Blackpool and Lincoln City Meet in League One Play-Off Final
The Tangerines Finish with a Flourish
Blackpool enter their fabled Play-Off final playground in fine form. The Seasiders finished the regular league season in third spot, helped by a 15-match unbeaten run. The team won their final four games – a four-game winning streak with four consecutive clean sheets. A record of seven goals and none conceded meant Blackpool entered the play-offs in high spirits. Their 80-point haul is the highest total for 14 years when the club also finished in third position.
That summer of 2007, the club achieved a perfect ten of ten consecutive wins. Their remarkable run included beating Swansea City 6-3 to reach the final. In that final, Blackpool beat Yeovil Town 2-0 at Wembley to earn promotion to the Championship for the first time in 29 years.
In the Play-Offs, Blackpool saw off Oxford United in a highly entertaining two-legged tie. The Tangerines beat their opponents 0-3 away followed by a thrilling 3-3 at Bloomfield Road. A 6-3 result which ensured Blackpool will take part in a play-off final once again this millennium for a record sixth time.
Blackpool Play-Off Pedigree
Blackpool have play-off pedigree in abundance. The club, along with Huddersfield Town, are the only two teams to have achieved promotion through the play-offs from each of the three main divisions of English football. The Seasiders have a formidable record in their favourite format, stretching back to 1992.
The Men to Watch Out for in the League One Play-Off Final: Blackpool
Manager Neil Critchley has had a fine first full season in charge. The former Liverpool U23 boss gradually got the measure of his side thanks to a solid and spirited unit. The goals started to flow from forward Jerry Yates (23 for the season), on-loan Everton striker Ellis Simms (ten) and former Crystal Palace winger Sullay Kaikai (seven). Goalkeeper Chris Maxwell has been a rock at the back keeping many a clean sheet and saving some crucial penalties throughout the season.
Lincoln City On the Verge of History
As recent as 2017, Lincoln City were in the fifth tier of the Football League. It was a club which were in the National League and going nowhere fast. But thanks to the Cowley brothers of Danny and Nicky, the team surged with back-to-back promotions. They were leading League One until the brothers left for Huddersfield Town. However, the club have kept that momentum and are one match away from returning to the second tier of English football for the first time since the 1950’s.
A Mixed Bag for The Imps
Despite three consecutive wins and clean sheets in April, Lincoln City enter the final with mixed results. The team have won just two games in their last eight. However, they impressively dispatched Sunderland over two Play-Off matches. There was a 2-0 home win in the first leg followed by a 2-1 defeat at the Stadium of Light. Overall, a 3-2 aggregate scoreline and Wembley awaits. It is only three since their last trip to Wembley in the Football League Trophy final. Lincoln City prevailed over Shrewsbury Town 1-0.
The Men to Watch Out for in the League One Play-Off Final: Lincoln City
Michael Appleton’s team have four players who have 10 goals or more in the league. Their joint top scorers are firstly midfielder Jorge Grant who has scored in 17 games. He also doubles up as their top assist provider too with 12 so he is their main dangerman. Anthony Scully has had a fine first full season since his move from West Ham United. The forward has been on target in 17 games too and has seven assists. There have been 13 goals scored by Wales international midfielder Brennan Johnson, who is on loan from Nottingham Forest. Striker Tom Hopper has 11 for the season. They are a team with powerful goalscorers and their variety of scorers is their main weapon of armoury.
League One Play-Off Final: Head to Head Record
During the league season, both sides produced two entertaining matches producing nine goals in total. Lincoln City defeated Blackpool away from home 2-3 early in the season before the two drew at Sincil Bank 2-2 in April. So it is The Imps who have the marginal gain going into Sunday’s showpiece final.
An expectancy of goals awaits these two similar footballing sides. Wembley is ready for a potential classic.