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Blackpool denied in final play-off push after defeat at Reading on last day
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Blackpool’s Karamoko Dembele scored at Reading (Mike Egerton/PA)
Blackpool’s Karamoko Dembele scored at Reading (Mike Egerton/PA)

Blackpool missed out on the Sky Bet League One play-offs after falling to a 3-2 defeat in their final game of the season at Reading.

Karamoko Dembele had given Blackpool the perfect start, opening the scoring in only the fourth minute, but Sam Smith nodded Reading level on the brink of half-time.

Goals from Harvey Knibbs and Femi Azeez in a three-minute spell after the interval effectively sealed the visitors’ fate, with substitute Jordan Gabriel’s late effort proving too little, too late.

At kick-off at the SCL Stadium, eighth-placed Blackpool were locked in a four-way fight with Barnsley, Lincoln and Oxford for the last two remaining play-off spots.

A four-match winning run had propelled Neil Critchley’s side into late contention and they began strongly in Berkshire.

Reading’s defensive cover was exposed on the right and Dembele, the winger on loan from Ligue 1 side Brest, stroked home from the edge of the area.

The hosts responded positively and, in the second minute of first-half stoppage time, Smith stooped to head home an Azeez cross for his 16th goal of the season and fourth in successive games.

Blackpool tried to resurrect their fading top-six hopes after the break only for Sonny Carey and Hayden Coulsen to blaze over when well placed.

It proved costly, with Knibbs tucking in a pass from Mamadi Camara – also his 16th goal of the campaign – to give Reading the lead in the 68th minute.

Three minutes later, a headed flick from Smith was expertly converted by Azeez.

Blackpool’s response saw Gabriel charge down an attempted stoppage-time clearance from home goalkeeper Joel Pereira, with the ball going into the net, but it was a mere consolation.


League OneBlackpoolReading
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