MATCH REPORT: Portsmouth 0-2 Blackpool

Kyle Vassell marks his return to the side with a goal
Kyle Vassell marks his return to the side with a goal

Blackpool gave themselves some priceless breathing space at the bottom of the League One table with a superb 2-0 win away at Portsmouth.

Goals either side of half time from Kyle Vassell and Clark Robertson were enough for the Seasiders to seal a vital three points that extends their unbeaten run to five games.

Portsmouth, in contention for the play-offs, were limited to half chances at best as Gary Bowyer’s men recorded an impressive shutout at Fratton Park.

The result means Blackpool, who climb up to 16th, now have a six-point cushion to the dropzone ahead of next week’s home game against 19th placed Northampton Town.

Blackpool decided to make two changes to the side that drew 1-1 at home to Peterborough United last Sunday and it was a move that paid dividends.

Having spent a short spell on the bench in recent weeks, Jay Spearing came back into the first eleven in place of Sean Longstaff - who didn’t travel with the squad.

Kyle Vassell, who has been missing for the last two, replaced Armand Gnanduillet in attack.

Blackpool were unchanged elsewhere, meaning Nathan Delfouneso made his 150th appearance for the Seasiders.

Blackpool came into the game unbeaten in their last four, having picked up four points from their two fixtures against Wigan Athletic and Peterborough United last week.

Those two results saw Gary Bowyer's men stretch the gap to the bottom four to three points.

Pompey, meanwhile, named the same team that beat Fleetwood Town 2-1 at Highbury on Tuesday night.

Despite sitting just two points off the League One play-offs, Kenny Jackett’s men came into the game without a win at home in 2018.

Vassell saw an early sight of goal on his return to the side, dragging a shot wide from a narrow angle after being played in by Delfouneso.

Delfouneso continued his impressive start to the game with another powerful surge through the centre of the pitch, playing Vassell in for a second time but the striker failed to make the goalkeeper work.

We had to wait until the 15th minute for Portsmouth’s first shot on goal, but it was a good one when it came. Jamal Lowe created some space for himself down the right-hand flank and he whipped in a dangerous ball across the face of goal towards Oliver Hawkins, who side footed over at the back post.

After a brief lull in the game, the hosts should really have opened the scoring after half an hour.

Blackpool failed to deal with a long ball into their box which was knocked down to the unmarked Hawkins at the back post, but he screwed his shot inches wide of goal with Joe Lumley beaten.

Having weathered the Pompey storm, the Seasiders took the lead five minutes before the interval through Vassell; who notched his ninth of the season in clinical style.

It came after he caught Burgess in possession just outside the Pompey box, nipping the ball past him before coolly slotting home past the oncoming goalkeeper.

Pompey came out fighting at the start of the second half but it took until the 61st minute for them to create a clear opening.

The hosts found Lowe in space inside the Blackpool box but he sent his curling effort wide of the far post.

But they were made to pay for their miss as Blackpool went up the other end and scored through Clark Robertson, who netted for just his second goal of the season.

Spearing was given time on the right-hand side to deliver a pinpoint cross for the unmarked Robertson, who made no mistake from six yards out.

Pool almost added a third with 15 minutes to go when Jimmy Ryan found Curtis Tilt with a deep cross, but his header was straight at McGee in the Pompey goal.

Blackpool saw out the rest of the game with considerable ease, as they went on to record their tenth league victory of the season.

Portsmouth: McGee, Walkes, Burgess, Clarke, Donohue, Lowe, Close, May, Kennedy (Ronan), Hawkins (Naismith), Chaplin

Subs not used: Bass, Whatmough, Haunstrup, Deslandes, Smith

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

Subs not used: Mafoumni, Aimson, D'Almeida, Agyei

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 17,895 (264 Blackpool)