MATCH REPORT: Plymouth Argyle 0-1 Blackpool

Mark Cullen's third goal of the season was the difference
Mark Cullen's third goal of the season was the difference

Blackpool earned their first back-to-back league victories of the season as Mark Cullen’s first half effort proved to be the difference against winless Plymouth Argyle.

Cullen flicked home a deft effort from Harry Pritchard’s goalbound shot to extend the Seasiders’ unbeaten run to nine games and earn Terry McPhillips a win in his first game as full-time boss.

Pool once again had numerous chances to make the win more comfortable, but a solid defensive display earned McPhillips’ men the three points as well as their fifth clean sheet of the season in League One.

Bizarrely, Blackpool ended the game with nine men after both Donervon Daniels and Marc Bola were sent off for off-the-ball incidents.

But Plymouth, who remain bottom of the table and without a win to their name, were unable to capitalise in stoppage time.

McPhillips opted to name the same side as the one that came from behind to beat Bradford City 3-2 last week.

Pool went into the game having not scored or conceded on their travels in the league so far this season, drawing 0-0 with Wycombe Wanderers, Shrewsbury Town and Walsall.

However that could have all changed just six minutes in, as Mark Cullen was presented with a glorious chance to open the scoring when Harry Pritchard squared the ball to him in the centre, but the forward could only side foot his shot wide of goal.

The two combined a few minutes later as Cullen laid the ball off to Pritchard on the edge of the area - the midfielder shooting straight at Argyle keeper Matt Macey.

Pritchard and Cullen were once again involved as Blackpool took the lead on 14 minutes. But it was Nathan Delfouneso who did superbly to set up the chance, beating his man down the left before pulling the ball back for Pritchard, whose shot was diverted into the back of the net by Cullen.

It was a deserved lead for Pool, who had dominated the early stages and were camped inside the Plymouth half.

Things almost got even better when Pritchard, heavily involved once again, picked out Jordan Thompson whose low shot was blocked when it looked to be heading for the bottom corner.

Argyle saw their first taste of attacking action as Graham Carey cut inside from the right before forcing Mark Howard into a fingertip save.

But the Seasiders immediately raced down the other end and almost made it two, as Delfouneso once again beat right back Joe Riley to set up a cross for Cullen, who couldn’t quite keep his header down.

The home side could have had no complaints about the early scoreline but, just after the half hour mark, they almost found themselves level.

Carey produced a threatening cross from the left which striker Freddie Ladapo flicked onto the post, with the ball then bouncing into the safety of Mark Howard’s arms.

Plymouth began to take control of proceedings in the final stages of the first half, with Carey becoming increasingly influential, but Pool managed to hold firm.

McPhillips’ men almost made the perfect start to the second half as Cullen went close to adding a second, but Macey did well to tip his low shot around the post.

But Plymouth did come back into it as they searched for an equaliser, with Antoni Sarcevic heading wide at the near post from Carey’s corner.

Howard was then called back into action to tip over Ryan Edwards’ dipping volley from inside the area.

The Seasiders came under the cosh in the final 15 minutes as they failed to keep hold of the ball, which just kept coming back at them in wave after wave of Plymouth attacks.

But Pool found a small reprieve as substitute Ryan McLaughlin charged down the right, delivering a pinpoint cross for the unmarked O’Sullivan but he could only head wide.

Try as they might, Plymouth had very little left in the tank. But they were given a little helping hand when both Donervon Daniels and Marc Bola were sent off for off-the-ball incidents.

But the visitors managed to hold on in stoppage time to claim the three points - their first away from home in the league this season.

TEAMS

Plymouth: Macey, Riley, Edwards, Canavan (Wootton, Sawyer, O’Keefe (Lameiras), Songo’o, Sarcevic, J Grant, Carey, Ladapo (Taylor)

Subs not used: Letheren, Fox, Wylde, Smith-Brown

Blackpool: Howard, Turton, Daniels, Tilt, Bola, Spearing, Thompson, Pritchard (O'Sullivan), Delfouneso, Feeney (McLaughlin), Cullen (Gnanduillet)

Subs not used: Mafoumbi, Heneghan, Nottingham, Sinclair-Smith

Referee: Neil Hair

Attendance: 8,658 (162 Blackpool)