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Ince at the double to increase Blackpool’s relegation worries
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Tom Ince scored twice for Reading (PA)
Tom Ince scored twice for Reading (PA)

Blackpool’s Sky Bet Championship relegation fears deepened with a 3-1 loss to mid-table Reading at the SCL Stadium.

Reading’s top scorer Tom Ince gave his side a half-time lead and, although Blackpool improved after the break, they were sunk by two goals in two minutes from Andy Carroll (penalty) and Ince.

The visitors did claw a goal back, through Sonny Carey deep into stoppage-time, but it was too little, too late.

The Tangerines, under new head coach Mick McCarthy, had ended a 14-match winless league run by beating Stoke at home last Saturday but they lost at Blackburn on Tuesday night and sat four points from safety ahead of their trip to Berkshire.

Reading had won only once in eight Championship games but were unbeaten in six home fixtures in all competitions.

The visitors began promisingly, with most of their moves along the left flank, and defender Curtis Nelson saw a shot blocked on the edge of the home area.

But Reading soon started to reassert control, with Yakou Meite heading a Junior Hoilett cross straight at goalkeeper Chris Maxwell, before Naby Sarr nodded over from an Ince free-kick.

Blackpool should have heeded the early warnings but they were caught napping in the 13th minute when Meite set up Ince. The winger jinked into the box and saw his well-struck effort take a decisive deflection off defender Jordan Thorniley on its way past Maxwell.

Blackpool tried to regroup but mustered little going forward and the hosts could have extended their lead before the break.

Stand-in skipper Carroll twice wasted good openings, narrowly missing a header from an Ince cross and then half-volleying over the crossbar.

Gary Madine did go close approaching the interval, with a shot that just missed Joe Lumley’s far post, and Blackpool started the better in the second period.

Ian Poveda worked his way into the home area, only to see his final attempt deflected behind for a corner, before Luke Garbutt’s well-struck 20-yard free-kick was gathered comfortably by Lumley.

Blackpool continued to press, as Reading sat back and protected their advantage, but were then caught out by a quickfire home double.

In the 70th minute, Meite was brought down in the area – by a clumsy dual challenge from Curtis Nelson and Andy Lyons – and Carroll fired home the spot-kick for his sixth goal of the season.

Two minutes later, Meite again caused havoc cutting in from the right wing and Nelson made a poor attempt at a clearance. Ince was lurking not far away and clinically despatched his ninth goal of the campaign.

Carey did reduce the gap in stoppage-time, with a powerful shot after a goalmouth scramble,  but Blackpool remain in the bottom three.


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