MATCH REPORT: Blackpool 5-0 Bradford City

Nathan Delfouneso bagged a superb hat-trick
Nathan Delfouneso bagged a superb hat-trick

A Nathan Delfouneso hat-trick helped ease Blackpool’s relegation fears as they thrashed Bradford City in scintillating style at Bloomfield Road.

First half goals from Nathan Delfouneso (2) and Viv Solomon-Otabor meant the result was never really in doubt.

Bradford did improve slightly in the second half, but Pool capped off a fine win - their most comfortable of the season - with Delfouneso’s third of the afternoon and a late effort from Sean Longstaff.

The margin of victory could have been even more emphatic given the dominant nature of the Seasiders’ first-half display.

Former Pool manager Simon Grayson, now in charge of the Bantams, endured a torrid afternoon as the Bradford fans chanted for ex-boss Stuart McCall.

Chants of “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” also echoed out from the travelling 2,300 fans.

But for the Seasiders, the win sees them club up to 15th in the league table, eight points clear off the dropzone ahead of Tuesday night’s tie against Northampton Town.

The Cobblers are in the bottom four so win that and Pool should all-but confirm their League One status for next season.

Gary Bowyer opted to make two changes to his side from the one that lost so disappointingly at Oldham on Easter Monday, and it’s fair to say both were expected.

Callum Cooke and Danny Philliskirk dropped out of the team - the latter out of the squad altogether - while Sean Longstaff and Nathan Delfouneso came back into the starting 11.

Bradford came into the game desperately looking to pick up a win to keep their season alive, having won just one of their last 13 games.

The Bantams were still inside the League One play-offs when Stuart McCall was sacked in February, but they have dropped away from the top six under the tutelage of former Pool boss Simon Grayson.

The Seasiders made a positive start to the game and saw sight of goal on 11 minutes, when Nathan Delfouneso flicked a long throw into the path of Sean Longstaff only for the midfielder to get the ball stuck under his feet.

But Bradford almost broke the deadlock with their first shot on goal, as Shay McCartan shaved the woodwork with a superb dipping effort from range.

Pool continued to take the game to the Bantams and they were rewarded on 17 minutes, when Nathan Delfouneso gave them the lead on his return to the side.

The winger stole the march on his marker to meet Colin Daniel’s superb left-wing cross to fire home with a first-time finish, leaving the keeper with no chance.

Blackpool then quickly doubled their lead through Viv Solomon-Otabor, and what a goal it was.

The winger turned Adam Chicksen inside and out, leaving a couple of Bradford defenders in his wake before calmly slotting past Doyle for his fourth of the season.

Two almost immediately became three as Solomon-Otabor cut inside from the left and launched a rocket that clipped the top of the Bradford bar and went over.

The Bradford defence were in complete disarray at this moment, as Blackpool bombed forward at every opportunity and looked like scoring with every attack.

Blackpool deservedly got their third on the half-hour mark and it was that man Delfouneso who found the back of the net, once again combining with Daniel.

The full back raced forwards from deep to drill a cross in towards Delfouneso at the back post, who gratefully accepted and tapped home from close range.

The visitors were almost gifted a route back into the game when Daniel bizarrely headed towards his own goal from a Bradford corner, but thankfully for the Seasiders Jay Spearing was there to clear off the line.

The Bantams enjoyed a spell of possession towards the end of the first half but little came of it, as the Seasiders worked tirelessly off the ball to keep them at bay.

The Bradford fans were up out of their seats in the first minute of the second half - not to celebrate a goal but to sarcastically cheer a shot on goal from substitute Tyrell Robinson, which flew well wide.

Vassell had a chance to add his name to the scoresheet as he took the ball down on the chest before firing off the bar.

Bradford were better at the start of the second half - although they couldn’t have been any worse - and they came close to finding a goal back through Kai Breunker whose goalbound header was well caught by Joe Lumley.

But with the Bantams ploughing so many players forwards, that left gaps for Blackpool to exploit on the break and they came close through skipper Jimmy Ryan - who drilled a low shot straight at Doyle.

Delfouneso, looking to clinch his hat-trick, then had a shot blocked as Blackpool looked to kill off the game for good.

But that third goal did come with 20 minutes remaining, as he got across his man once again to head home from Ryan’s pinpoint cross.

That put the game to bed for good and put pay to any slim hopes Bradford had of getting anything from the fixture.

Bradford’s embarrassing afternoon was capped off with 10 minutes to go, when Doyle spilled a routine cross to the feet of Longstaff who drilled home into an empty net to make it five.

Blackpool: Lumley, Turton, Tilt, Robertson, Daniel, Ryan, Spearing, Longstaff (Cooke), Delfouneso (Menga), Solomon-Otabor, Vassell (Cullen)

Subs not used: Mafoumbi, Aimson, Agyei, Gnanduillet

Bradford: Doyle, McMahon, Chicksen, Kilgallon, Vincelot, Warnock, Law (Robinson), McCartan (Gilliead), Guy, Patrick (Breunker), Wyke

Subs not used: Raeder, Knight-Percival, Dieng, Poleon

Referee: Anthony Backhouse

Attendance: 5,337 (2,331 Bradford)