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I am elated & freezing in equal measure as I'm typing up this report on my netbook on the Millers supporters coach on my way back to South Yorkshire after the Millers seven match run without a win dramatically ended with a fine 2-1 win at Bloomfield Road with two David Ball goals in the last 14 minutes saw Rotherham come from behind to win for the first time since April 2015.
An early start saw us arrive in Blackpool just before 11am where I had a very short stroll on the sea front before diving into a local fish & chip restaurant to indulge in some of the local fayre (very agreeable it was too) before embarking on a 15/20 minute walk to the ground. Upon arrival I bought a programme for a very reasonable £2. After a brisk walk around the ground & visiting the club shop I stood chatting to NAPM members who are still boycotting Blackpool home games whileever the Oyston family are involved with the club (an admirable stance, don't know if I could do it though). Finally got into the ground at around 220. Bloomfield Road is a nice modern stadium with a capacity of around 16000 but come kick off time apart from the close on 1000 Millers fans there seemed to be hardly anyone inside, especially on the side opposite the main stand.
An even start to the game ensued with the Millers doing most of the pressing. CB Semi Ajayi came close early on when his header fell just over the bar & a Jonnson Clarke Harris effort was just off target but it was Blackpool who grabbed the lead on 21 minutes, full back Kelvin Mellor unleashing a fine 25 yarder which flew past Rodak in the Millers goal. The goal unnerved the Millers who conceded silly yellow cards for captain Richard Wood & Michael Ihiekwe for unneccesary fouls before half time.
HT Blackpool 1 Rotherham 0
The Millers manager Paul Warne knew he had to change things so striker Jerry Yates came on for the ineffective Clarke Harris & winger Antony Forde came on for defender Ihiekwe as the Millers switched to a more attacking formation. The Millers poured forward & after a Ryan Williams shot was blocked, Yates blew a golden chance to equalise on 65 minutes when after being played through he blazed wide from 15 yards. Undettered Rotherham continued to push forward & deservedly equalised on 76 minutes when a Will Vaulks long throw caused confusion in the area & Ball pounced from close range. Rotherham smelled blood at this stage & deservedly netted the winning goal when a Forde corner was headed in at the near post by a delighted Ball for his second goal.
FT Blackpool 1 Rotherham 2
A strong second half showing by Rotherham saw them claim a richly deserved three points at a freezing & practically deserted Bloomfield Road to stop the rot after going seven games without a win. No photos this week as this plonker (yours truly) left his phone at home this morning in a hurry.
PS; Have you ever tried typing anything on a bloody coach!!!!!
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My final final blog of this season takes me to Wembley for the League Two play Off final between Blackpool & Exeter City. I never expected to get a ticket for this one & when the opportunity presented itself, you just don't turn a trip to Wembley down, well I don't anyway.
After a long uneventful trip down on the Megabus & a half hour underground trip, I arrived at the National Stadium at around 1pm for the 3pm kick off & enjoyed the pre match atmosphere. There is no doubt in my mind that Wembley is a special venue & the tingle of excitement especially in the Exeter end where I was, was palpable.
Around 16000 fans made the trip up from the south west, about four times Exeter's average home crowd, compared to Blackpool's 6000, their turnout obviously affected by the fans boycott of anything that could help their hated owners the Oyston family in any way, especially financially. This made for the strange situation where it was like an Exeter City home game.
After an impeccably observed minutes silence for victims of the Manchester atrocity the game kicked off with Blackpool strongly out of the blocks & the Seasiders were a goal up inside two minutes with a well taken Brad Potts goal following a neat Mark Cullen lay off. It's fair to say Exeter were rattled at this early stage & it took the Grecians a good 20 minutes to grab a foothold in the game. After some sustained Exeter pressure on the half hour however Exeter equalised when a long punt upfield was expertly controlled & lifted over the keeper by Grecians midfielder David Wheeler restoring parity. Exeter werein the ascendency for the remainder of the first half, pushing Blackpool back without really creating much in the way of goalscoring opportunities. It's safe to say though that Blackpool were the happier of the two teams to see the half time whistle.
Whatever Blackpool manager Gary Bowyer said to his troops at half time certainly had the desired effect as like the first half, Blackpool started strongly with both Neil Danns & Kyle Vassell coming close but they did not have to wait long to go back in front, top scorer Cullen prodding home after being set up by Potts. This time though Exeter's response was muted with only sub Rueben Reid coming pretty close while Blackpool had three or four opportunities to extend their lead &eventually ran out deserved winners.
Many congratulations to Blackpool on their promotion, it's just a shame that more of their true supporters weren't at Wembley to see it & I genuinely hope the club & the supporters of this brilliant club can find a way of coming back together soon.