MATCH REPORT: Fleetwood 0 Blackpool 0

Fleetwood Town's Jimmy Ryan battles with Blackpool's Jack Redshaw
Fleetwood Town's Jimmy Ryan battles with Blackpool's Jack Redshaw

Jimmy Ryan hit the woodwork and Danny Philliskirk had a goal chalked off as Fleetwood Town drew 0-0 with Blackpool at Highbury.

Blackpool player Jim McAlister’s effort looked to be going into the back of the net but the offside Philliskirk decided to make sure the ball went over and tapped in from close range.

But it was a vital error as the shot appeared to be sailing in without the intervention of Philliskirk and the linesman promptly raised his flag to crush the travelling Blackpool fans’ hopes of a vital win.

That error of judgement by Philliskirk just before half-time left McAlister fuming but Town could not capitalise on Blackpool’s mistake.

Midfielder Ryan did hit the woodwork in the second half and Town’s Stephen Jordan nearly headed into his own net but the lacklustre and scrappy game ended all square with neither side impressing in the final third and bagging a vital goal.

With Shrewsbury winning at Gillingham Town slipped to 20th in the table but they remain two points above Blackpool and the drop zone with two games left to play.

Captain Nathan Pond equalled the club appearance record by making his 421st appearance for Town as boss Steven Pressley named an unchanged side for the fifth game in a row.

The big news was that striker Shola Ameobi had returned from a hamstring injury and was named on the bench.

Blackpool must be given credit for the way their defence stopped Fleetwood playing their usual counter-attack, pace-driven football as they kept Wes Burns at bay and stopped Stefan Scougall causing havoc in the pocket in between the defence and midfield.

Town went on the attack from the off with full-backs Bell and McLaughlin exploiting Blackpool’s narrow shape as they made a number of probing runs down the wings.

Bobby Grant had two good efforts in quick succession but could not break the deadlock.

Eggert Jonsson fizzed the ball out to Bell on the wing, he played it inside to Scougall who slipped the ball to Bobby Grant just outside the box with his back to goal. The striker spun and unleashed a fierce effort that stung Doyle’s palms.

Just seconds later Blackpool centre-back Tom Aldred’s poor clearance fell neatly to Grant, with time and space just outside the box he attempted to curl the ball left-footed into the top corner but his effort just flew over the bar.

Fleetwood dominated possession in the opening 20 minutes, enjoying 73% of the ball in comparison to Blackpool’s 27% and that dominance nearly paid off in the 21st minute as Wes Burns stole into the box.

Bobby Grant’s pass took a hefty deflection off a Blackpool player and rolled into the path of Burns on the right but his low strike was just palmed away from the bottom corner by a diving Doyle.

Town enjoyed a lot of joy on the wings with Bell and McLaughlin bombing on but their crosses just failed to find a red shirt time and time again.

Sarcevic pounced on the loose ball at the top of the box but his thunderous effort crashed past the left post and into the advertising boards rather than the back of the net.

Blackpool suddenly sprang to life in the 35th minute as Mark Cullen powerfully squeezed the ball towards the bottom corner but Maxwell dived low to his right and produced a fine finger-tip save to tip away the fierce shot.

And the Seasiders had the ball in the back of the net as Jim McAlister curled the ball past Maxwell but fortunately for Town Danny Philliskirk - who was a mile offside - stupidly got a touch on the goal bound effort from close range and the goal was chalked off for offside.

Blackpool started the brighter of the two in the second half with Philliskirk causing a few problems but he fired straight at Maxwell after carving out space at the top of the box.

Town boss Pressley made an attacking double substitution in the 60th minute bringing Ash Hunter and David Ball on for Bobby Grant and Scougall.

And he was forced to introduce Shola Ameobi earlier than planned after Sarcevic picked up a contact injury.

Captain Nathan Pond nutmegged a Blackpool player near his own corner flag but his touch was too much and he ended up fouling the on-running Cullen.

He was booked for the challenge and Fleetwood failed to properly clear McAlister’s subsequent set-piece as Burns’ clearance was pumped back in and Redshaw found space in the crowded box but fortunately his shot was deflected to Bell who eventually cleared.

Hunter carved out an opening for Ryan and his first-time, curling effort from just outside the box clattered into the woodwork and out for a goal kick.

Ameobi lost the ball in Fleetwood’s half but Blackpool could not capitalise on the error as Philliskirk’s long range effort flew wide of the left post.

Stephen Jordan nearly nodded the ball past his own keeper but Maxwell was on hand to just tip the ball over in the 81st minute.

Norris fired the ball straight down Maxwell’s throat in the 84th minute as both sides struggled to find a cutting edge in front of goal.

Ryan blasted over, Burns fired the ball straight down Doyle’s throat and Pond headed Ryan’s set-piece into Doyle’s welcoming arms as Town searched for a winner

Fleetwood: Maxwell, McLaughlin, Pond, Bell, Sarcevic (Ameobi, 70), Ryan, Jonsson, Scougall (Hunter, 60), Burns, B Grant (Ball, 60). Subs not used: Forbes, Nilsson, Gogic, Cole.

Blackpool: Doyle, White, McAlister, Robertson, Cullen (Blyth, 77), Redshaw (Paterson, 73), Aldred, Philliskirk, Norris, Smith (Yeates, 82), Higham. Subs: Potts, Boyce, Letheren, Ikpeazu.

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)

Attendance: 5123