Blackpool fight back to thrash Reading on Paul Ince’s Bloomfield Road return

Blackpool v Middlesbrough – Sky Bet Championship – Bloomfield Road
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Blackpool produced plenty of grit and determination as they came from behind to thump former manager Paul Ince’s Reading 4-1.

Lucas Joao gave Reading a 17th-minute lead but Marvin Ekpiteta drew the Seasiders level before the break and second-half goals from Gary Madine, Shayne Lavery and Josh Bowler secured the points.

It was Blackpool’s first victory in five games, and leaves the Royals precariously placed just above the drop zone after their mini-revival came to a shuddering halt following back-to-back wins.

Reading’s confidence would have been boosted by those results but it was the hosts who started the better and they carved out the first chance in the eighth minute at Bloomfield Road.

Madine leapt well to nod down into the path of strike partner Jerry Yates, only for his shot to be comfortably saved by Luke Southwood.

Blackpool were well on top in the early stages, and they came close again on the quarter-hour mark.

CJ Hamilton charged menacingly down the left before pulling a cross back for Bowler. However, the Seasiders’ wide-man dragged a poor strike high over the top from 18 yards.

It was against the run of play when the visitors struck two minutes later.

Andy Yiadom produced some neat trickery before pulling the ball back into Joao’s path, and the Portuguese striker tapped home his fourth goal in three matches easily from six yards.

Blackpool were soon back on the attack though, and Madine’s thumping header was superbly beaten away by Southwood.

They deservedly levelled it up in the 27th minute.

Alert skipper Ekpiteta nodded home from close range following Kevin Stewart’s header into the danger zone.

The dangerous Bowler almost fired Blackpool ahead when his shot on the turn was saved by Southwood, while Yates also saw a flicked effort beaten out.

Blackpool continued to probe for another goal in the early moments of the second period.

Ekpiteta ought to have done better from 12 yards when the ball fell kindly to him after Southwood spilled a cross from Bowler.

At the other end John Swift went close when his curling free-kick from 20 yards was superbly tipped onto the top of the crossbar by Dan Grimshaw.

The Seasiders notched a deserved second goal in the 61st minute.

Madine leapt highest at the far post as he nodded home from Kenny Dougall’s inswinging corner.

The Royals pushed hard for an equaliser during the 10 minutes that followed, with Tom Dele-Bashiru testing Grimshaw and skipper Michael Morrison heading inches off target.

The hosts’ back-line was standing firm, however.

Hamilton side-footed narrowly wide at the sharp end for Blackpool, who went on to seal victory with two late strikes.

Lavery tucked neatly past Southwood after meeting Dougall’s through-ball, then Bowler volleyed home from 12 yards to complete a miserable return to Blackpool for their ex-boss Ince.

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