As it happened: Oxford United 0-3 Blackpool
(Andrew Kearns - CameraSport/Getty Images)


19:56a year ago

That's it from me, thank you for following along!


19:55a year ago

FT: Oxford United 0-3 Blackpool

It's rejoice for Blackpool, who have put one step into Wembley Stadium after an emphatic and comfortable win this afternoon.

Upon the return of fans, Oxford United started so well in the game, with Brandon Barker pulling the strings of the visitor's defence.

However, two quickfire goals on the half-hour mark proved costly for the U's, who then conceded to another Ellis Simms goal in the second 45 minutes.

Bloomfield Road awaits these two sides on Friday night. 

Let's hope United can find an unlikely comeback, something that they've already proven to be able to do. 

19:51a year ago

90' Too many defenders back for United to score

You can hear the frustration ringing around the ground now, and rightly so! Oxford just can't seem to find that all-important goal. 

Blackpool look so well organized; I'd be really surprised if they are caught out at the death. 

Meanwhile, Cameron Brannagan has limped off here; more bad news for yellow fans. 

19:47a year ago

87' Brannagan now looks injured

Looking over to the sidelines, Brannagan looks to be clutching his hamstring, but he has to soldier on as there are no substitutions left!

These United players are dropping like flies now, a real shame and worry for Friday's second-leg. 

19:44a year ago

85' Looks like Winnall's night is over

Hamstring has gone for Sam Winnall, who is now replaced by Alex Gorrin. It has been such a frustrating evening for fans in the stadium, and their search for that elusive goal continues without a recognised striker on the pitch. 
19:42a year ago

83' Another counterattacking opportunity for Blackpool

Following a United corner, Blackpool found some room to flood forward on the break. If it wasn't for Mark Sykes, the visitors could have found fourth joy.
19:40a year ago

Did you know?

The Blackpool goalkeeper, Maxwell, is closing in on eight hours since he last conceded a goal. Wow.

Jerry Yates comes off for Gary Madine in the midst of things, a player that has experienced promotion four times during his playing career.

19:38a year ago

80' Finals subs for United

Hanson and Barker come off for Shodipo and Forde for the last 10 minutes of the affair.
19:37a year ago

78' Corner for Blackpool

There's no sign of the visitors backing off in this game. They've won a corner here, while United look depleted to say the least.

Agyei wins a free-kick from the corner.

19:35a year ago

74' Sub for the visitors

Mitchell and Gabriel on for Andersen and Embleton. 
19:33a year ago

73' GOAL! 3-0... game, set and match

Good defending from Blackpool stops Daniel Agyei from getting on the scoresheet. With United flooding forwards, Blackpool profited from a lax in concentration.

A fluid counterattack finishes with Simms, who made no mistake in slotting a third goal and his second of the day under Stevens. 

19:28a year ago

You have to feel that the next goal is so important

It may be cliché, but the next goal in this tie really does mean a lot. If United were to score, their dreams will not end.

However, if Blackpool were to get a third with no reply, the tie is all but done and dusted. Especially if you look at how defensively well-drilled they are on the back foot.

19:26a year ago

67' Double change for the home side

Lee and Taylor make way for Agyei and Winnall.
19:23a year ago

64' United knocking on the door

James Henry dribbled past the defence, perhaps luckily because it rebounds from a defender. His cross isn't good enough to beat the man at the front post, but there's a glimmer of hope for United.

They have shown a little more enthusiasm in the last few moments.

19:22a year ago

63' Oxford free-kick

A tussle on the near side gets all too scrappy for the referee, who grants United a deep free-kick.

Good delivery into the box leads to nothing as Blackpool deal with it comfortably. 

19:20a year ago

61' Over by Henry

Brandon Barker gallivants down the left again, but Henry's resulting shot from the delivery is looped into row Z.

He must be hitting the target from there!

19:17a year ago

58' So nearly three...

