BARRY Ferguson concedes tensions at Bloomfield Road are naturally high, but he played down a public confrontation between coach Bob Malcolm and striker Stephen Dobbie during their 1-0 loss to Burnley.
While their opponents were celebrating moving to the brink of the Barclays Premier League, the Seasiders were in turmoil.
Shortly after Michael Kightly’s winning goal early in the second half, home supporters protesting against chairman Karl Oyston threw tennis balls and tangerines on to the turf while some invaded the pitch as referee Michael Oliver was forced to stop play twice.
Things would only get worse, though, as television cameras captured Malcolm pushing substitute Dobbie in the face as the striker waited to come on.
“There is no problem,” player-manager Ferguson said. “Tensions are a bit high; I have no problem with that. They are both passionate guys.”
While Ferguson can claim there is no problem inside the Blackpool dressing room, the acidic nature of the fans’ feeling towards Oyston will only increase if Millwall win on Saturday and send the Seasiders into the Sky Bet Championship’s bottom three. The Scot, who is still adored by the fans despite their slide down the table, claims he understands their frustrations but was disappointed they decided to show their anger during the second half.
“The fans have got every right to demonstrate,” Ferguson said. “I would just rather they do it before the game or after the game. At that stage, we were on top.”
Derby ensured Burnley’s promotion party was put on hold as they edged relegation-threatened Doncaster 2-0 at the Keepmoat Stadium. Anything but a Derby win would have sent the Clarets back to the Barclays Premier League but goals by George Thorne and Chris Martin in each half prevented that.
Derby remain eight points behind Burnley in third place with three games to go.
Uwe Rosler’s Wigan moved closer to confirming their place in the Sky Bet Championship play-offs with a 3-0 win over Reading. Jordi Gomez lashed home a superb opener on the half-hour as his side cruised to victory over Neil Adkins’ out-of-sorts Royals. Martyn Waghorn added a second for the home side before half-time and Callum McManaman’s strike six minutes after the break effectively sealed a win which strengthened Wigan’s play-off bid.
Brighton left it late to edge back above the Royals as Bruno Saltor scored his first goal of the season to salvage a vital point in a 1-1 draw at Huddersfield.
Bournemouth’s hopes of moving further into play-off contention suffered a shattering blow as they crashed 4-2 at home to ten-man Sheffield Wednesday. Atdhe Nuhiu put Wednesday in front and although Marc Pugh levelled matters, Sam Hutchinson restored the Owls’ lead before the break.
Yann Kermorgant headed home an Iain Harte corner on 57 minutes to make it 2-2 and the game seemed to swing in the Cherries’ favour when Hutchinson was sent off on 63 minutes.
But as the home side poured forward they were twice caught on the break, Leon Best slamming home a rebound then setting up Chris Maguire to make it 4-2.
In League One, Alan Judge’s penalty against Preston was enough to book their promotion to the Sky Bet Championship. Judge could even afford to miss a second penalty in the second half.
Brentford’s promotion was partly made possible by a surprise 2-1 defeat for Leyton Orient at Crawley. Orient now face the agony of the play-offs after seeing their hopes of automatic promotion extinguished at Broadfield Stadium. Gwion Edwards put the home side in front and despite an equaliser by Chris Dagnall, Adam Drury’s 70th-minute header won it for the hosts. Brentford’s promotion was finally rubber-stamped when the final whistle blew on an extraordinary game between Wolves and Rotherham at Molineux.
A crowd of 30,110 flocked to the home side’s promotion party. Both Wolves’ Nouha Dicko and Rotherham’s Kieran Agard hit hat-tricks before Wolves ran out 6-4 winners.