Blackpool 1 Barnsley 2: Scotland again as Reds roar on

Jason Scotland give Barnsley the 3 points at Blackpool here.
Jason Scotland give Barnsley the 3 points at Blackpool here.
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JASON Scotland bagged gutsy Barnsley what could prove to be another priceless victory as they prevailed in a thriller against 10-man Blackpool.

A third win in eight days saw the Reds’ unbeaten run stretched to six league and cup games under new boss David Flitcroft.

And in Scotland, signed as a free agent last week, the Reds now have a striker who could well fire them to safety.

The former Wigan, Swansea and Ipswich hit-man netted again after coming off the bench in the second half - as he had done on his debut during midweek - and he earned fulsome praise from his new manager after the game.

Flitcroft said: “Jason was calmness personified. When he’s got the ball in a dangerous position so close to goal like that, time just seems to stand still.

“I’ve worked with some great young strikers recently like Adam Le Fondre and Jordan Rhodes, but Jason can be just as clinical as those guys.

“He’s got the power or the placement, and his goals from the bench this week have proved so vital.

“He’s got that knack that all top strikers have, and though he’s not quite ready to put a full half in yet, he’s going to prove a great asset for us.”

With the revitalised Reds looking to upset the odds again, boss Flitcroft made just one change to his starting line-up following the excellent 2-0 home win over Millwall.

And that came in the right wing-back role, with new loan capture Rory Delap coming in for an immediate debut in direct replacement for the departed John Stones. Fellow new capture Chris O’Grady was on the bench, while Scotland was also among the substitutes again despite having scored against Millwall.

On a shocker of a pitch at Bloomfield Road, the first half proved to be difficult for both sets of players at times, but the Reds coped admirably with the Seasiders’ attacking threat and actually went into the interval with the lead.

That opening goal came in the 25th minute, with the excellent Harewood sliding an inch-perfect through-ball to Jim O’Brien, who smashed home his first goal of the season with aplomb from 15 yards.

Minutes earlier O’Brien had been denied by a smart save from Matt Gilks, while David Perkins - the Reds’ star man again following another barnstorming display in the heart of the midfield - volleyed narrowly over after O’Brien’s corner-kick wasn’t cleared.

Blackpool scarcely troubled Luke Steele, with Tiago Gomes wasting their best chance in just the sixth minute.

However, the hosts came out with all guns blazing after the interval.

Angel Martinez and Craig Cathcart both went close, before man of the moment Tom Ince levelled it up in the 55th minute.

The sought-after wide-man crashed home his 16th goal of the season from the edge of the box after meeting a cross from the flank from left-back Stephen Crainey.

Ten minutes later, the game swung back into the Reds’ favour when keeper Gilks was sent off.

Racing out of his area to meet on-rushing sub O’Grady, Gilks saw the ball strike his arm and hand and referee Mr Eltringham went straight to his pocket to brandish the red card.

Tom Kennedy curled the subsequent free-kick narrowly wide, but then the depleted Seasiders forced the pace.

Sub Matt Derbyshire glanced a header wide, then in the 86th minute he crashed a sweetly-struck effort against the crossbar with Steele clutching at thin air.

At that point it looked as though the hosts might go on to nick an unlikely win, but a minute later that man Scotland won it for the Reds to send the sizeable travelling faithful into dreamland.

Barging into the box, Scotland saw an initial effort blocked by replacement keeper Mark Halstead, but he made no mistake with the rebound, guiding the ball neatly into the net from an acute angle.

Seasiders’ caretaker boss Steve Thompson groaned: “We’re just in need of a bit of lady luck.

“The sending-off definitely wasn’t a blatant handball, but once we’ve gone down to 10 we have to react to the situation.”