Gallagher Premiership Weekend Preview - Round 25 guideMay 19 | 5 min read
Jake Beesley nets twice on full debut as Blackpool hit Birmingham for six
Beesley joined the club from Rochdale in January.
Jake Beesley celebrated his first Sky Bet Championship start with two goals as Blackpool stormed to a 6-1 victory over Birmingham at Bloomfield Road.
Beesley, CJ Hamilton, Kenny Dougall, Jerry Yates and Callum Connolly all netted as Neil Critchley’s side cruised to their first win in six matches and heaped more pressure on Blues boss Lee Bowyer.
Former Rochdale forward Beesley took just three minutes to open the scoring before a fine Hamilton strike and Dougall’s towering header left the visitors with a mountain to climb on the seaside.
Beesley grabbed his second shortly after the break and, despite Ivan Sunjic pulling one back for the visitors, Yates’ late penalty and a long-range Connolly free-kick inflicted a third consecutive defeat on 20th-placed – but mathematically safe – Birmingham.
Bowyer made four changes to the side sunk 4-2 by Coventry as captain Troy Deeney returned for his first start for three months.
January recruit Beesley, 25, was thrown into the Blackpool side by Critchley, while Richard Keogh also returned at the heart of defence.
The game kicked off at a frantic tempo and the hosts wasted no time breaking the deadlock in front of a rocking atmosphere.
Clever work from Shayne Lavery found Hamilton on the right and his low cross was clinically converted by Beesley.
Blues almost hit back immediately when Connolly was forced to make an important defensive header, before Marc Roberts repelled another Blackpool attack after a strong run from Charlie Kirk.
But it was Blackpool who doubled their early advantage after Dougall capitalised on Blues’ profligacy in possession to unleash Hamilton, who fired a low shot past Zach Jeacock and into the near corner.
That goal sparked fury among the lively 3,500-strong travelling contingent, but the visitors did go close to hitting back when Chris Maxwell made an instinctive save from a Deeney header and Onel Hernandez had a shot deflected wide.
But Blackpool made it three on the stroke of half-time as Dougall rose highest in a packed penalty area to nod home Kirk’s corner and all but seal the contest.
Deeney should have cut the gap straight after but was denied by a brilliant Keshi Anderson tackle having been put clean through in the box by a clever Hernandez pass.
Lyle Taylor had a powerful shot punched away by Maxwell before the Blackpool keeper then thwarted Jordan James after a strong driving run.
But Blackpool netted their fourth just before the hour mark as Beesley reacted quickest to Connolly’s parried shot to slot into an empty net.
Bowyer’s team did respond and grabbed a goal seven minutes later when Sunjic converted Hernandez’s pull-back.
Beesley was denied a hat-trick when his header crashed off a post but, after being replaced by Gary Madine, the Blackpool substitute created the fifth as he was brought down in the box for Yates to roll home from the spot.
Hamilton’s long-range shot then cannoned off the bar, but Connolly still had time to hit Birmingham for six as his brilliant free-kick beat Jeacock from 30 yards.