Matt Scrafton trawls through the archives to take a look back at Blackpool's impressive win at Fratton Park on September 1, 1971.
Blackpool’s skill and tenacity at Portsmouth which brought their first away win of the season showed just the kind of stylist form needed to keep them at the top of the Second Division.
Even the Portsmouth chairman Dennis Collett admitted after the match: “Blackpool are one of the best Second Division sides we have had here for a very long time”.
The only surprise was that the margin was kept so close because Tony Green and Alan Suddick were continually showing how to weave their way clear of Portsmouth’s bewildered back row in which Colin Blant and Tommy Youlden were so easily drawn out of position.
Their clever raids provided the chances for the quick strikes of Mickey Burns and Tom Hutchison and “Hutch” made a confident return to the side shaking off all signs of that pre-season ankle injury.
Crystal Palace manager Bert Head watched the game and must have been again impressed by the form of Green and Hutchison in whom he has been interested for some time.
But it was Glyn James who was again the main match winner with two more neatly headed goals to bring his total up to six so far this season.
Yet the power of the Blackpool strikers and their midfield skill should not detract from the strength and safe coverage of the defence, for Portsmouth put up a stout fight full of determination and courage although the odds in ability were stacked against them.
Dick Reynolds and Ray Hiron were always chasing every chance of applying pressure and they had forceful backing from Albert McCann, George Ley and Eoin Hand.
But they did not have the constructive ideas to prise open Blackpool’s tight control of their own box.
Dave Hatton and Bill Bentley were always quick in the tackle and Peter Suddaby fared well against the sturdy Reynolds.
The only booking of the evening was for Reynolds for a foul on Suddaby early in the second half, although it was not a serious offence.
Blackpool were in cool command of nearly every situation and got a goal with their first attack after just 42 seconds.
Following a free kick, Suddick cunningly slipped the ball inside to Green who teed it up for Burns to it clear of Jim Standen just inside the post.
Portsmouth’s slack marking had put this neatly conceived goal on a plate for Blackpool who took a second helping with the first of James’ goals in the 13th minute.
It was Suddick again who wormed his way into a good position and James was able to move clear to head an easy goal.
Then the home side began to exert more sustained power and Hand pulled a goal back by heading in a pass from the lively Reynolds in the 18th minute.
Portsmouth had their chances but McCann, Trebilcock and Smith all hit the post and Trebilcock missed the opportunity of a second half equaliser when he lifted the ball over the top from only five yards.
But towards the end, Blackpool pushed Portsmouth back again and James was able to head their third goal from an unmarked position with five minutes to spare.
This did little more than underline just how superior Blackpool had proved to be in always playing with poise and style even under the most desperate Portsmouth pressure.
Portsmouth: Standan, Smith, Ley, Hand, Blant, Youlden, Piper, Reynolds, Hiron, McCann, Trebilcock. Sub: Munks
Blackpool: Burridge, Hatton, Bentley, Booth, Alcock, Suddaby, Burns, Green, James, Suddick, Hutchison. Sub: Craven