Clinical finishing a welcome sight: Matt Scrafton's verdict on Blackpool's hard-earned Friday night win against Lincoln

The Seasiders won for the second time in three matches
The Seasiders won for the second time in three matches
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With the World Fireworks Championships in town, it was no surprise to see sparks fly at Bloomfield Road.

READ MORE: The Gazette's player ratings from Blackpool's 2-1 victory against Lincoln

That was certainly the case in a frantic opening half an hour, anyway, in a spell that would prove decisive for the Seasiders.

What Blackpool have lacked in recent times is creativity, invention and guile in the final third but we saw it in abundance in the opening exchanges in this Friday night encounter.

But more importantly, when the chances came Pool’s way, they were stuck away in clinical fashion.

Once Simon Grayson’s men had something to hold onto, they did it relatively comfortably, which has to be preferable to having to go chasing games against sides that are happy to sit deep and frustrate them.

The Seasiders have started games well only to receive no reward on plenty of occasions this season, but it took them just 11 minutes to break the deadlock this time.

There was real quality involved in the goal too. Armand Gnanduillet, back in the starting line-up after his recent injury, laying the ball off to Liam Feeney on the ball whose pullback into the box was clinically dispatched by the onrushing Sean Scannell.

It was the winger’s first goal for the club on what was his first league start, demonstrating exactly why he’s played so much of his football in the top echelons of the English game.

At this stage of the match, as Pool edged their noses in front early in front of a bumper 9,200 crowd, the colourful explosions in the background were being drowned out by the cauldron of noise inside the stadium.

While the Seasiders had started well, it has to be said Lincoln had looked bright early on as well.

Jak Alnwick had to be called into action on a couple of occasions, with striker Tyler Walker looking a constant threat throughout.

But, with just 21 minutes gone, Blackpool found themselves two goals ahead thanks to a moment of sheer brilliance from Jordan Thompson.

The quality the Northern Ireland international possesses is unquestionable, but it is moments like this we should be witnessing far more often than we do.

The 22-year-old collected the ball up on the edge of the Lincoln box from Feeney – who claimed a second assist of the night – before taking the ball out of his feet, nutmegging the dumbfounded Lincoln defender and then curling a sublime arching effort into the far corner of the net.

It was exactly the sort of goal that has been made famous by Lionel Messi in recent years, although it’s probably a bit soon to be making such lofty comparisons…

The goal almost lifted the roof of Bloomfield Road but, just two minutes later, those celebrations were cut short when Lincoln pulled one back.

The Imps were allowed too much time to whip a dangerous cross into the Blackpool box that they subsequently failed to deal with.

The ball into the danger zone fell straight to the onrushing Jack Payne who dispatched his first-time effort with aplomb, giving Alnwick no chance whatsoever.

To continue the firework-themed puns, the game lost a bit of its spark from this point onwards and in many ways, that was a good thing for Grayson’s side.

Now with a lead to hang onto, the Seasiders exerted control on the game and managed it well.

The second half continued in this vein, with very little happening from either side in terms of genuine goalscoring chances.

This very much suited Blackpool, who carried out a professional job to grind out a result which sees them climb up to fourth place.

It was always going to be a tricky encounter for the Seasiders given they were coming up against a Lincoln side that were coming off the back of a 6-0 drubbing at home to Oxford United.

Not only that, this was also Michael Appleton’s first game in charge and the former Pool boss will have inevitably been looking for a reaction from his side.

It’s fair to say he got one, too, they were just undone by some clinical finishing from Blackpool who then did what was required to get over the line.

While chances were few and far between in the second half, Pool did have their opportunities to make life more comfortable for themselves.

Gnanduillet saw a low drive deflected agonisingly wide of the far post in the first action of the second period before Thompson was denied a second thanks to Josh Vickers’ smart save.

Pool were given something of a let-off with 20 minutes remaining when Walker prodded just wide at the far post, while the same man then ballooned one over the bar in what proved to be the last action of the game.

The encounter didn’t exactly finish with a bang, fizzling out in truth compared to the high-intensity end-to-end nature of the opening period.

But Pool will be happy with their night’s work, especially with Grayson experimenting with a back four for the first time this season.

The Seasiders looked balanced across the park, playing as a 4-1-4-1 when defending but attacking with purpose with three forwards.

They were far more of a threat in attack which has been the main issue in recent weeks.

And while this wasn’t the complete performance, it must be remembered the Seasiders are without Nathan Delfouneso, Sullay Kaikai and Joe Nuttall.

But given Pool’s strength in depth across the park, they were still able to get the job done. That has to bode well for the remainder of the season.