Blackpool secured their first league win of 2017 in highly impressive fashion as they got their season back on track with a 4-1 win at promotion hopefuls Carlisle United.
Brad Potts was the man of the moment as he grabbed a goal against his former club before Jordan Flores bagged a second with a decisive second.
Gary Bowyer’s men were forced to hold on nervously in the final stages after Jabo Ibehre grabbed a goal back, but Sanmi Odelusi and Nathan Delfouneso scored late on to inflict Carlisle’s only fourth defeat of the season.
The win sees the Seasiders climb to 11th in the league, just five points off the play-offs ahead of a hugely significant trip to Portsmouth on Tuesday.
Blackpool made an encouraging start to proceedings and had two good early opportunities to take an early lead.
The first came in the opening minute of the game via Nathan Delfouneso who managed to get on the end of Kyle Vassell’s pullback, but his near-post effort was turned around the post by goalkeeper Mark Gillespie.
The resulting corner eventually found its way to Kelvin Mellor on the edge of the area and his ambitious long-range effort fell to the feet of Vassell via a deflection, but his clinical strike into the back of the net was ruled out for offside.
The two sides continued to exchange early opportunities, with Carlisle’s Jamie Devitt lashing wide from inside the box after Sam Slocombe had fumbled a routine cross.
It was an open and end-to-end start to the game, much like the 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture at Bloomfield Road earlier this season.
Carlisle, who came into the game having conceded 11 goals more than Gary Bowyer’s men, made a nervy start to the game at the back with a number of missed passes and clearances going awry.
After a slow start, the game soon became a bitty affair with neither side able to keep hold of possession.
But Blackpool remained a constant threat going forward in stark contrast to their toothless display against Crawley during the week.
Tom Aldred almost took advantage of some more lackadaisical defending from the home side but he sent his back-post header well wide of goal.
Pool’s attacking intent was eventually rewarded with a goal just after the half-hour mark and predictably, it came via the boot of former Carlisle favourite Brad Potts.
Potts, who came through the youth ranks at Brunton Park and went on to make over 100 appearances, side footed home from Colin Daniel’s teasing left-wing cross.
It was a well-worked goal with Potts getting the final touch after the Carlisle defence had been fooled by Delfouneso’s stepover.
Potts reacted by celebrating in front of the home fans behind the goal, which only served to increase their boos for the rest of the game.
Carlisle rallied towards the end of the opening period but it was Blackpool who went closest to adding to their lead, as Kyle Vassell went close with a downward header that bounced off the turf and then over Mark Gillespie’s bar.
It was all change at half time as Carlisle made a double substitution in a bid to shake things up, and abandoned their patient, possession-based game in preference of a more basic, route one approach up to substitute Jabo Ibehre.
Despite the changes, very little changed, with Pool looking a constant threat on the counter attack.
This resulted in Bowyer’s men doubling their lead as they capitalised on another wayward pass from the Carlisle backline, with Jordan Flores picking up on a loose ball before drilling home from the edge of the box.
It was a clinical finish from the Wigan loanee, scoring his first goal for the club.
Carlisle huffed and puffed as they looked for a way back into the match but they continued to be frustrated by Pool’s back five.
But they were eventually rewarded for their efforts 20 minutes from time as Jabo Ibehre nodded in a simple free header from close range.
Pool had looked comfortable up until that point but the goal changed the complexity of the game completely, as they launched balls into the box in a desperate search for an equaliser.
Ibehre continued to make the difference as he won header after header, but Pool’s two-goal lead was soon restored.
Once again it came via a defensive mistake, with Sanmi Odelusi capitalising on a weak backpass from Gary Liddle to slot home.
Three immediately became four as Delfouneso slid home after being played in by Vassell as Pool hit their opponents on the break in a devastating fashion.
Carlisle: Gillespie, Joyce, Raynes, Adams, Gillesphey, Devitt (Bailey), O'Sullivan, S. Miller (Ibehre), T. Miller (Jones), Waring, Liddle
Subs not used: Crocombe, Brisley, Lambe, McQueen
Blackpool: Slocombe, Mellor, Aimson, Aldred, Robertson, Daniel, Flores, Danns (Payne), Potts (Odelusi), Delfouneso, Vassell.
Subs not used: Lyness, Nolan, Osayi-Samuel, Cullen, Matt
Referee: Mark Haywood
Attendance: 6,170 (738)