The final group game for our U23s ended in defeat at Bloomfield Road tonight as interest in the Checkatrade Trophy is over for this season, but, especially in the second half, Paul Stephenson’s side gave it a right go.

The first chance fell to the home side with just two minutes played when Danny Philliskirk swung over a free-kick and Curtis Tilt head straight at Tomas Mejias.

Philliskirk was the threat again as Boro scrambled to cover when Mejias and Ryan Shotton didn’t clear their lines and after a quick throw the striker saw a low shot blocked.

George Miller is a striker in form and won a corner through sheer persistence when a shot from the edge of the box was deflected behind.

It took a terrific goal line clearance from Caleb Richards to deny Lewis Wing as Boro pressed in an open start.

It was Richards the provider as the League One side took the lead with 24 minutes played as he swung over a cross and Danny Philliskirk glanced in a header.

It was nearly two a few minutes later when Tilt, under pressure from Luke Armstrong headed just off target.

A pacey run from Viv Solomon-Otabor threatened much but didn’t produce and although the Tangerines were now enjoying a lot more possession it was Boro who created two half chances as first Shotton fired just wide and Armstrong had two chances blocked.

The next goal was an absolute cracker, sadly it was scored by Blackpool as Sean Longstaff took one touch when set up by Solomon-Otabor and let fly from 22 yards – Mejias had no chance.

Half-time: Blackpool 2 Boro U23s 0

Paul Stephenson made a change for the start of the second half with Amadou Sylla replaced by Connor Malley.

It was the Tangerines who were the first to press however, though a shot from Philliskirk was straight at Mejias.

When Mejias’ opposite number Ben Williams played a stray pass through his penalty area Wing pounced, set up Luke Armstrong who rifled home to raise hope of a comeback on 54 minutes.

It took two minutes for Blackpool to hit back and it was another stunning strike that was Boro’s undoing as Sessi D’Almeida sent an unstoppable shot beyond Mejias from well outside the box.

Wing is a very good striker of a free-kick and another sweetly-struck effort had Williams working as Stephenson’s side looked for a way back in a spirited response.

Richards was in the right place at the right time to deny Armstrong with a goalline clearance as Boro continued to have a go and George Miller had a shot saved.

Tilt headed just over in the closing stages, but the Seasiders added a fourth a little against the run of play when a flowing move was rounded off by Danny Philliskirk who tucked home from close range and ensure a passage to the next stage of the competition for his team.

In the first minute of added on time Wing forced a save from Williams as Boro looked to get at least one back, but it wasn’t to be.

Scorers Philliskirk 24, Longstaff 43, Armstrong 54, D’Almeida 56, Philliskirk 89

Blackpool Williams; Richards, Mellor (Taylor 61), Tilt, Anderton, D’Almeida, Longstaff (Spearing 76), Philliskirk, Solomon-Otabor, Clayton, Quigley (Gnanduillet 76). Subs: Mafoumbi (gk); Turton, Aimson, Delfouneso. Order of subs on 76: 1) Gnanduillet 2) Spearing.

Boro Mejias; Hegarty, Shotton, Brewitt (Capt.), McGinley, Coulson (O’Neill 77), Liddle, Wing, Sylla (Malley 46), Miller, Armstrong. Subs: James (gk); Reading, Cook.

Referee Martin Coy. County Durham

Yellow cards
Richards 87, foul

Brewitt 84, foul