Aussie Dougall rides waves of adulation as his double fires Blackpool back to the Championship
League One Play-Off Final
Blackpool (1) 2 Dougall 34, 54
Lincoln City (1) 1 Turton OG 1
Kenny Dougall – the Aussie who traded the Queensland’s Gold Coast to ply his trade near Blackpool beach – bagged the goals which have returned the Seasiders to the Championship after a six-year absence.
The 28-year-old midfielder with the appropriately bleached surfers’ barnet, was on hand two twice rifle in from just outside the area as the Tangerine-shirted Pool recovered admirably from falling behind to an own goal when the game was not even a minute old.
It will not rank as their most famous visit to these pastures - this was no Matthews Cup Final – but it is another welcome notch in the play-off bed-post for a club which has made more final appearances than anyone.
This was Blackpool's eighth Football League play-off final appearance, at least three more than any other team. They have now won promotion six times via the play-offs, also the most of any side.
Lincoln were hoping to add another chapter to a recent meteoric rise as the first ever team to win promotion from the non-league, fourth tier and third tier in the space of five seasons, having won the National League in 2016-17 and League Two in 2018-19.
They were also looking for a return to the second tier of English football for the first time in 60 years.
In the end, they could not manage it. But if this was failure, then it was a very honourable one for Michael Appleton’s team, who saw off Sunderland in the play-off semi-finals.
They must have been believing this was going to be their day, when they went ahead after only 48 seconds.
The overlapping Brennan Johnson – so lively and skilful on the right flank - got around the last defender before drilling a wicked cross that was missed at the near post and turned into his own net by defender Ollie Turton.
Jorge Grant skimmed the top of the crossbar with a dipping effort from just outside the area as Lincoln sought out a second goal.
But Neil Critchley’s Blackpool side did not panic and responded well to the early setback and to their opponents’ crisp and purposeful start.
Demetri Mitchell might have drawn Pool level with a full-blooded drive from inside the area which was too close to keeper Alex Palmer and on 34 minutes, they were back on level terms with a left footer from just outside the area by Dougall after good possession-stealing from Jerry Yates.
And Yates it was who set up Dougall for his second 10 minutes into the second half – his lay-off finding the blond mop-top lurking just outside the area for a firmly-planted strike into the bottom corner.
There was a late chance for Lincoln, but Regan Poole skied high into the bank of Imps fans stationed in the east end of the stadium. It condemned his side to a third loss in as many play-off finals. They have yet to discover the formula that Blackpool have clearly found for these occasions.
Seasiders: (4-2-3-1) Maxwell – Turton, Ballard, Husband, Garbutt – Stewart, Dougall – Mitchell (Madine 69), Embleton (Hamilton 80), K Anderson (Ward 80) – Yates (Thorniley 90). Subs not used: Gabriel, Ekpiteta, Moore
Imps: (4-3-3) Palmer – Poole, Eyoma, Walsh (Montsma 88), Edun – Bridcutt, McGrandles, Grant (Scully 80) – Johnson, Hopper (Morton 63), Rogers. Subs not used: Long, Sanders, H Anderson Bramall