Gary Bowyer praised his players’ response as Blackpool fought back from a goal down to beat Hartlepool and climb into the League Two play-off zone.
The Tangerines gifted the opening goal to Lewis Alessandra 18 minutes into an entertaining, end-to-end battle at Bloomfield Road, but they hit back immediately through Bright Osayi-Samuel, then and Kyle Vassell came off the bench after a one-month lay-off to scored the winner 10 minutes from time and lift Pool three places to fifth with seven games to play.
Bowyer accepted his players weren’t at their best but was delighted with the attitude. “It was a very hard-fought victory,” he said. “We stressed to the players all week that Hartlepool are a good team and have got some good players.
“You saw that and it was important we prepared properly, which we did.
“We looked a bit nervy at the start but we responded ever so well to going a goal down. It was a poor goal from our point of view.
“But the response was terrific and the second half was a real good game in terms of both teams trying to win it.”
The Seasiders were grateful to goalkeeper Dean Lyness for a host of crucial stops as Bowyer’s men picked up their fifth victory in six games and extended their unbeaten run to nine.
The Pool boss added: “I think Dean made an astounding save when the lad’s gone through one-on-one, but their goalie made a superb save from Brad Potts as well because he gambled and went the other way but then made a great save with his left hand.
“Both teams wanted to win and I think that was evident in the second half.
“We were on the back foot in the opening period, so at half-time we talked about taking more responsibility and being positive and on the front foot. I think we did that better second half.”