Blackpool lost at home in the league for only the second time this season as they went down 2-0 to fellow promotion hopefuls Luton Town.
The defeat, Pool’s first at home since the 1-0 reversal to Plymouth in August, sees the Seasiders drop out of the play-off spots in their last game at Bloomfield Road this year.
Goals from Jack Marriott and Cameron McGeehan were enough to split the two sides but in truth it could have been much more, with Luton putting in a highly impressive display on away turf.
Pool were the better side in the opening period, with Kyle Vassell coming close to opening the score on a number of occasions only to be denied again and again by Christian Walton.
But they were very much second best in the second half as Luton extended their run of form away from home to seven games unbeaten.
Luton registered the first shot on goal after making the brighter start to the game, with midfielder Olly Lee blazing over after the ball was cleared out to the edge of the box.
As had been the case for much of the season, Blackpool’s biggest threat came from Kyle Vassell and it was the in-form striker who had his side’s first shot on goal, but saw his effort deflected away after turning superbly to create space for himself in the Luton box.
Blackpool skipper Danny Pugh, looking for his first goal of the season, then brought a stunning save out of Luton stopper Christian Walton who tipped over the midfielder’s dipping effort that looked destined for the top corner.
The Hatters looked to break immediately and striker Jack Marriott saw his shot blocked away for a corner after he was afforded too much space in front of the Pool backline. The resulting corner was then nodded wide by defender Glen Rea.
Vassell and Jamille Matt continued to link up well in attack for the Seasiders, with the two combining to take advantage of some hesitant defending in the Luton defence. But Vassell’s eventual shot was easily held low down by Walton.
The Luton stopper was called into action once again just minutes later as he continued his personal battle with Vassell - and once again it was the goalkeeper who came out on top.
Brad Potts won the ball high up the pitch and laid the ball off kindly to Vassell, whose shot was well palmed over by Walton.
For all of the home side’s good early work, it was Luton who took the lead on the half-hour mark after taking advantage of a costly mistake from Jack Payne.
The midfielder gave the ball away on the halfway line as he looked to switch play, which allowed Luton to immediately break which led to striker Jack Marriott cutting inside in the Pool box before coolly slotting home beyond Sam Slocombe.
The hosts, shocked by the goal that had come against the run of play, looked for an immediate response but Matt could only head straight at Walton after rising to meet Eddie Nolan’s right-wing cross.
The second half couldn’t have started much worse for Blackpool, with Luton doubling their lead courtesy of Cameron McGeehan’s back post header after the ball had been whipped in from the left.
Two then almost became three, as Marriott curled wide of the far post after being afforded far too much space in the Blackpool box.
Luton didn’t rest on their lead and looked to attack at every opportunity, and looked like extending their lead every time they broke forward against a Blackpool defence completely at sixes and sevens.
Full back James Justin went close after the ball fell to him in space at the back post, but he was unable to get a shot off at goal after the ball became stuck under his feet.
Pool fought valiantly to get back into the game but rarely threatened Walton’s goal.
Nolan went close with a curler from the edge of the box after Vassell’s original effort had been blocked.
Substitute Mark Cullen should have done better when Andy Taylor’s teasing cross fell to him in the six-yard box, only for the striker to side foot wastefully over the bar against his former side.
Pool piled on the pressure in the final stages as they put three strikers up front in a desperate search for a goal, but Luton held firm for an impressive three points.
Blackpool: Slocombe, Nolan (Gnanduillet), Aldred, Robertson, Taylor, Philliskirk (Osayi-Samuel), Pugh, Payne, Potts, Vassell, Matt (Cullen)
Subs not used: Lyness, Aimson, McAlister, Redshaw
Luton: Walton, O'Donnell, Mullins, Cuthbert, Justin, Rea, McGeehan (Mpanzu), Gilliead (Smith), Lee, Marriott (Vassell), Hylton
Subs not used: Cook, Senior, McQuiod, King
Referee: Peter Bankes
Attendance: 3,992 (1,095)