Blackpool came from a goal down to beat Lincoln City 2-1. The win secures their place in the Championship next season after a six-year absence.
The Tangerines made the worst possible start. Defender Ollie Turton slammed the ball into his own net following a Brennan Johnson cross in minute one. With Lincoln City showing good attacking play in which they stretched the Balckpool backline down the wing.
After a bright start from Lincoln, Blackpool got into the game. Kenny Dougall levelled the scoring for his side before half-time. His brilliant low driven shot into the bottom left-hand corner. Imps keeper Alex Palmer not getting a finger to the ball.
After the interval, Dougall fired another accurate low driven shot from outside the penalty area to complete their comeback.
Blackpool’s Victory means they return to the Championship for the first time. This comes after their relegation from the second tier in the 2014-15 season.
Dougall’s brace sends Blackpool up
In May 2010, Blackpool were at Wembley again on another sunny day to secure their place in the Premier League. They beat Cardiff City 3-2 in the Championship Play-off final.
But six years later, off-the-pitch matters involving their previous owners took center stage in their decline down the Football League. The club suffered two back-to-back relegations and were in League 2 in 2016. A far cry from their days entertaining the Premier League big guns a few years earlier.
Blackpool fans came together, the ‘Not A Penny More’ initiative was launched, with supporters stating they won’t be attending games.
When they won promotion through the play-offs into League 1 in 2017 during their first season in the fourth tier, their attendance at Wembley was vastly reduced compared to 2010.
After Simon Sadler took over the club from the Oyston family in 2019, the fans returned – whether physically or otherwise because of the pandemic – and under former Liverpool Under-23s coach Neil Critchley, the club have excelled on the pitch.
In the end, it was the Australian midfielder Dougall who provided for Blackpool to send them back into the second tier after years of misery both on and off the field. The seaside club continues their rebuild and looks to hopefully become the team they once were back in 2010.
Lincoln progression continues despite play-off defeat
In the 2016/17 season, Lincoln City were preparing their campaign in the National League with hopes of getting back into the Football League. But on Sunday, they were one game away from playing second their football.
After their promotion back into League 2 in that season, the Imps have gone from strength-to-strength despite losing their manager Danny Cowley to Huddersfield Town in 2019.
Along with his brother Nicky, they enjoyed tremendous success with Lincoln City, leading them to a FA Cup Quarter Final, promotions from the National League to League One within three seasons as well as EFL Trophy success.
When the Cowley brothers left Lincoln, Michael Appleton took over and following a Covid-19 hit season, guided the club to the League One Play-offs following a brilliant start to the campaign.
The Lincolnshire side last played second tier football over 60 years ago and, after the perfect start, it looks like maybe it was their time to return. But Blackpool held firm and were able to produce a comeback which the Imps could not respond to.
Despite the loss, Appleton is happy with how his side have played this season. He will look to further build on this momentum to hopefully achieve promotion into the Championship next season.