Sheffield United 0-1 Blackpool: Keshi Anderson magic seals memorable win and sends the Seasiders into the play-off spots

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Keshi Anderson’s superb solo effort secured a memorable away win against Sheffield United to move Blackpool up to SIXTH in the Championship.

 

The Seasiders had to survive large swathes of pressure from the home side, who rattled the Blackpool bar, had a goal ruled out for offside and were denied by a series of fine Dan Grimshaw stops.

But Neil Critchley’s men stayed in the game and got their reward late on when Anderson beat the offside trap before curling home into the top corner – sending Blackpool’s 2,000 visiting supporters into bedlam.

Blackpool’s third straight win and their seventh from their last 10 means the newly-promoted Seasiders now move into the play-off places.

Critchley surprised us all an hour before the game by naming an unchanged side for just the fifth time in the 66 league games he’s taken charge of.

It meant Kenny Dougall was fit to continue in midfield despite taking a knock to his ankle during last week’s derby win against Preston.

Gary Madine, meanwhile, led the line for the second game running having scored his first goal in nine months in his last outing.

Keshi Anderson celebrates his winning goal for Blackpool

Keshi Anderson celebrates his winning goal for Blackpool

It was a reunion with the Blades for the striker, who enjoyed a brief loan spell at Bramall Lane having previously made over 100 appearances for their rivals Sheffield Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Chris Maxwell (torn quad), Matty Virtue (ACL), Kevin Stewart (ankle), Grant Ward (achilles) and Shayne Lavery (hamstring) all remain sidelined.

Daniel Gretarsson (concussion), Reece James (foot) and CJ Hamilton (also foot) are all back available, but didn’t travel.

Sheffield United, who started the day three points adrift of the Seasiders, made one change from their 3-2 win against Barnsley last Sunday.

The referee for the game was Tony Harrington, who officiated Blackpool’s play-off final win at Wembley back in May.

Backed by over 2,000 Seasiders in the away end, the visitors made a confident start, getting hold of possession nice and early.

A weak back header from former Preston man Ben Davies was almost pounced upon by Madine in the second minute, but keeper Robin Olsen just nipped ahead of the striker to claim.

Jerry Yates was flagged offside a couple of minutes later after being slipped through by Jordan Gabriel, despite it looking like an incredibly tight call.

Sheffield United’s first foray forward ended with Oliver Norwood firing over from the edge of the box after the hosts had worked the ball well from the left-hand flank.

Iliman Ndiaye had the ball in the back of the net for the Blades, heading home from John Fleck’s right-wing cross following a short corner, only for the ‘goal’ to be ruled out for offside.

It took a while for the home fans to realise Ndiaye’s header had been chalked off, the celebrations finally dying down.

The Seasiders retaliated with a great chance of their own, as Jerry Yates – at full stretch – poked agonisingly wide of the upright from James Husband’s pullback.

While Critchley’s men were more than holding their own, they were struggling a little to get to grips with the home side’s one and two-touch interplay and clever movement.

This was the case on one such occasion, when full-back Enda Stevens combined well with Ben Osborn, who got behind Jordan Gabriel and into acres of space, only for his final ball to let him down.

Pool, meanwhile, threatened again when Josh Bowler’s inswinging free-kick almost beat everybody, only for Olsen to claw it off the goalline at the final second.

Slavisa Jokanovic’s men were still causing Pool plenty of problems though and the visitors were given another let-off on 25 minutes.

Ndiaye showed Richard Keogh a clean pair of heels to surge past him, pulling it back for strike partner Lys Mousset who could only shoot straight at Grimshaw from 10 yards out.

The Seasiders continued to live dangerously, as Mousset fired a low ball across the face of the six-yard box, but no teammate was there to take advantage.

The Blades continued to pile on the pressure towards the end of the half, Ndiaye somehow managing to fire wide from point-blank range seven minutes before the interval after latching onto Morgan Gibbs-White’s clever through-ball.

The second-half began in the same vein, the Blades almost scoring inside the first 10 seconds as Gibbs-White’s first-time effort from the edge of the box was well saved by Grimshaw.

Blackpool’s goal continued to live a charmed life, as Mousset rattled the bar after Grimshaw had made an exceptional stop to deny Gibbs-White.

Chris Maxwell’s understudy almost went from hero to zero a moment later when his clearance was charged down by Ndiaye, but thankfully the ball went behind for a goal kick.

On the hour mark, Critchley turned to the bench to make a double change, introducing Demetri Mitchell and Sonny Carey for Josh Bowler and Jerry Yates.

It was at this point in the game that Blackpool, albeit tentatively at first, began to grow in confidence.

Keshi Anderson went close, seeing his fierce left-footed drive – which took a slight deflection – tipped behind by Olsen.

Even with Pool’s nemesis Billy Sharp coming off the bench, you got the feeling Blackpool knew this game was there to be won, with the home side tiring after their dominant exploits up to this point.

With 14 minutes remaining, Keshi Anderson got the goal to put Pool’s noses in front.

What a goal it was too, the midfielder scoring for the second game running having beaten the offside trap to latch onto Grimshaw’s long ball forward.

Anderson showed poise and patience to pull the ball back onto his left foot, before picking out the top corner with aplomb.

It sparked wild scenes of celebrations among the Blackpool fans housed behind the goal, with limbs flying over. A small group of supporters even made their way onto the pitch as the excitement got the better of them.

With four minutes remaining, the Seasiders made their third and final change, replacing goalscorer Anderson with Luke Garbutt.

The Blades, who had already made all three changes, were forced to end the game with 10 men after Davies limped off with a knock.

It meant they had very little left to give in the dying stages, as the Seasiders held out for a memorable, special day in South Yorkshire.

TEAMS

Sheffield United: Olsen, Baldock, Stevens, Davies, Egan, Ndiaye, Osborn (McGoldrick), Fleck (McBurnie), Norwood, Gibbs-White, Mousset (Sharp)

Subs not used: Foderingham, Basham, Hourihane, Norrington-Davies

Blackpool: Grimshaw, Gabriel, Ekpiteta, Keogh, Husband, Dougall, Wintle, Bowler (Mitchell), Anderson (Garbutt), Yates (Carey), Madine

Subs not used: Moore, Sterling, Connolly, Dale

Referee: Tony Harrington

Attendance: 28,304