Vaulks un­locks stub­born Seasiders

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Mark Wil­liams

ROTHER­HAM United warmed up for the play-offs with a hard­fought and slen­der vic­tory over mid-ta­ble Black­pool.

Will Vaulks’ fine sec­ond-half strike was enough to se­cure fourth spot for Paul Warne’s out­fit, but in the end the hosts were for­tu­nate to earn all three points af­ter the Tan­ager­ines squan­dered a host of late chances at the New York Sta­dium.

It was a lively and open start to the game with the hosts go­ing clos­est. Neat work on the edge of the box by Ryan Wil­liams led to the ball drop­ping to Michael Smith and the striker’s an­gled ef­fort flashed across the face of goal af­ter 11 min­utes. Soon af­ter Joe Mat­tock sent a header over the bar fol­low­ing an outswing­ing free-kick from Vaulks.

At the other end Black­pool al­ways looked a threat and they came close when Sean Longstaff ’s clever free­kick was well saved by Marek Ro­dak.

Chances con­tin­ued to be cre­ated and Warne’s charges wasted an ex­cep­tional one just past the half-hour mark. David Ball jinked into the box and his low cross was some­how pinged wide from close range by skip­per Richard Wood.

For all of Black­pool’s en­deav­our and will­ing­ness to com­pete af­ter the break, Rother­ham de­servedly broke the dead­lock in the 58th minute – and in im­pres­sive fash­ion.

The ball dropped at the feet of Vaulks, the club’s player of the sea­son, and the mid­fielder clev­erly turned in­side be­fore fir­ing bril­liantly into the bot­tom cor­ner from the edge of the box.

Black­pool pushed for­ward in search of an equaliser and al­most snatched it when Colin Daniel’s drive was ex­pertly tipped to safety by Ro­dak on 73 min­utes. Sec­onds af­ter that and Nathan Delfouneso found him­self in space in the box but his shot on the turn drifted wide.

Vaulks al­most dou­bled the host’s ad­van­tage on 79 min­utes – but his vol­ley from 20 yards was tipped be­hind by goal­keeper Christof­fer Mafoumbi.

It was a bril­liant end-to-end game to round-off the reg­u­lar cam­paign and Ro­dak clawed out a top cor­ner­bound header from Kelvin Mel­lor late on.

The Seasiders piled men for­ward in the dy­ing mo­ments and it looked like they had grabbed a point in in­jury time but sub­sti­tute Dan Agyei’s curl­ing ef­fort from 15 yards shaved the far post. And then, with the fi­nal kick of the game, Ol­lie Turton fired hor­ri­bly wide from close range fol­low­ing more good work by Agyei.

STAR MAN WILL VAULKS Rother­ham

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