A low-driven pass goes across the face of the box, but the strike is over. Yates was the attacker who missed the golden opportunity to put the game to bed.
19:16a year ago

57' Henry forces the issue

Blackpool look so solid, especially with their midfield dropping deeper. Karl Robinson is on the edge of the seat, but I bet he wishes he could be on the pitch. 
19:13a year ago

53' First sub for the visitors

On comes Thorniley for former U's player Luke Garbutt. 
19:11a year ago

52' Brilliant from Henry!

Henry has started this second period in a slightly deeper role, and he just found a ball to Mark Sykes through the eye of the needle.

Unfortunately, the Blackpool goalkeeper was quick to react, and he made himself look big to deny the shot.

19:10a year ago

50' Jack Stevens scrambling

Oxford were caught napping there. Embleton picked up the ball without any pressure from the United defence...

It's lucky his shot was just wide because even Stevens was worried about that one.

19:06a year ago

47' Free-kick for United

Blackpool get caught out by a Cameron Brannagan dribble as Kevin Stewart brings the midfielder down for a free-kick on the halfway line.
19:04a year ago

45' Direct outlook from the start for United

A long ball over the top almost finds Matty Taylor, but it proves just too high for the number nine to profit from. 
19:02a year ago

Second half underway!

You know what they say, it only takes a second to score a goal! And that is certainly something that Karl Robinson would have said in the dressing room at halftime.

Anyways, we're underway for the second half, a big 45 minutes left for United. 

18:58a year ago

A goal to remember for Ellis Simms...


18:49a year ago

Halftime: Oxford United 0-2 Blackpool

Two quickfire goals from Simms and Turton has put United into a perilous position in their fight for a place in the final.

It's been a massive half for Blackpool, who have really dominated proceedings here. The visitors are in the box seat; the promotion pendulum is swinging in their favour so far.  

18:47a year ago

45' Yellow card for Andersen

Childish from Andersen, who time wastes not once but twice. 

Must be said, absolutely love that fans are back, have I mentioned that yet? Players and referees won't be getting away with things so easily now...

18:43a year ago

41' Corner to United

Barker continues to be the one attacking threat that Blackpool must look out for. His cross meets Matty Taylor whose shot is blocked for the corner.
18:42a year ago

Blackpool have won the midfield battle so far

The visitors are matching the Oxford Bodies in midfield, which, in turn, has helped them to dominate the possession.

With Karl Robinson still serving a touchline ban following the chaos that unfolded at the Stadium of Light, the second half will be a massive test of character. 

18:37a year ago

35' Handball in the box waved away

There's no penalty for United, despite the uproar in the stands. It hasn't been a great reaction so far for the home side, who look like they are forcing attacks. 
18:35a year ago

33' Goal kick to Blackpool

Frustration continues to build here at Grenoble Road as Blackpool are given a goal kick controversially, and with that comes a lot of time wasting...


18:32a year ago

Oxford are being totally outclassed...

It hasn't been the best start to their playoff campaign, and these fans, who were so vocal before kick-off, now look like they're sinking.

You have got to feel for the fans, but Neil Critchley's gameplan has worked to perfection so far for the tangerines.


18:29a year ago

26' Goal. You can't say it wasn't coming

It's going to be a tough night for Oxford now...

Two quickfire goals put Blackpool one step into Wembley Way. This time, Simms is the goalscorer, he flicked the ball over Atkinson and slid another goal into the back of the net. 

18:25a year ago

23' GOAL! Blackpool! 0-1!

The free-kick that followed Sykes' frustrated tackle is whipped in by Embleton.

The ball travelled too fast for Josh Ruffels to sort his feet out, and so it was flicked on to Turton, who smashes home. 

18:23a year ago

22' It's getting heated here

Mark Sykes just came in for a two-footed lunge on the far side to stop James Husband on his route to the edge of the box; I'm surprised it wasn't a yellow card at least!
18:21a year ago

19' Close from Blackpool!

The tangerines are piling on the pressure now, with Simms and Andersen both having shots that are cleared away.
18:18a year ago

16' No chances of note in this game yet

It's been a high-octane performance from both sets of players so far this afternoon, but neither team has anything to show for it.

That being said, Brandon Barker is looking very lively on the near side. 

