Blackpool 2-1 Lincoln City: Seasiders climb up to fourth in League One with hard-earned win

Armand Gnanduillet celebrates Sean Scannell's early opener
Armand Gnanduillet celebrates Sean Scannell's early opener
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Two goals in 10 first-half minutes helped Blackpool claim a Friday night victory under the lights against Lincoln City.

READ MORE: Blackpool v Lincoln City as it happened

Two goals in 10 first-half minutes helped Blackpool claim a Friday night victory under the lights against Lincoln City.

Sean Scannell and Jordan Thompson found the back of the net early on, both scoring in League One for the first time this season.

Jack Payne reduced the deficit for the away side shortly after Thompson’s sublime strike, but the Seasiders managed the game professionally to hold on for three points.

The win, Pool’s second in their last three outings, sees them climb up to fourth in the table ahead of this weekend’s fixtures.

With Sullay Kaikai and Joe Nuttall ruled out through injury, Simon Grayson took the opportunity to ring the changes - making three in total - in what was Pool’s first encounter with Lincoln in 18 years.

Ollie Turton came into the backline, with Ryan Edwads dropping down to the bench, as the Seasiders reverted to a back four for the first time this season.

Sean Scannell was also brought into the line-up to play just off Armand Gnanduillet, who returned from injury to lead the line.

Ryan Hardie, still without a league goal this season, also dropped down to the bench, while Nathan Delfouneso and Mark Howard both remain sidelined.

Former Pool boss Michael Appleton, in charge of his first game for Lincoln, opted to name an unchanged line-up despite watching the Imps be thrashed 6-0 at home to Oxford United at the weekend.

Fellow ex-Seasider Neal Eardley was among those to start for the Imps.

Despite the electric atmosphere off the pitch, it was a quiet start on it with both sides getting to grips with one another.

The first chance of the game came the way of the visitors, Jak Alnwick getting the faintest of touches to turn Tyler Walker’s low drive behind for a corner.

Four minutes later, the Seasiders took the lead courtesy of a flowing attack.

Armand Gnanduillet laid the ball off to Liam Feeney down the right, and the 32-year-old claimed yet another assist - his ninth of the season - by pulling the ball back to the onrushing Sean Scannell who slammed home a first-time effort into the top corner.

It was a sublime finish from Scannell on what was his first start for the Seasiders.

Alnwick was again called into action a few minutes later to keep the Seasiders ahead, pushing Jack Payne’s long-range drive away for a corner.

Grayson’s men continued to look a threat every time they came in close proximity of the Lincoln box and, sure enough, they doubled their lead just 20 minutes in.

While Feeney will technically claim another assist, the goal came via a moment of sheer brilliance from Jordan Thompson - scoring for the first time this season.

The Northern Ireland international collected a pass from Feeney before nutmegging a Lincoln defender and then proceeding to curl beyond the keeper and into the far corner.

Pool’s celebrations were soon cut short though, as Payne pulled one back for the away side with a well-taken first-time finish.

It came after the Seasiders had failed to deal with a cross into their box, allowing the attacking midfielder the time and space to beat Alnwick.

The open, end-to-end nature continued apace, with James Husband volleying narrowly over the bar from Feeney’s cross.

It was Lincoln’s turn to come close on the half-hour mark, Walker stretching to stab just wide at the far post after Harry Toffolo’s shot had been deflected into his path.

The game calmed down from this point onwards, although the away side did have penalty appeals waved away with the final action of the half.

Pool, looking to restore their two-goal lead as quickly as possible at the start of the second period, came agonisingly close to doing so.

Gnanduillet took the ball past his man on the edge of the Lincoln box before seeing his drive deflect inches wide of the far post.

It became clear the next goal would prove crucial - Lincoln almost grabbing it when Bruno Andrade bundled an effort towards goal which Alnwick did well to clear to safety.

The Seasiders then came close to adding a third, Thompson being denied his brace by Josh Vickers from point-blank range after Gnanduillet had headed the ball down into his path.

With 20 minutes remaining, the Seasiders were given a huge let-off when Walker fired wastefully wide of goal from just eight yards out.

With four minutes remaining, Calum Macdonald - only recently on a sub - was lucky not to receive a second yellow card for a late challenge on Eardley.

Gnanduillet had a half chance of sorts to add a third in the 88th minute, but he failed to get the ball under control before scooping a shot well over.

It wasn’t to matter though, as the Seasiders held on to claim the win with Walker skying an effort over the bar in the last action of the game.

TEAMS

Blackpool: Alnwick, Turton, Heneghan, Tilt, Feeney, Husband, Spearing, Virtue (Guy), Thompson, Scannell (Macdonald), Gnanduillet

Subs not used: Mafoumbi, Bushiri, Edwards, Shaw, Hardie

Lincoln: Vickers, Eardley, Bolger, Shackell, Toffolo, Connolly, Morrell, Anderson (Grant), Andrade, Payne, Walker

Subs not used: Smith, O’Connor, Chapman, Lewis, Melbourne, Akinde

Referee: Ollie Yates

Attendance: 9,203 (1,296 Lincoln)