Blackpool 2-1 Charlton Athletic: Nathan Delfouneso strikes late to earn priceless win in hunt for League One play-offs
Nathan Delfouneso's late goal earned Blackpool a vital win against League One play-off rivals Charlton Athletic.
The forward came off the bench to decide what had been an end-to-end affair played out in sodden conditions at Bloomfield Road, cooly slotting home three minutes from time.
The Seasiders deservedly found themselves a goal ahead at the interval courtesy of Armand Gnanduillet’s close-range effort, only to be pegged back shortly into the second period.
The win takes Blackpool level on points with the Addicks, who remain ahead of them in the league table via goal difference, although it is now Doncaster Rovers who occupy that final play-off spot.
Blackpool were dealt a major blow ahead of the game with the news that skipper Jay Spearing was unavailable having picked up an injury in training.
Michael Nottingham also dropped to the bench as the second of two changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Solihull Moors, with Ollie Turton returning from injury and Liam Feeney also coming back into the side.
Turton was deployed in midfield in the absence of Spearing, while Feeney played slightly out of position at right wing-back.
The visitors made the brighter start and came close after just four minutes, top scorer Lyle Taylor forcing a fingertip save out of Mark Howard after working the ball well into the Blackpool box.
The Seasiders hit back with an opportunity of their own, Feeney - who looked dangerous in the early stages - picking out the unmarked Marc Bola with the wing back’s pullback being cleared from inside the six-yard box.
A minute later, Blackpool had penalty appeals waved away when Bola’s left-wing cross was blocked for a corner by Chris Solly, whose arms were raised, but the referee remained unmoved.
Joe Dodoo then went close, stabbing wide at the near post after another strong run down the left by Bola.
The Seasiders continued their strong start and deservedly took the lead on 16 minutes courtesy of Armand Gnanduillet’s eighth goal of the season.
It was a simple tap-in for the striker, who had time to find the back of the net after the Addicks had failed to clear their lines from Feeney’s cross.
Terry McPhillips’ pressed ahead and went in search of an immediate second and they had the Addicks on the ropes.
They came agonisingly close to adding another when Dodoo brought out a superb fingertip save from Charlton keeper Jed Steer with a curling effort on his left foot after being played in by Jordan Thompson.
Pool lived a little dangerously just before the interval, Donervon Daniels forced to make a vital goal-saving clearance to deny Karlan Grant.
Curtis Tilt was denied by Steer on the stroke of half time, the centre back rising highest from a Thompson cross only to see his header palmed away.
The Addicks immediately broke at pace but Turton, Pool’s standout player in the opening 45 minutes, produced a crucial recovering challenge to make sure the hosts remained ahead.
Chris Taylor had a good chance for Blackpool at the start of the second half, a cross falling nicely for the midfielder whose goalbound effort was cleared away from inside the six-yard box.
Charlton, who were fortunate to head into the interval just a goal down, managed to get themselves back on level terms on 55 minutes.
Grant was played in down the right and his ball into the box was stabbed home from close range by Joe Aribo, although originally it looked like Daniels had turned the ball into the back of his own net.
The Seasiders were dealt another major injury blow on the hour mark when Curtis Tilt was forced to hobble off with an injury, the defender being replaced by Paudie O’Connor.
Blackpool wasted a promising two-on-one situation on the counter, with Dodoo opting to keep the ball instead of passing when he had Feeney in his space to his left, but eventually the forward was crowded out.
The Addicks thought they had a good shout for a penalty when Daniels slid in to halt a Charlton break inside the Blackpool box, but nothing was given despite the away fans claiming the ball hit the defender’s hand.
The visitors enjoyed a sustained spell of pressure in the final 20 minutes and at times Blackpool struggled to hold on.
Grant, who had looked dangerous for Charlton all afternoon, whistled a dangerous shot just past the Blackpool goal with Howard at full stretch.
Chances were few and far between for Pool in the second half but substitute Nathan Delfouneso had a half opportunity of sorts in the last 10 minutes, but the forward couldn’t get a shot off at goal from inside thee six-yard box when Gnanduillet’s flick down landed at his feet.
The Seasiders rallied in the final 10 minutes and caused all sorts of problems for the Addicks, who relied on some desperate defending.
They were at sixes and sevens following a bit of head tennis in their own box, before Daniels fizzed one just over the bar with a long-range effort on his weak foot.
But Blackpool edged ahead on 87 minutes, Delfouneso calmly slotting home to restore their lead after latching onto Callum Guy’s lovely through ball.
Charlton threw the kitchen sink at Blackpool in the four minutes of stoppage time but McPhillips’ men held on for a priceless three points.
Blackpool: Howard, Turton, Daniels, Heneghan, Tilt (O'Connor), Bola, Taylor (Guy), Thompson, Feeney, Dodoo (Delfouneso), Gnanduillet
Subs not used: Boney, Nottingham, O’Sullivan, Pritchard
Charlton: Steer, Bielik, Bauer, Pearce, Fosu (Marshall), Aribo, Grant, Solly, Lapslie (Reeves), Stevenson, Taylor
Subs not used: Phillips, Dijksteel, Sarr, Ajose, Hackett-Fairchild
Referee: Tony Harrington
Attendance: 3,024 (433 Charlton)