Stoke City 2-0 Blackpool: Harry Clarke and Jacob Brown earn comfortable win for Potters

Stoke's Harry Clarke wheels away to celebrate his first-half goal
Harry Clarke joined on loan from Arsenal in the summer

Stoke City earned their first three points of the season with Harry Clarke and Jacob Brown giving them a deserved Championship victory over Blackpool.

Defender Clarke, on loan from Arsenal, nodded Josh Tymon’s far-post cross past Daniel Grimshaw to give the Potters a first-half lead.

The Seasiders improved in the second half, with Josh Bowler going close to equalizing shortly after the restart.

Stoke missed several chances to double their lead before Brown grabbed their second at the near post with 15 minutes remaining.

Dwight Gayle, who joined from Newcastle last month, registered the first effort on goal for the hosts after 13 minutes, but Grimshaw was equal to the striker’s shot.

Blackpool had to weather plenty of early pressure before Gary Madine sent a glancing header wide and that was the forward’s final action in the game as he pulled up with an injury and was replaced by Theo Corbeanu.

Stoke’s Josh Laurent then rattled the bar with a fierce effort before the Tangerines went close at the other end when Jerry Yates marginally failed to get on the end of Sonny Carey’s ball across the goal.

Michael O’Neill’s side went ahead when Clarke headed in Tymon’s deep cross from close range to score the Potters’ first goal of the season.

The visitors started the second half much-improved and their most dangerous player Bowler fired narrowly wide after a driving run into the box.

Bowler was causing problems for the Stoke defense and was clipped on the edge of the penalty area on the hour mark, but Blackpool failed to take advantage of the promising attacking position as Lewis Fiorini’s free-kick was headed away.

Stoke twice came close to doubling their lead in quick succession when Aden Flint placed a header over the bar from Tymon’s free-kick, before Grimshaw made a fine reaction save to deny Gayle a first goal for his new club.

However, the second goal only seemed like a matter of time and it duly arrived as another dangerous Tymon cross was swept home by Brown.

Stoke boss Michael O’Neill told BBC Radio Stoke:

“There’s still loads to work on and players are still getting to know each other.

“There’s a lot of new players in this group and it’s a big change in the team so it will take a little bit of time but I think there’s good signs there based on what we saw today.

“I think we can make changes without weakening the team and I think there’s players that need games but we’ll pick a team that’s strong enough to win the game and the most important thing is to get consistency in our team as well.”

Blackpool head coach Michael Appleton:

“From a result point of view, we probably got what we deserved because of the performance from the first half. It was way away from what I’d expect from any team that I manage in terms of being passive, lacking aggression, being brave and getting on the ball.

“The second half gave me encouragement; I thought we were much braver and far more competitive. We got a decent response at half-time, but the damage had been done in the first half – it was just the mentality side of it.

“A couple of lads looked a little lethargic and didn’t know if the game was too big for them. Seventy percent of the team showed me that they can deal with that pressure in the second half.”

Line-ups

Stock

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Bursik
  • 32Taylor
  • 4Flint
  • 16Wilmot
  • 2Clarke
  • 8BakerBooked at 74mins
  • 28LaurentBooked at 90mins
  • 18SmallboneSubstituted forClucasat 84′minutes
  • 14TymonSubstituted forThompsonat 90+4′minutes
  • 11GayleSubstituted forCampbellat 81′minutes
  • 9Brown

Substitutes

  • 6Jagielka
  • 7Clucas
  • 10Campbell
  • 13Bonham
  • 15Thompson
  • 22Kilkenny
  • 29Wright-Phillips

Blackpool

Formation 4-3-3

  • 32Grimshaw
  • 2ConnollyBooked at 90mins
  • 21An epithet
  • 15R Williams
  • 23Thompson
  • 8FioriniSubstituted forPatinaat 70′minutes
  • 16Carey
  • 17VirtueSubstituted forDougallat 45′minutesBooked at 78mins
  • 11Bowler
  • 14MadinaSubstituted forCorbeanat 21′minutes
  • 9YatesSubstituted forLaveryat 82′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Maxwell
  • 12Dougall
  • 19Lavery
  • 22Hamilton
  • 25Corbean
  • 28Patina
  • 34Thornley

Referees:
Robert Madeley

Attendance:
23,612

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