MATCH REPORT: Blackpool 3-1 Portsmouth

Goalscorer Kyle Vassell
Goalscorer Kyle Vassell
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A superb battling display earned Pool a deserved 3-1 win against high-flying Portsmouth.

Goals from Kelvin Mellor, Brad Potts and Kyle Vassell handed Gary Bowyer's men their first win since the 3-0 defeat of Yeovil.

Pompey, coming into the game second in the league, settled well, getting on the ball at the earliest opportunity and looking to play out from the back.

Their football wasn’t just pleasing on the eye, it was also effective as they cut through Blackpool’s sides on a number of occasions in the early stages.

Their first real chance of note came in the ninth minute when midfielder Carl Baker fired a sublime left-footed shot just inches of Dean Lyness’ top corner.

Pompey continued to press high up the pitch and refused to let Blackpool’s defenders settle on the ball from the back.

Gary Bowyer’s men struggled to get a foothold of the game against a Pompey side who were clearly brimming with confidence from their 5-1 thrashing of Barnet at the weekend.

However, Blackpool’s defence stood up to the pressure well and managed to keep their high-flying visitors at bay, and it was them who took the lead.

They were finally able to get out of their own half and pile on some of their own pressure on the visitors, which came to a head after Kelvin Mellor headed in Jack Payne’s free-kick.

Pompey ‘keeper David Forde flapped at the cross and Pool’s right back was left with the simple task of heading into an empty net to give his side the lead.

It was Pool’s real first chance on goal but it was just reward for the manner in which they had stoutly defended in the opening 15 minutes.

The game then became a lot more even as the home side were happy to stand firm with their lead and look for any opportunities on the counter or from set pieces.

The Tangerines were more than happy to concede possession to Pompey and sit back and frustrate them.

An opportunity to take advantage of the counter-attack came when Kyle Vassell was released on the right hand side after a Pompey corner had been cleared.

He did well to turn inside and curl a left-footed effort onto the outside of the post.

Armand Gnanduillet then battled well to win two tackles deep in the Pompey half, allowing him to almost break through on goal only to lose the ball under his feet.

They were only half chances, but as has been a familiar tale this season they were immediately punished.

It was a real moment of genuine quality that got Portsmouth back on level terms and it came through in-form youngster Conor Chaplin.

Pool failed to clear a ball into their box despite having numerous opportunities to do so, and the striker took full advantage by pulling off a sublime overhead kick into Lyness’ top corner.

Despite the star quality, he was given far too much room in the box and Pool will have been disappointed the ball wasn’t cleared at an earlier opportunity.

Blackpool stuck to their guns and continued to sit back and counter, with Brad Potts having a low show comfortably saved by David Forde.

The midfielder was brought back into the line-up by Bowyer to replace Mark Yeates, who was surprisingly dropped to the bench after impressing in Saturday’s draw at Crewe.

The game then fizzled out towards the end of the first half, with the two sides both appearing content to go into the interval level.

But it was only four minutes into the second half when Blackpool regained the lead, with Brad Potts tapping in from close range.

The ball had fell kindly at his feet after Pompey ‘keeper Forde had palmed away a Kyle Vassell cross following good work by strike partner Armand Gnanduillet.

For the second time, Pool resorted to sitting back on their lead which invited more pressure from the visitors.

The pressure almost told when Gary Roberts went close with a backpost header which was smartly turned away for a corner by Lyness.

But Blackpool extended their lead when Tom Davies was caught in possession allowing Vassell the chance to run through on goal and slot past the oncoming Forde.

The visitors continued to look for a route back into the game but Pool held firm with a superb backs-against-the-wall performance.

Referee: David Webb

Attendance: 3,055