League One play-off: Blackpool 2-1 Lincoln City

Blackpool has signed a return to the Championship after a six-year absence by beating Lincoln City in the League One play-off final at Wembley.

The Tangerines got off to a bad start when Ollie Turton put Brennan Johnson‘s cross into his net within 50 seconds.

Kenny Dougall rated ahead of the Blackpool half with a low-key drive in the lower-left corner.

After the break, he fired home with the same strike from outside the box as Blackpool completed their return.

Blackpool’s victory means they return to the Championship for the first time. After being knocked out of the second round in 2014-15.

They conceded very few goals in League One this season. But they were unsuccessful just seconds after Turton started the ball into his net.

That goal, however, came after an excellent first game from Lincoln as they outscored Blackpool. After they quickly worked the ball under the wing.

Blackpool goalkeeper Chris Maxwell failed to cope with Johnson’s cross. 

It was resulting in Turton taking an unbeaten record for scoring the last goal of a League One game. With the highest speed since the start of the club’s game Wembley.

Undeterred by their start, Maxwell pulled out a handful of cash to give Jorge Grant a strike on the line in the middle of the first half. 

Demetri Mitchell forced Lincoln goalkeeper Alex Palmer to stop immediately on the sidelines for just a few minutes.

Blackpool equalized 10 minutes before half-time when Dougall released a low-key drive into the Lincoln net. And they celebrated instantly in front of their fans after the goal.

He fired a similar strike to close the promotion at the start of the second half. And Lincoln was unable to respond, as Blackpool won their sixth promotion by playing in the English Football League.

Dougall’s double sent Blackpool to the top.

While Blackpool was here on a sunny day in May 2010, the sky was the limit for the plucky Tangerines. 

They beat Cardiff City in the season’s playoffs to close out a place in the Premier League.

Six years later, off-site news involving their previous owner put the report on the pitch. 

Dougall's double sent Blackpool to the top (Source: The Times)
Dougall’s double sent Blackpool to the top (Source: The Times)

This led to a series of relegation and a fourth-team football match that had recently delighted English football giants on Bloomfield Road.

Fans rallied around the start of the ‘Not A Penny More’ campaign, with fans promising not to attend the club’s games.

While they won promotion to the Second Division in the first season of inquiry, and with the playoffs in 2017, there was a small number of Blackpool fans at Wembley.

Once again, there has been a reduced number of their supporters who were present on Sunday. But this time for very different reasons.

After Simon Sadler had taken over the club from the Oyston family in 2019. Fans returned either physically or otherwise due to the epidemic. 

And under former Liverpool Under-23s coach Neil Critchley, the club has been successful on the pitch.

It was ultimately Dougall from Australia who pulled Blackpool out of their unacceptable start. 

His reputation made it all the more fun, considering he was out of the club. And training alone after his release from Barnsley last summer.

He has finally restored Blackpool’s loyalty and in a specific style with excellent strikes. To send his team back to the second round and continue to rebuild.

The wait continues in Lincoln.

In a team that played out of the top four leagues recently in 2016-17. Lincoln City continued their momentum but was relegated after Blackpool returned well.

After their promotion as National League champions that season, the Imps have never looked back and reunited. After losing the manager Danny Cowley to Huddersfield in 2019.

Cowley and his brother Nicky have enjoyed fantastic success with the club. This has led to them playing in the FA Cup quarter-finals as a non-league team. Promotion from National League to League One in three seasons the EFL Trophy.

The wait continues in Lincoln (Source: Lincolnshire live )
The wait continues in Lincoln (Source: Lincolnshire live )

Michael Appleton stepped in shortly afterward. After the 2020-21 coronavirus campaign, he finally directed the club to the playground after the start of the bombings.

The team last played second division football 60 years ago and, after opening their dream at Wembley. They look set to make their comeback defending Blackpool.

However, they were unable to match the Tangerines on the counter. And, despite having many chances in the second half. They failed to get a response to Dougall’s double.

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley said:

“We should not have started the final we have done it. I must say that the response to that goal was very positive. And it summed up the team’s character and strength.

“We stayed calm and played back to the game thanks to a stunning strike from Kenny.

“For the next five or ten minutes after his goal. The team put me down for the way they played. And there was calm for us, and there was no panic.”

Lincoln boss Michael Appleton said:

“We started in a fun way, but whether it was a quick and excellent start, who knows.

“We competed the season well, and we were in the game. And we played OK, but OK didn’t win the final, and that’s what we got.

“The better side of the day won the game. They got the right to win the game. I’m not sure if we did that.

“If I were to mark the players per season out of ten, it would probably be nine. Today somewhere between six and a half and seven o’clock, and that’s the difference.”

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