Blackpool drop to League One after Millwall loss

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Blackpool have picked up just 10 wins from their 45 Championship games this season, the joint fewest number of victories in the league

Blackpool were relegated from the Championship after defeat by play-off chasing Millwall in a thrilling game at Bloomfield Road.

The Seasiders’ two-season stay in the division came to an end with a game to go despite the hosts twice levelling the scores after the Lions took the lead.

Tom Bradshaw scored in either half for the visitors, with Jerry Yates levelling with a penalty while Lewis Fiorini also equalised with a stunning strike from long range.

But Fiorini later brought down Duncan Watmore, leading to Zian Flemming scoring from the spot to win it for Millwall and ensuring the hosts will play third-tier football next season.

Blackpool are now three points behind Huddersfield in 21st and two points behind 22nd-placed Reading, but with the Terriers playing the Royals in the final game of the season it means the Seasiders go down.

Millwall move up to fifth and are three points clear of seventh place, with a home match against Blackburn concluding their campaign.

First Championship club relegated

Knowing they needed to get a result to avoid becoming the first club to be relegated from the Championship this season, Blackpool got off to the worst possible start.

Flemming and Jamie Shackleton combined on the right wing before teeing up Ryan Leonard, who found Bradshaw to slot past Seasiders keeper Dan Grimshaw within just two minutes.

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Blackpool rallied as the first half ticked down, with Morgan Rogers forcing Lions goalkeeper George Long into a fine save shortly before the hosts were awarded a penalty.

Hamilton went to ground under pressure from Shackleton, who made slight contact with the Blackpool forward, with Yates duly converting after referee Matt Donohue pointed to the spot.

There was a nervy atmosphere on the Lancashire coast with both sides needing victory. Millwall’s play-off aims rested on them returning to The Den with three points.

The game tipped in Millwall’s favour once again when Bradshaw scored his second with a tremendous composed finished, having been played through by a superb Watmore pass.

There was more drama to come as Fiorini scored his first goal in over a year, and his first for Blackpool, courtesy of his drive from distance.

But his joy did not last for long as, just minutes later, he fouled Watmore in his own box leading to the Lions’ winning penalty and bringing an end to Blackpool’s stay in the second tier.

The hosts’ misery was compounded late on when Jordan Gabriel was stretchered off leading to 13 minutes of stoppage time.

Highs and lows

After the highs of promotion to the Premier League in 2010, the lows soon followed with anger at the club’s ownership, supporters vowing not to attend matches and a freefall down to League Two.

Neil Critchley, in his first managerial position, reinvigorated Blackpool, taking them up from League One via the play-offs in his first full season with the club in 2021.

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After keeping Blackpool in the Championship with a 16th-placed finish in their first campaign back, he then left to join Steven Gerrard as his assistant at Aston Villa last summer.

In stepped Michael Appleton for a second spell in charge but, following a run of one win in 11 games, he departed in January with the Tangerines in a relegation battle.

Veteran boss Mick McCarthy stepped in to oversee the rest of the season with the club three points off safety on his arrival but wins were hard to come by under his tenure.

March’s 6-0 thumping of fellow strugglers QPR gave glimpses of hope but losses soon followed as they plummeted towards the drop zone.

Following a dispiriting defeat at home to fellow strugglers Cardiff City on Easter Monday, however, McCarthy’s short spell in charge came to an end as he left with the club now deep in the relegation mix.

Stephen Dobbie, who had coached in a development role at Blackpool, was left with the unenviable task of keeping them in the division.

Despite wins against Wigan and Birmingham, however, he could not prolong their stay in the Championship.

Wigan will join Blackpool in the third tier if they fail to win at Reading on Saturday.



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 32Grimshaw
  • 4Gabriel
  • 31Nelson
  • 3HusbandSubstituted forBowlerat 64′minutes
  • 24Lyons
  • 8FioriniBooked at 74minsSubstituted forHolmesat 79′minutes
  • 28Patino
  • 25RogersBooked at 90mins
  • 10Anderson
  • 22HamiltonSubstituted forEkpitetaat 84′minutes
  • 9Yates


  • 1Maxwell
  • 2Connolly
  • 11Bowler
  • 16Carey
  • 21Ekpiteta
  • 38Holmes
  • 46Trybull


Formation 3-4-3

  • 1Long
  • 18Leonard
  • 4Hutchinson
  • 5CooperBooked at 26mins
  • 16ShackletonSubstituted forMcNamaraat 81′minutes
  • 8Mitchell
  • 23SavilleBooked at 32mins
  • 17StylesSubstituted forMaloneat 81′minutes
  • 10FlemmingBooked at 24minsSubstituted forBurkeat 86′minutes
  • 9BradshawBooked at 72minsSubstituted forBennettat 86′minutes
  • 19WatmoreSubstituted forBureyat 86′minutes


  • 2McNamara
  • 7Burke
  • 11Malone
  • 14Burey
  • 20Bennett
  • 21Voglsammer
  • 33Bialkowski

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