POOL EYE PLAY-OFFS AS O’S GO

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Scott Hunt

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.”

PICTURES: Me­dia Im­age

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

STAR MAN JACK PAYNE Black­pool

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