MATCH REPORT: Wigan 0-2 Blackpool

Blackpool celebrate Kelvin Mellor's goal
Blackpool celebrate Kelvin Mellor's goal

Blackpool turned the league table on its head to spring a shock with a superb and fully deserved away win against title favourites Wigan Athletic.

Blackpool turned the league table on its head to spring a shock with a superb and fully deserved away win against title favourites Wigan Athletic.

First half goals from Armand Gnanduillet and Kelvin Mellor proved enough to seal a priceless three points that takes them away from the League One relegation zone.

The win, Pool’s first in six league matches, means the Seasiders are now four points ahead of the bottom four.

Prior to the game, Wigan had only conceded four goals at home all season but Blackpool defied the odds to pick up a win their performance more than merited.

The Latics, who lost their 16-game unbeaten run at Southend United on the weekend, were under par all evening but all credit goes to Gary Bowyer’s side for the manner in which they stopped their potent attack.

Bowyer sprung something of a surprise with his team selection, making three changes to the side that drew 2-2 against Walsall on the weekend.

Kyle Vassell was missing from the squad altogether, an absence that allowed Armand Gnanduillet to start up front after netting the late equaliser against the Saddlers.

Jimmy Ryan and Colin Daniel also came into the side in place of Jay Spearing and Callum Cooke; the latter missing out through injury.

Kelvin Mellor, playing in a more advanced winger’s role, helped Blackpool get off to the perfect start inside three minutes.

The ball fell to him inside the penalty area and he shot towards goal on his left foot, only for his effort to be diverted into the bottom corner by teammate Armand Gnanduillet.

It was a slightly fortunate finish but Pool won’t have been complaining, as Gnanduillet scored for the second game running.

Wigan almost drew level through Michael Jacobs when he was found in space at the back post but Joe Lumley was equal to his low effort.

The Seasiders hit back with a chance of their own, Ollie Turton getting on the end of Kelvin Mellor’s knockdown only to drag his shot wide of goal.

Jacobs tried to catch Lumley out with a free kick near the touchline but the Pool keeper got over to claim.

Nick Powell tried his luck with a set piece of his own around 30 yards from goal, but he curled wide of Lumley’s right-hand post.

Gary Bowyer’s men were presented with a priceless chance to double their lead half way through the opening period, but Gnanduillet - looking for his second of the night - fluffed his lines in front of goal.

It came after Solomon-Otabor had skinned Nathan Bryne down the left, before pulling the ball back for Gnanduillet inside the box only for the striker to side foot wastefully wide of goal.

A Max Power effort flashed across the face of Blackpool’s box, almost falling to Will Grigg but the forward couldn’t quite divert the shot towards goal.

Kelvin Mellor sent the travelling Blackpool fans into raptures five minutes before the interval after doubling the Seasiders’ lead.

In recent weeks it has been Blackpool who have been guilty of some questionable defending, but this time it was the league leaders as Mellor nipped in to slot home from close range after the Latics had failed to clear their lines from a corner.

The Latics made a storming start to the second half, almost pulling one back within the first couple of minutes only for Turton to clear away at the back post under pressure from Jacobs.

Chey Dunkley, who scored twice against the Seasiders in the reverse fixture at Bloomfield Road, nodded a yard wide from the resulting corner.

His centre back partner Dan Burn then headed over the bar from Power’s probing free kick.

Pool were really on the back foot at this point and Curtis Tilt was forced to make a priceless block to keep out Grigg’s close-range effort.

The Seasiders rode out the next 15 to 20 minutes and even had a chance to extend their lead on the break, only for Solomon-Otabor to stumble when well placed.

It nearly proved costly as Wigan raced up the other end and came inches away from clawing a goal back, Powell drilling inches wide of the far post.

Powell then proved a pinpoint cross for substitute James Vaughan but he header over Lumley’s bar from the back post.

Jay Spearing, who came off the bench to replace Jimmy Ryan, found Gnanduillet with a deep free kick but the striker couldn’t quite get the required contact on his header, which skewed wide of goal.

Solomon-Otabor had a good chance on the break but the opportunity broke down when he opted to go it alone when Delfouneso was in space to his right, allowing Chey Dunkley to recover and crowd him out.

Gnanduillet curled a teasing ball across Wigan’s six-yard box, a ball that was just begging to be tapped home, but no one was there to take advantage.

That third goal almost came ten minutes from time when Mellor got on the end of Daniel’s superb left-wing cross, only to see his thunderous header tipped over the bar by Christian Walton.

Blackpool were looking the more likely to score in the final stages, with Gnanduillet going close again with a low effort that just missed the far post.

It proved to be the final action of the game as Wigan had run out of ideas well before this point, leaving Blackpool to celebrate with their boisterous supporters who had made the trip from the Fylde coast.

Wigan: Walton, Byrne, Dunkley, Burn, James, Morsy, Power, Massey (Vaughan), Jacobs (Roberts), Powell (Walker), Grigg

Subs not used: Jones, Perkins, Bruce, Fulton

Blackpool: Lumley, Mellor, Tilt, Robertson, Turton, Ryan (Spearing), Longstaff, Solomon-Otabor (D'Almeida), Daniel, Delfouneso, Gnanduillet

Subs not used: Mafoumbi, Taylor, Aimson, Philliskirk, Agyei

Referee: Rob Jones

Attendance: 8,302 (527 Blackpool)