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Blackburn fail to make ground on top six after draw with Blackpool

Blackburn Rovers v Blackpool – Sky Bet Championship – Ewood Park
(Image credit: Tim Markland)

Play-off hopefuls Blackburn failed to make ground on the top six after they were held 1-1 by Blackpool at Ewood Park.

Tony Mowbray’s men made the ideal start through Sam Gallagher’s expert finish in the 10th minute and although there was a nervousness about their play, they were in relative control for the first period.

But the Tangerines, who missed a gilt-edged chance in the opening exchanges through CJ Hamilton, came out firing and Marvin Ekpiteta’s close-range finish – his fourth of the campaign – sent the vociferous visiting support into raptures.

And that proved to be enough for the visitors, who may have scored at the end through substitute Josh Bowler, whose shot was deflected onto the woodwork.

Blackburn lacked the composure to break down the visitors and are winless in three and two points outside the play-offs, while Blackpool ended a run of two defeats with a deserved point.

Ben Brereton Diaz made his first start since February, and captain Darragh Lenihan also returned for the hosts, while the visitors made five changes, including returns for Chris Maxwell and Jordan Gabriel.

The Tangerines spurned a glorious chance in the eighth minute after Scott Wharton’s slip gave Hamilton a free run at goal but his shot was saved by the legs of Thomas Kaminski when passing to onrushing team-mates looked the better option.

From the resulting corner, Jordan Thorniley showed superb feet to find space for a snapshot that whistled just wide.

They were made to pay in the 10th minute as a long punt from Kaminski found Gallagher who brought the ball down beautifully and although his next touch was heavy, he calmly lifted the ball into the bottom left corner for his eighth this term.

Joe Rothwell troubled the visitors with a series of testing corners that saw Thorniley make a superb clearance and in the 27th minute, Brereton Diaz direct a header over at the far post.

Blackpool were still in the game and came out swinging, with Hamilton volleying over a difficult chance seconds after the restart.

They were rewarded in the 48th minute when Rovers could not clear a Tangerines corner and the ball was eventually stabbed home by Ekpiteta.

The game became chaotic thereafter, with both teams fashioning potential openings without carving out clear-cut chances, though Gallagher saw a header drift over, and another shot well blocked by Callum Connolly as the game wore on.

John Buckley lashed an effort straight down the throat of Maxwell with 15 minutes remaining, but they were let off in added time when Bowler saw his right-foot shot deflected onto a post and behind.

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