Blackpool 1 Doncaster Rovers 1: Billy Sharp rescues point for Rovers

Billy Sharp goes past Blackpool's Jack Robinson on his return for Rovers
Billy Sharp goes past Blackpool's Jack Robinson on his return for Rovers

Billy Sharp clearly read the script and marked his Rovers return by scoring a dramatic late equaliser at Bloomfield Road - or did he?

Sharp claimed he got a touch on David Cotterill’s inswinging free kick to cancel out Andy Halliday’s opener for the Tangerines, a claim later backed up by boss Paul Dickov.

“It’s not the best of goals but I got a touch,” insisted Sharp.

For hosts Blackpool this was the start of an uncertain new era following the sacking of Paul Ince after a horrendous run of nine defeats from ten games.

For Rovers, the story was a much happier affair with returning hero Sharp seeing his first action back in Doncaster colours since his loan signing from Southampton.

Both sides shared the desire for a change of fortunes with Rovers desperate to build upon last week’s victory over Wigan.

A typically robust Blackpool wind made life difficult for both sides, particularly when play was close to Bloomfield Road’s one open corner.

This put Rovers at a distinct disadvantage in the first half with Blackpool finding plenty of joy down the left hand side where the gusts were most prevalent in their favour.

The hosts also took advantage of a high defensive line from Rovers on a couple of occasions with Khumalo and Meite both slow off the mark.

First, Khumalo was booked for hauling down Davies after the Blackpool striker got goal-side 20 yards out. McMahon went for goal but curled his effort wide.

Then Chopra should have done much better when put clean through with a ball over the top but his attempt to clip a shot home was rushed allowing Turnbull to easily claim.

Eccleston was a constant threat on the overlap on the left with Chopra just failing to connect with a beautifully weighted low cross after Tamas was left for dead.

And the wide man was close to giving Blackpool the lead on 18 minutes when he drilled on goal from 25 yards only to see the ball drop just wide.

Towering midfielder Basham also tested his aim from distance and while his piledriver was always on the rise, it just went over Turnbull’s bar.

Rovers really struggled for possession and particularly pressure with their only real chance in the first half hour coming from a scuffed Brown header from a decent Tamas cross.

They did begin to see some of the ball as the first half wore on but finding a decent delivery into the final third was proving tough.

One decent delivery from Coppinger brought Sharp his first chance back in a Rovers shirt as half-time neared.

Coppinger clipped a cross which Sharp met with a diving header but could only watch it creep narrowly wide.

Chopra should really have put Blackpool in front when finding space in the area but he fired straight at Turnbull who saved superbly with his legs seconds later on the line to keep out a Basham header.

As expected, Rovers were much more threatening in the second half and really should have made the pressure pay over the first 20 minutes of the period.

Keegan put the ball narrowly over from 20 yards while Coppinger twice tested Gilks with shots from distance.

The most gilt-edged of chances came from Brown.

The striker looked well offsuide when a ball came over the top but the flag stayed down. Unfortunately, his shot on the turn did not and sailed over

Blackpool threw on new signings Goodwillie and Halliday in a bid to tip the balance of play and the game certainly evened out in the remaining time.

Blackpool took the lead 13 minutes from time.

The ball was tossed around in the area after a corner until substitute HALLIDAY found space to fire home from close range.

There is going to be plenty of debate over who got Rovers’ equaliser.

Substitute Cotterill whipped in a free kick, Sharp swung at the ball which found its way into the bottom corner with little change in trajectory.

Both claimed the goal in their celebration but it was SHARP credited with the final touch, earning Rovers a precious point to lift them out of the bottom three.