Blackpool 1 Doncaster Rovers 1: Sharp strikes to give Doncaster ‘a massive psychological lift’

BILLY SHARP marked his return to Doncaster Rovers with a late goal which denied Blackpool a first win under caretaker manager Barry Ferguson.
Billy SharpBilly Sharp
Billy Sharp

With the clock ticking down and Blackpool leading 1-0, Sharp got the faintest of touches on David Cotterill’s free-kick to earn Doncaster a share of the spoils.

Doncaster manager Paul Dickov said: “It looks as though he (Billy Sharp) nicked it and that’s what he’s been brought here for.

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“We played better and created more chances when we played Blackburn up here a few weeks ago and they beat us 1-0.

“But we’ve got a fox-in-the-box striker who can score you goals and he’s managed to nick us a point.

“I feel given the quality of our delivery and the size of the team we should score more goals from set-pieces and we managed to do that.

“We struggled to find our feet in the first half; they came storming out of the blocks as I knew they would do, knowing Barry (Ferguson). But we slowly got into the game and I felt we deserved the goal when it came. It’s a massive psychological advantage to move out of the bottom three. I told them before the game,’let’s get out of the bottom three today, get a result, and then kick on from there’ and that’s what we’ve managed to do.”

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Andy Halliday looked to have given the home side a win with his debut strike on 78 minutes but Sharp popped up with a late header to salvage a draw for the visitors.

It was one-way traffic in the first half as rejuvenated Blackpool – who sacked Paul Ince last week – looked to stem a run of nine defeats in 10 games.

But they were missing wantaway striker Tom Ince – who was excluded from Ferguson’s matchday squad – and Blackpool perhaps lacked the quality to snatch all three points.

“I loved every minute of it; you could see that on the sidelines,” said Ferguson. “I’m just gutted for the boys because they gave me absolutely everything out there.

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“I was nervous when I woke up. It was a mixture of emotions; I was nervous, excited.”

He added: “It was probably the shortest team talk they’ve ever had. I just gave them a couple of minutes on Doncaster but I wanted to focus on us. (Saturday) was about us.”

Blackpool: Gilks, McMahon, Broadfoot, Cathcart, Robinson, Basham, Osbourne, Perkins, Eccleston (Goodwillie 66), Davies (Tyson 80), Chopra (Halliday 66). Unused substitutes: Warner, Caton, Dodd, Martinez.

Doncaster Rovers: Turnbull, Tamas, Khumalo, Meite, Husband, Duffy (Cotterill 82), Wellens, Keegan, Coppinger, Brown, Sharp. Unused substitutes: Quinn, Furman, Maxted, De Val Fernandez, Peterson, Stevens.

Referee: D Coote (Nottinghamshire).

Man of the match: Billy Sharp.