18:15a year ago

13' Free-kick just inside the Blackpool half

This left side of Oxford is seeing a lot of the ball so far; this time, Mark Sykes is the one to be fouled on the ball.

Easy pickings for a goalkeeper who has boasted an impressive clean sheet record. The cross swings deep into his box. 

18:12a year ago

10' Oxford look comfortable, but I would hate to jinx it

Though Blackpool have found a bit of a foothold, it's the home team that looks more comfortable with being on the back foot. 

It looks like Oxford are quite happy for Blackpool to have most of the ball while making surging runs forward on the break to try to conjure something up for themselves.

18:09a year ago

6' Wow!... absolutely top drawer run from Barker

Just as Blackpool started to creep around the United box, United finally got a breath of fresh air through an incredible Brandon Barker run.

The Rangers loanee ghosted past three or four players on his route to goal. Electing to lay it off to Lee, the end product didn't match the quality of the dash forward.

18:05a year ago

3' Yellow card and free-kick for Oxford United

Mark Sykes found some space to dart towards the Blackpool box, and James Husband couldn't do anything but bring his man down. 

It's very loud here, that could be playing a part in the rash decisions. A yellow card is brandished to the offender.

Nothing was produced from the dead-ball situation...

18:03a year ago

1' Brandon Barker crosses but nobody gets on the end

Oxford United are the first team to test the opposition defence. Sykes and Barker linked up down the left flank, but nothing came of the cross.
18:00a year ago


Wembley awaits for whichever one of these teams win over the two legs. Playing to the backdrop of a passionately vocal Grenoble Road, we're underway!

Oxford are playing in their famous yellow and blue shirt while Blackpool are in their white and orange strip.

17:40a year ago

Only time will tell whether Robinson will ploy a gameplan without pressure

Karl Robinson spoke to Oxford Mail ahead of the game at the weekend, suggesting that his team doesn't need to feel the pressure. 

However, only time will tell whether that is something that will be translated onto the pitch.


17:28a year ago

Sam Long is sidelined

Oxford's Player of The Season (voted by fans and players), Sam Long, remains sidelined after his hamstring injury that he picked up at the end of the season.

Big test for Jamie Hanson, who has rarely featured, being a far lesser right back in comparison to Long.


17:17a year ago

Blackpool prove to be tough opponents for Oxford United

Blackpool have only lost one of their last 22 League One games before tonight, so United will need to be at their premium quality if they are to take one step into Wembley Stadium.

To add to their impressive record, Neil Critchley's side are the most successful team in the history of the end-of-season lottery, having secured promotion five times through this route.

Meanwhile, Karl Robinson's side lack the experience of their opponents, also losing in last season's playoff final as evidence. 

17:11a year ago

The long wait for the return of fans is finally over!

For Oxford United fans tonight, they will hope their promotion dreams remain alive! It has been an extraordinary story so far...


17:04a year ago

Confirmed line-up: Blackpool


17:03a year ago

Confirmed line-up: Oxford United

23:40a year ago

Team news: Blackpool

Having made several changes for the final-day fixture against Bristol Rovers, Critchley will revert to his strongest XI.

Ellis Simms, who scored the decisive goal in that game as a substitute, should be recalled along with Yates, Oliver Turton, Luke Garbutt, Danny Ballard and Chris Maxwell.

23:40a year ago

Team news: Oxford United

Barring any late fitness issues, Robinson is unlikely to make any changes to his Oxford starting lineup after the 4-0 win over Burton Albion.

With the game over as a contest after the hour mark, Robinson was able to rest his key players in preparation for this fixture.

Despite contributing three goals and an assist during his last six substitute outings, Sam Winnall is expected to remain among the replacements.

23:35a year ago

Kick-off time

Oxford United vs Blackpool will be played at Grenoble Road, in Oxford, England. The kick-off is scheduled for 18:00 BST.
23:30a year ago

Hello and welcome!

Welcome to VAVEL UK's live coverage and updates for the League One play-off semi-final first leg match between Oxford United and Blackpool.

My name is Robin Mumford, and I will be your host for the game. 

Remember, if you require text commentary, we are your best bet!