POOL EYE PLAY-OFFS AS O’S GO
BLACKPOOL manager Gary Bowyer believes his side enter the play-off tie with Luton as underdogs after the Seasiders secured a top-seven place with victory over already-relegated Leyton Orient.
The build-up to the game was dominated by the pre-match protests involving thousands of supporters from various clubs against the ownership of both Blackpool and Orient.
Kick-off was delayed by five minutes, but once it began Blackpool took control and goals from Neil Danns, Mark Cullen and Andy Taylor did the job. Jens Janse scored a goal out of nowhere for Orient.
“We knew what we needed to do and in the end we got it done,” Bowyer said.
“We started the game well and scored two very good goals. I was pleased with the response because panic could have set in but it didn’t and that shows the learning that has taken place throughout the season.
“The players have been committed and worked hard to improve which is what we want.
“Luton are favourites because they beat us twice. They’ll be disappointed that they haven’t got automatic. We know exactly what it’s going to be like and we’re looking forward to it.”
Blackpool were ahead after 11 minutes when Jack Payne’s cross from the right was nodded into the far corner by Danns from eight yards. And their lead was doubled after 36 minutes by Cullen, whose low shot found the bottom righthand corner from 18 yards.
Orient pulled one back after 50 minutes. Their fans were busy ironically celebrating a previous shot on target when Blackpool’s Andy Taylor was caught in possession by defender Janse who then slotted through Sam Slocombe’s legs.
Brad Potts wasted a glorious opportunity for Blackpool, blasting over from six yards, before Taylor atoned for his error by scoring their third after 65 minutes – drilling into the far corner from 15 yards to secure their play-off spot.
“We are so grateful for the support of the fans,” said Orient manager Omer Riza. “Next year they will come back even louder, bigger, stronger. They’ve been great with me and I respect them a lot. “Of course I would like to be in charge next season. I’d like to think I’ve become part of the club now. “It was always going to be a game where whatever we did, won, lost, drew, it was about our fans being able to come up and watch the last League Two game for a while. “It was nice to be able to say bye to them as well at the end of the game. Hopefully there are better times ahead.”
TOP CORNER: Neil Danns makes it 1-0 after both Blackpool and Orient fans joined forces in protest, inset
PICK THAT OUT: Neil Danns celebrates his opener
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