VERDICT: Fleetwood Town 3 Blackpool 2

Joey Barton and Ash Eastham go for a double high five after the derby day win
Joey Barton and Ash Eastham go for a double high five after the derby day win

After earth tremors on the Fylde coast there was a  seismic shift in Fleetwood as the club made history by beating Blackpool for the first time.

It was at the fifth time of asking in the league and all the more remarkable as this time eight years ago Blackpool had just recorded their first top-flight victory since beating West Bromwich Albion 2-1 at The Hawthorns on a Monday night in 1971.
Fleetwood Town’s dramatic rise through non-league was continuing eight years ago, winning 2-0 at Tamworth in their first season in the Conference.
Town are now an established League One side in their fifth season at that level, showing what can happen with the right investment off the field.
The Fleetwood fairytale has been created by Andy Pilley a Blackpool fan disillusioned with the goings on at Bloomfield Road. He ditched his box there to start the Fleetwood Town dream.
Through careful nurturing and astute managerial he has taken a club from the North West Counties League to finally beat Blackpool.
It does mean more to Fleetwood Town than to Blackpool to win the derby.
Andy’s son Jamie was instrumental in the creation of a flag draped across the Memorial Stand with the iconic Fisherman’s Friend logo and the words Fleetwood Town est. 1908.
This is the third incarnation of a club which might not have the history of Blackpool but has etched another chapter in its history book.
They now have that first victory they so desired.
They were so close last year, when late goals by Viv Solomon-Otabor and Armand Gnanduillet sank Town.
The man who scored Fleetwood’s first ever league goal against the Seasiders that day sent them on their way to Saturday’s historic victory.
Wes Burns took just five minutes to dance past a host of startled Blackpool players and fire into the left corner. Flares lit up the stands as Burns was busy lighting up the pitch.
Given the difference in the two clubs’ training facilities, it was perhaps ironic that Town’s second came from a Poolfoot Farm routine.
Ash Hunter’s corner from the right was fizzed out to Ross Wallace outside the box. He cut inside and drilled the ball home from distance, making mincemeat of the man who has been Blackpool’s stand- out player, Jay Spearing.
Blackpool had been unbeaten in 11, with the meanest defence in the division. But just 11 minutes in and Fleetwood were 2-0 up.
Electric Dreams blasted out before kick-off and this truly was an electric start.
Joey Barton had once again been rocked by injuries in the build-up. The Town boss was forced into changes from Tuesday’s defeat at Peterborough.
Dean Marney (leg) and Ryan Taylor (shoulder) joined Conor McAleny (hamstring) and Tommy Spurr (hip) in the treatment room.
Paddy Madden fit enough to be named on the bench after a hamstring tweak saw him miss a full week of training.
Jason Holt and Nathan Sheron came in for Marney and Taylor, with left-back James Husband back from injury to replace Kyle Dempsey, who moved to the bench.
Barton went 4-3-3. Sheron tasked with a new defensive midfield role. He’d been utilised at right-back or centre-half but was pushed forward with Taylor out.
A derby, new position and up against ex-Liverpool man Spearing, it was to be a baptism of fire but he stood up to be counted. Spearing was a passenger as Sheron and Holt won the battle in the middle.
Town played Pool off the park in the opening 25, much to the delight of the Cod Army. Drummer George McLaughlin roared Town on as the team’s 12th man..
When Blackpool pulled a goal back, as Nathan Delfounseou teed-up Jordan Thompson at the back stick, Town could have crumbled but the belief was there and they were applauded off at the break after that opening masterclass.
Burns and Hunter have improved before our eyes under Barton. Hunter was used as an impact player in past regimes, Burns a forgotten man but his confidence has reignited.
The players believed this was to be their the day. Barton believed and sent Paddy Madden on in the 55th minute.
The classic 4-4-2 has seen Town destroy teams. Is there a better strike partnership in the division than Madden and Ched Evans? The key is keeping them on the pitch.
Even though he didn’t score, Evans’ presence and work rate, distracting opponents to let other attackers in, was a key to victory.
Barton knew Fleetwood needed a third as Blackpool tried to claw their way back.
Hunter was allowed more space in the second half, drifting over to the left and finding gaps to ask questions. He should have had another assist, the unmarked Burns missing his cross from the right.
But Hunter will settle for two, strolling into the box and cutting the ball back for Madden to fire home first time.
Game wrapped up. Or was it?Blackpool responded again just two minutes later, Delfouneso ghosting past Craig Morgan to beat Cairns
The form of Morgan since he has returned from injury is a worry, though his central defensive partner Ash Eastham was a warrior-like figure against his old club.
That goal set up an interesting final half-hour, the Seasiders going long as Gnanduillet caused problems.
As derbies do, it became fiery with a number of tasty challenges. First team coach Clint Hill was shown a red card for pushing Marc Bola as the Blackpool man came over to take a throw. Hill was banished but Town stayed calm.
I’ve critiqued their game management but this time they kept playing their way and reduced Blackpool to aerial threats.
Barton used a defensive sub late on, throwing Cian Bolger on for Hunter to secure the points.
Against Rochdale, a similar late change saw the visitors smell blood and go for the jugular. There was none of that from Blackpool, no way through, and their frustration boiled over.
Last time he faced Town Gnanduillet was celebrating an injury-time winner. This time he saw red in the dying minutes for an off the ball incident with Husband.
Town are still a work in progress, but this historic win could provide the blueprint for yet more history to be made.