Blackpool further cemented themselves as genuine play-off contenders in League One with a rousing home win against Burton Albion.
AS IT HAPPENED: Blackpool 3-0 Burton Albion
Three goals in a stirring 10-minute spell at the start of the second half from Armand Gnanduillet, Jordan Thompson and Joe Dodoo gave the Seasiders their fifth straight win in all competitions.
Blackpool, who kept their 10th clean sheet from just 18 games, remain in seventh place and level on points with Charlton Athletic who occupy that final play-off spot.
Burton, who came into the game on the back of three wins in their last five fixtures, were never really at the races and were only granted opportunities when Blackpool’s high standards momentarily slipped.
The two sides headed into the half-time interval level after an uninspired opening 45 minutes, but they edged in front just 20 seconds into the second period when Gnanduillet slotted home for his seventh goal of the season.
Thompson added a second four minutes later, ably assisted by Dodoo, before the on-loan Rangers man turned scorer to make sure of the points.
Terry McPhillips kept faith with the 3-5-2 system that proved so effective in last week’s 2-1 win at Southend United.
He did, however, make two changes to the line-up with Jordan Thompson, returning from international duty with Northern Ireland, replacing the injured Callum Guy in midfield.
Nathan Delfouneso dropped to the bench to make way for Michael Nottingham, whose presence in the team allowed Ollie Turton to start in midfield.
The first sight of goal from either side came on 11 minutes when Armand Gnanduillet brought a good save out of Burton keeper Bradley Collins.
It came from Jordan Thompson’s deep cross, which was headed towards goal by Pool’s leading scorer only for Collins to backtrack and tip over the bar.
Marc Bola, who earned plaudits for his display and assist at Southend last week, was almost the provider once again as he whipped in a teasing ball into the six-yard box which somehow managed to evade everyone.
Blackpool looked to keep hold of possession but, somehow, almost proceeded to go a goal down as Jay Spearing worked the ball back to Mark Howard in the Seasiders’ goal.
The ball went straight under Howard’s foot as he looked to control it, resulting in the Pool keeper scampering back to clear it off his own touchline.
At the other end, Gnanduillet stabbed an effort over the bar after outmuscling Kyle McFadzean on the edge of the Burton area.
The Seasiders were given a let-off just five minutes before the interval when Jake Hesketh fluffed his lines in front of goal after Liam Boyce had nodded a header into his path.
The two sides continued to exchange opportunities before the half-time whistle went, with Thompson bringing a smart stop out of Collins who got down well to save his low effort.
Burton, meanwhile, went close as Lucas Akins produced a long-range effort which the usually reliable Howard failed to catch, but thankfully for Pool the ball bounced wide of the far post.
After what had been a pretty dire first half, Blackpool were clearly in a rush at the start of the second as they took the lead after just 20 seconds of the restart.
It came via Gnanduillet, who netted his seventh of the season and his fifth in his last four games, with a calm finish beyond Collins after holding off a defender having been put through on goal by Thompson.
One instantly became two as Thompson slid in at the back post for just his third goal in tangerine colours.
But the goal was owed to Joe Dodoo who did superbly to run the entire length of the field before putting the ball on a plate for the midfielder.
McPhillips’ men were clearly brimming with confidence at this point and it told, with Gnanduillet playing a clever ball over his shoulder into the path of the onrushing Dodoo who could only skew his volley wide.
Dodoo tried a similar acrobatic effort a few minutes later but this time it paid off, as he added a third for the Seasiders.
It was a scissor kick, similar the one he scored in the Checkatrade Trophy a few weeks ago, after capitalising on Burton’s failure to deal with Michael Nottingham’s long throw.
The damage had been done by this point and Blackpool were able to sit back on their lead. While Burton enjoyed a prolonged spell of pressure, they were still unable to penetrate Pool’s mean defensive line.
Try as they might, they just weren’t able to create any clear-cut chances, with former Fleetwood Town man Devante Cole stabbing well wide of goal 15 minutes from time.
Donervon Daniels was fortunate not to concede a penalty when he brought down Cole on the corner of the 18-yard box, but thankfully for Pool the referee remain unmoved.
The Seasiders instantly broke and came close to a fourth as Bola teed the ball up for Gnanduillet who failed to get the required contact on his shot.
You could tell it was Blackpool’s day when, with seven minutes remaining, Burton sub Marcus Harness produced a downward header from inside the six-yard box that somehow managed to bounce down and then over the crossbar.
Blackpool: Howard, Nottingham, Daniels, Heneghan, Tilt, Bola, Turton (Pritchard), Spearing (Taylor), Thompson, Dodoo (Feeney), Gnanduillet
Subs not used: Boney, O’Connor, McLaughlin, Delfouneso
Burton: Collins, Brayford, Allen, McFadzean, Fraser, Hesketh (Harness), Askins, McCrory (Hutchinson), Quinn (Sbarra), Boyce, Cole
Subs not used: Bywater, Buxton, Hodge, Wallace
Referee: Thomas Bramall
Attendance: 3,163 (469 Burton)