MATCH REPORT: Gillingham 0-3 Blackpool

Kyle Vassell celebrates after giving Blackpool the lead
Kyle Vassell celebrates after giving Blackpool the lead

Blackpool confirmed their League One status for next season with a dominant away win at Gillingham.

First-half goals from Kyle Vassell and Nathan Delfouneso and a late third from Kelvin Mellor were enough to seal the points, which makes the Seasiders mathematically safe from relegation.

Nathan Delfouneso celebrates after doubling Blackpool's lead

Nathan Delfouneso celebrates after doubling Blackpool's lead

It was a deserved win for Pool, who were even able to afford a missed penalty as Jay Spearing struck against the foot of the post from 12 yards at the start of the second half.

It was a fully-merited win for Gary Bowyer’s men, who could and perhaps should have added more goals to their tally.

But the win means the Seasiders have now won four games in a row, the first time that has happened since April 2010, the season Pool were promoted to the Premier League.

Bowyer named the same side that won so dramatically in the Fylde coast derby against Fleetwood Town las tweek.

It meant the Pool boss kept faith with Kyle Vassell in attack, despite Armand Gnanduillet scoring in his last two matches.

Kelvin Mellor and Jim McAlister returned to the bench after long-term absences through injury.

The likes of Callum Cooke, Danny Philliskirk and Dan Agyei were left out of the squad altogether.

Blackpool made a bright start to the game and almost scored inside the first three minutes, as Kyle Vassell hit the crossbar with a diving header after stretching to reach Nathan Delfouneso superb cross.

A second good chance came their way and again Delfouneso was involved. This time it was the winger who got on the end of Jimmy Ryan’s outswinging corner to head just wide of the far post.

Pool kept up the early pressure by winning a succession of corners, but they were unable to make their dominance pay.

But a goal did come their way just before the half-hour mark. Vassell atoned for his earlier miss by being on the mark to take advantage of Tom Hadler’s mistake, drilling home from close range.

That had come after Hadler, who was making his league debut for the Gills, had spilled Jimmy Ryan’s free kick into the path of Vassell - who made no mistake to notch his 11th goal of the season.

Vassell then turned provider to drill in a low cross that Delfouneso met superbly to ram home Blackpool’s second just five minutes later, resulting in loud boos ringing out from the home fans.

The Gills almost pulled one back in first-half injury time but Tom Eaves, who scored in the reverse fixture, sent a header wide of the far post.

The Seasiders started the second half just as they did the first, on the front foot and looking to add more goals to their collection.

They were presented with a golden chance to do exactly that when Curtis Tilt was blatantly dragged back in the Gillingham box, with the referee immediately pointing to the spot.

But Jay Spearing, still without a goal this season, sent his effort onto the foot of the post.

Just minutes later, Viv Solomon-Otabor found himself through on goal but he opted to cut back when a shot looked his best bet. This allowed the Gillingham defence to recover and clear their lines.

Other than the penalty, the second half was something of a non-event, which suited the Seasiders who were happy to show their professionalism and slow the game down.

Armand Gnanduillet was brought off the bench with 10 minutes to go and was straight into the action, bringing a long ball down on his chest before unleashing a shot at goal that was blocked away for a corner.

Gnanduillet was again involved as Blackpool added a third with just seven minutes to play. The rangy striker latched onto a long ball over the top which he crossed to Kelvin Mellor, who had the simple task of tapping home into an empty net at the back post.

Gillingham: Hadler, O'Neill, Ehmer, Nugent, Ogilvie (Nash), Hessenthaler, Byrne, Reilly (List), Martin (Wagstaff), Parker, Eaves

Subs not used: Holy, Lacey, Nasseri, Wilkinson

Blackpool: Lumley, Turton, Tilt, Robertson, Daniel, Ryan, Spearing, Longstaff (McAlister), Solomon-Otabor, Delfouneso (Mellor), Vassell (Gnanduillet)

Subs not used: Mafoumbi, Aimson, Menga, Cullen

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 5,580 (346 Blackpool)