go to Wembley.

“Hopefully we can go there and win and finish the job off. It took us some time to understand how we want to play and I think we will get better.

“With what we’ve had to endure this season with Covid, I think we’re one of the only teams not to have games called off, we’ve played straight through.

“We’ve had significant injuries and had a schedule like no other team in the division since January and to being in this position is credit to how the players prepare and train everyday. It’s not happened by accident.”

Oxford United manager Karl Robinson told BBC Radio Oxford:

“I think we showed fight. We’ve come up short and I didn’t expect this team to concede six goals. That was never in the game plan. We came here to score three and we did.

“I need a break. I’m running on nothing. It’s been a long two years. The songs being sung about Wembley we missed out on last year.

“It’s been difficult not just in football but in life in general and we need to come back fresh next year.”

Line-upsBlackpoolFormation 4-4-2

1Maxwell

20Turton26Ballard3Husband29Garbutt

15Mitchell39Stewart12Dougall32Embleton

19Simms9Yates

1MaxwellBooked at 40mins20TurtonBooked at 90mins26BallardSubstituted forEkpitetaat 45’minutes3Husband29Garbutt15MitchellSubstituted forLawrence-Gabrielat 73’minutes39StewartBooked at 64mins12Dougall32EmbletonSubstituted forAndersonat 72’minutes19SimmsSubstituted forMadineat 73’minutes9YatesSubstituted forRobsonat 90+2’minutesSubstitutes2Lawrence-Gabriel4Thorniley6Robson8Anderson14Madine21Ekpiteta28MooreOxford UtdFormation 4-3-3

13Stevens

14Forde5Moore22Atkinson3Ruffels

17Henry8Brannagan10Sykes

27Lee9Taylor30Barker

13Stevens14Forde5Moore22Atkinson3Ruffels17Henry8BrannaganBooked at 12mins10SykesBooked at 90mins27LeeSubstituted forShodipoat 69’minutes9TaylorBooked at 55mins30BarkerSubstituted forAgyeiat 68’minutesSubstitutes1Eastwood4McNally6Gorrin7Hall19Agyei20Hanson25ShodipoReferee:Keith Stroud

Attendance:4,000

Live TextMatch ends, Blackpool 3, Oxford United 3.

Second Half ends, Blackpool 3, Oxford United 3.

Mark Sykes (Oxford United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel (Blackpool).

Mark Sykes (Oxford United) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by James Henry (Oxford United).

Kenneth Dougall (Blackpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Keshi Anderson (Blackpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ethan Robson.

Oliver Turton (Blackpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Mark Sykes (Oxford United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Oliver Turton (Blackpool).

Substitution, Blackpool. Ethan Robson replaces Jerry Yates.

Offside, Blackpool. Luke Garbutt tries a through ball, but Gary Madine is caught offside.

Foul by Anthony Forde (Oxford United).

Keshi Anderson (Blackpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Blackpool. Gary Madine tries a through ball, but Jerry Yates is caught offside.

Foul by Olamide Shodipo (Oxford United).

Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel (Blackpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Jerry Yates (Blackpool) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt blocked. Keshi Anderson (Blackpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Kevin Stewart.

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