BLACK­POOL ....2 DERBY CO........1

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Pippa Field

RE­LIEVED Black­pool man­ager Paul Ince turned his fo­cus firmly to next sea­son af­ter their Cham­pi­onship sta­tus was fi­nally rub­ber­stamped with vic­tory over Derby County.

Lu­dovic Sylvestre’s stop­page-time goal proved de­ci­sive af­ter Rams sub­sti­tute Ben Davies had seem­ingly snatched a draw by can­celling out Gary Tay­lor-Fletcher’s strike.

It could – and should – have been a lot sim­pler for Black­pool but Thomas Ince missed a first-half penalty that would have made it 2-0.

And af­ter mak­ing a meal of see­ing off the Rams and stay­ing up man­ager Ince ad­mit­ted he had plenty of catch­ing up to do as he plans for next sea­son.

“I’m glad this fan­tas­tic club has man­aged to stay in the Cham­pi­onship and we can go for­ward next year,” he said.

“I’m a bit gut­ted that it’s taken us this long to sal­vage where we are go­ing to be.

“You want to be proac­tive in your plan­ning but we’ve had to wait un­til the sec­ond last game to be safe. Now I will sit down with the chair­man and start get­ting some tar­gets.

“We do need fresh faces. I don’t want to dis­man­tle the whole team, we have a fan­tas­tic core here but I just want to add to it. I thought the longer the game went on, the more ner­vous we got.

“You get the early goal, you think that’s go­ing to set­tle you. You get the penalty, which for me wasn’t a penalty.

“But you ex­pect my son to score it so he’ll be get­ting no pocket money this week.

“It just hit the in­side of the post and you be­gin to won­der.

“But one thing about th­ese play­ers is they never know when they are beat. We kept go­ing and we got our just re­wards in the end.”

Black­pool went ahead on 18 min­utes – Tay­lor-Fletcher re­act­ing first af­ter Rams defender John Bray­ford blocked Matt Phillips’ goal­bound flick.

Just past the half-hour they were awarded a penalty when Craig Forsyth was ad­judged to have brought down Kirk Broad­foot – but Ince’s spot-kick bounced back off the post.

Stephen Crainey’s free­kick al­most dou­bled his side’s lead shortly af­ter half­time but Derby keeper Adam Legzdins – in for the sus­pended Frank Field­ing – tipped over.

Bray­ford came to the Rams res­cue again on 50 min­utes – this time deny­ing Tay­lorFletcher’s goal­bound shot.

But Davies hauled his side level on 64 min­utes with a deft fin­ish into the bot­tom cor­ner.

Push­ing for the win­ner, Nathan Delfouneso saw his 90th minute vol­ley bounce back off the cross­bar.

But im­me­di­ately af­ter­wards, Sylvestre – con­trol­ling the ball on his chest – volleyed in from the edge of the box.

Al­ready as­sured of safety, Rams boss Nigel Clough nev­er­the­less be­moaned the of­fi­ci­at­ing dur­ing the match.

“We feared the worse with the de­ci­sion that was made with the penalty be­cause it was then con­tin­ued for the next 60 odd min­utes,” he said.

“The play­ers are very an­gry at los­ing be­cause we hate it, but also they are very an­gry and up­set at the of­fi­cials’ per­for­mance – all three of them.

“There was noth­ing in the game, I thought we edged it sec­ond half and we were go­ing to go on and win the game but we end up los­ing in­stead of get­ting a guar­an­teed point.

“We just va­cated the edge of the box the last few min­utes, which we are dis­ap­pointed with.”

HAVE SOME OF THAT: Black­pool's Lu­dovic Sylvestre fires home the late win­ner

LOOK AT ME: Gary Tay­lor-Fletcher, cen­tre, cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing Black­pool's opener

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age

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