Portsmouth 0-1 Blackpool: Chris Long nets on debut to hand Seasiders huge win

Blackpool's Chris Long celebrates scoring his side's winning goal on his debut
Blackpool's Chris Long celebrates scoring his side's winning goal on his debut
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Chris Long came off the bench to net on his debut to hand Blackpool a priceless first league win in six games against league leaders Portsmouth.

The striker, who only joined the Seasiders from Fylde coast neighbours Fleetwood Town on Tuesday, scored the decisive goal 15 minutes from time.

The goal, Blackpool’s first in almost 400 minutes of action, gave Blackpool their first win in League One since the 2-1 victory against Charlton Athletic.

Number one goalkeeper Mark Howard missed out with a groin injury he picked up in last weekend’s FA Cup defeat to Arsenal.

In came Christoffer Mafoumbi to make his first start since the win at Exeter City at the start of November.

Michael Nottingham and Chris Taylor dropped down to the bench, with Nick Anderton coming in for his first appearance for Blackpool since August replacing Paudie O’Connor, who departed during the week to link up with Bradford City.

Jordan Thompson also returned to the fold after serving his three-match suspension for the straight red he picked up at Rochdale on Boxing Day, while Ben Heneghan recovered from illness to take his spot in the centre of defence.

New signings Chris Long and Nya Kirby both started on the bench while Steve Davies, whose contract runs out today, didn’t travel with the squad.

Ollie Turton and Curtis Tilt weren’t fit enough to return from injury, remaining on the sidelines with Jimmy Ryan, Mark Cullen, Joe Dodoo and Max Clayton.

After a quiet start to proceedings, it was the Seasiders who had the first shot of the afternoon, Callum Guy firing well wide after a free kick was cleared to him on the edge of the box.

While the home side were incredibly difficult to break down, they weren’t exactly fluent going the other way - taking almost half an hour to get a shot off at goal and when it did come, via Ronan Curtis’ free kick, it was comfortably wide of goal.

This sparked a spell of pressure from Blackpool with Armand Gnanduillet going close in quick succession.

He wasted the first opportunity, producing an air shot after Liam Feeney had pulled the ball back into his path, before heading straight at Craig MacGillivray from Donervon Daniels’ cross.

Daniels, playing at right back, was again involved as he crossed for Nathan Delfouneso who sent an effort just over the bar.

The first real sign of danger from Pompey came two minutes before the break, Brett Pitman flashing in a dangerous fall that just evaded Curtis inside the six-yard box.

Blackpool remained defensively resolute throughout the opening 45 minutes, stopping the hosts from producing a single attempt on their goal.

The hosts showed a strong response to go close in the opening minutes of the second half, Jamal Lowe seeing an effort deflect just wide.

Ten minutes into the second 45 minutes, referee Kevin Johnson was forced to come off injured and was replaced by the fourth official Graham Kane.

Another replacement, this time for Pompey, came close to breaking the deadlock as substitute Andy Cannon sent a first-time volley just over the Pool bar.

Chris Long was brought on for his Blackpool debut halfway through the second half, replacing the injured Delfouneso.

And it was a debut goal the striker was immediately looking for, but he flashed one well over on his weak foot.

Pitman wanted a penalty for the home side on 73 minutes, but his theatrical dive was thankfully ignored by the new man in the middle.

With 15 minutes left on the clock, the Seasiders sensationally took the lead with new man Long putting them ahead with a clinical finish.

It came after striker partner Gnanduillet had nodded the ball down for the former Fleetwood Town man, who made no mistake with his low finish into the far corner.

Portsmouth looked for an instant response, but Marc Bola produced a vital block to force Jamal Lowe’s low effort out for a corner.

Pompey had a priceless chance to get back on level terms five minutes from time when Pitman was presented with a free header, but fortunately for Pool his glancing effort went straight into the grateful arms of Mafoumbi.

Matt Clarke then forced a good save out of Mafoumbi at his near post, denying the centre back who had produced a first-time effort on the turn.

Lowe then fired over the bar, again on the turn, with Pompey’s last effort of the game on 90 minutes as Blackpool held on for a much-needed three points.

TEAMS

Portsmouth: MacGillivray, Walkes, Whatmough, Clarke, Donohue, Naylor, Evans (Wheeler), Lowe, Green (Cannon), Curtis, Pitman

Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Burgess, May, Dennis

Blackpool: Mafoumbi, Daniels, Heneghan, Anderton, Bola, Spearing, Guy (Pritchard), Thompson, Feeney (Nottingham), Delfouneso (Long), Gnanduillet

Subs not used: Boney, Bunney, Kirby, O'Sullivan

Referee: Kevin Johnson

Attendance: 18,404 (247 Blackpool)