Wembley point of view

Lincoln City suffered play-off heartbreak at Wembley as they were defeated 2-1 by Blackpool.

A brace from Kenny Dougall sealed promotion for the Tangerines after Lincoln took the lead in the opening minute.

Michael Appleton made two changes to his line-up from the second leg of the semi-final against Sunderland. Joe Walsh and Conor McGrandles came into the side, replacing Lewis Montsma and Anthony Scully.

Sensational Start

The game could not have started much better for Lincoln, taking the lead inside 60 seconds after Ollie Turton turned the ball into his own net.

Michael Appleton’s men were buoyed with confidence after that early goal and were the better of the two sides in the opening ten minutes. Brennan Johnson was proving to be the main threat down the right-hand side as Blackpool struggled to deal with the Nottingham Forest loanee.

Jorge Grant has been the key man for Lincoln this season and his brilliance can often be spurred out of nothing. After being pinned inside of their own half, the Imps’ talisman saw his audacious effort from the edge of the area hit the crossbar on 25 minutes.

Blackpool then tested Alex Palmer for the first time just a minute later, as a powerful effort from Demetri Mitchell was saved superbly by the Lincoln goalkeeper.

The Seasiders then equalised in the 33rd minute. Elliot Embleton played the ball to Kenny Dougall, who fired powerfully beyond the reach of Palmer.

It was then Blackpool who were brimming with confidence in the Wembley sun. They continued to pin Lincoln back, and had yet another chance at goal, as a header from Mitchell was saved by Palmer.

Battling Performance

Kenny Dougall then made it a brace for the afternoon in the 53rd minute to give Blackpool the lead. In similar fashion to his first, Dougall found himself in space at the edge of the area to strike home into the bottom corner.

The Imps made their first change of the afternoon shortly after, with Callum Morton replacing Tom Hopper. Lincoln were looking the more likely to score next after looking bewildered for much of the first half, although they failed to test goalkeeper Chris Maxwell.

Inside Wembley ahead of the League One play-off final. Photo: Harvey Conyers

Lincoln continued to battle but were finding little in the way of luck. Jerry Yates had the opportunity to seal the win for Blackpool in the 71st minute, only for his chipped attempt to be cleared off the line by Regan Poole.

Callum Morton then had another chance for the Imps in the 85th minute. A delicate ball into the box from Johnson found Morton, who could not direct his header towards goal.

Lincoln were throwing everything that they had left in the tank at the Blackpool defence. Morgan Rogers saw his effort go just wide of the post, before Appleton threw one last roll of the dice by bringing on Lewis Montsma to play further forward.

There was one final chance for Lincoln, but Poole saw his shot go blazing over the bar in the final few seconds.

Despite the heartbreak, the efforts from this squad and team can be commended after this remarkable season. Michael Appleton saw his budget cut by 40%, but to put together a squad that has come within touching distance of promotion should be applauded.

Fans dared to dream, and this football club has done the entire city proud.