With both teams having all players fit and ready for the trip to Wembley Stadium, and yet both coming in on the back of confidence-boosting victories, neither manager wanted to make significant changes to their line-up for the League One play-off final. Russell Slade made just the one change, with Terry Skiverton displacing Martin Brittain the bench, but otherwise matters were as per the Second Leg match against Nottingham Forest. Chris Cohen was deemed to have passed a fitness test on his groin.
As the game kicked off in a predictably end-to-end manner, Keigan Parker went down like a sack of spuds in the second minute of the match as Marcus Stewart pressurised him on the box, but the way the Blackpool striker threw himself was never going to fool referee Andy D'Urso. But Blackpool were looking far more lively up front, seeing a weaving run by Claus Bech Jorgensen being blocked by Terrell Forbes and out for a corner.
The Glovers found most of their attacking options blocked out by a resolute Blackpool defence. A Wayne Gray run forced a corner off the boot of Robbie Williams and from that set play an Arron Davies corner somehow whizzed straight through a packed penalty box right along the six yard line, without touching the Yeovil, or possibly Blackpool boot that could have sent it goalbound.
Adrian Forbes struck the side netting after Wes Hoolahan set him through, then Robbie Williams set himself up a left-footed long ranger that went just wide of the target after the Yeovil defence backed off his run. Then Keigan Parker's chip to the back post couldn't be reached by Andrew Morrell on the back post.
Blackpool were far superior to their opponents and it took Yeovil until roughly the midway point to really settle down and even up what had been so far fairly one-sided proceedings. Even so, it was still the Seasiders that were creating the better chances, even if possession and territory was held in a far more balanced manner. A one-two between Andrew Morrell and Wes Hoolahan reminded all watching that even if Yeovil had clawed their way back a touch, it was still Blackpool that looked the more dangerous. Thankfully Hoolahan dragged his shot wide of the target.
Five minutes before the break, Yeovil's plans were given a significant setback when Chris Cohen, who had been struggling throughout the first half and not really looking himself, was taken off in favour of Jean-Paul Kalala. The decision to do a pre-match injection to try and act as a painkiller for his groin injury hadn't really worked out, and the Glovers had been losing out badly in midfield. The only real surprise as the half had worn on was that Cohen had lasted that long.
Worse though was to come. Referee Andy D'Urso interpreted a challenge by Terrell Forbes on Keigan Parker to be an illegal one, even though TV replays showed that Parker had tripped over his own feet and the match official had got it wrong. From the resulting free kick, the defensive wall was never really in place, two pairs of green and tangerine shirts loitered on the edge of it, and when Robbie WILLIAMS flighted his free kick around the four man on the end of the wall, Steve Mildenhall was left unsighted and the ball landed in the bottom corner. 1-0 and with two minutes before the break, a bad time to concede.
Arron Davies almost hit back right on the half time break with a free kick that was tapped short to him, but Rabchuka tipped the ball over the bar for a corner, and that was pretty much it for a fairly mediocre first period. Blackpool deserved their lead, even if they had some fortune from D'Urso's decision-making. The Glovers would need to come out and attack for sure.