Shot-shy Cobblers back in the bottom four after Blackpool defeat

Ryan Edmondson in action for the Cobblers against Blackpool (Pictures: Pete Norton)Ryan Edmondson in action for the Cobblers against Blackpool (Pictures: Pete Norton)
Ryan Edmondson in action for the Cobblers against Blackpool (Pictures: Pete Norton)
Cobblers slipped back into the Sky Bet League One relegation zone after another toothless attacking performance in a 2-0 defeat to Blackpool in Tuesday's rearranged fixture.

Town would have been ruing their shambolic efforts to defend Marvin Ekptieta's 12th minute goal because otherwise there was little between the teams in the first-half.

But the same could not be said for the second 45 minutes when the visitors were found desperately wanting in search of an equalising goal.

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Blackpool posed by far the greater threat and eventually scored a deserved second through Jerry Yates in stoppage-time.

Creating and scoring goals continues to be the chief issue for Keith Curle and his team after barely troubling the home defence throughout, bar a couple of long-range efforts.

Danny Rose's overhead kick in stoppage-time at Lincoln remains the only goal they've scored in 2021.

With Swindon beating rivals Wigan, Town are now back in the relegation zone.

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There was at least better news elsewhere with AFC Wimbledon and Bristol Rovers both beaten.

Action from the Cobblers' 2-0 defeat at BlackpoolAction from the Cobblers' 2-0 defeat at Blackpool
Action from the Cobblers' 2-0 defeat at Blackpool

The in-form Shaun McWilliams surprisingly dropped to the bench with Ryan Watson starting instead while Jack Sowerby, back fit ahead of schedule, also returned in place of Rose in Curle's only other change.

Sam Hoskins led the line but Town had to do some early defending when a free-kick inside the first minute was steered narrowly wide of the post by Jordan Thorniley.

Cobblers went straight up the other end and forced the first save of the game from Chris Maxwell who was at full stretch after Ryan Watson took aim with an improvised effort on the edge of the box.

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The open start continued and it was soon to be visiting goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell's turn to be called into action when saving with his legs from the sprightly Ellis Simms.

But Mitchell was then partly at fault for Blackpool's opening goal on 12 minutes.

Town's defence switched off and Sullay Kaikai was afforded room to dink in a cross which Mitchell failed to deal with and Ekptiteta scrambled the ball into the net via Lloyd Jones.

It was a horrible way to go behind although Cobblers were very nearly level within minutes when Pete Kioso missed his kick after a long throw fell kindly to him inside the penalty box.

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The visitors looked shaky at the back as Kaikai shot straight at Mitchell but they worked some promising positions in attack with Hoskins making room to fire just wide via a deflection.

Watson's driving runs were also causing problems and another one culminated in a shot on goal, even if it was a simple save for Maxwell.

Blackpool led at half-time and came out far the stronger team in the second-half, going close through Kaikai, whose free-kick was saved by Mitchell, and also long-range shots from Matty Virtue and Kenny Dougall.

If those were only half chances, then Blackpool really should have doubled their advantage on the hour-mark.

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Town were caught with not a single man back from their own free-kick and Kevin Stewart only had Mitchell to beat, but he smacked the post.

Curle needed to make changed and he did so, sending on McWilliams and Caleb Chukwuemeka, but Town remained toothless and short on ideas in attack.

Cobblers were technically still in the contest at 1-0 going into the final 10 minutes but to say they laid siege on the home goal would be an exaggeration of epic proportions.

They did have one chance - a weak Bryn Morris header - but that was about it.

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Blackpool deservedly grabbed a second goal in stoppage-time, Yates somehow escaping the attention of three defenders before rounding Mitchell and slotting in to give the final scoreline a more accurate feel.

Match facts

Blackpool: Maxwell (c), Gabriel, Husband, Thorniley, Dougall (Mitchell 72), Virtue, Simms (Turton 80), Ekpiteta, Stewart, Kaikai, Yates

Subs not used: Sims, Antwi, Ballard, Shaw, Apter

Cobblers: Mitchell, Jones, Bolger (c), Horsfall (Rose 84), Kioso, Mills, Morris, Sowerby (Korboa 84), Watson (Chukwuemeka 65), Hoskins (McWilliams 65), Edmondson

Subs not used: Berry, Harriman, Marshall

Referee: James Oldham

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