MATCH REPORT: Blackburn 3-0 Blackpool
Blackpool were harshly beaten by Blackburn Rovers 3-0 despite more than matching the League One table toppers for vast swathes of the game.
The Seasiders were the better side in the first half of what was a drizzly afternoon at Ewood Park.
But they were left to rue a glorious missed chance for Nathan Delfouneso before Rovers took the lead in first-half stoppage time through the dangerous Bradley Dack - a goal that changed the whole outlook of the game.
The Seasiders enjoyed most of the possession in the second period as they fought for a way back into the game, but they were punished on 69 minutes when Adam Armstrong curled home a superb effort to seal the win for the hosts.
Gary Bowyer’s men had chances to get back into the game after Blackburn’s second but they were unable to find a way through their resolute defence.
Blackburn showed their clinical touch in front of goal once again when they added a third in the final minute, as the Seasiders were caught out throwing men forward allowing Armstrong to grab his second.
The result leaves the Seasiders four points ahead of the League One dropzone.
Blackpool were forced into making one change for the game, Sean Longstaff coming in for Kelvin Mellor who missed out with an ankle injury.
That caused a minor reshuffle, with Nathan Delfouneso taking Mellor’s role on the right wing allowing Longstaff to play in a midfield three alongside Jimmy Ryan and former Rovers player Jay Spearing.
Blackpool, who enjoyed a five-game unbeaten run in February, came into the game looking for their third straight away win after picking up impressive 2-0 victories against Wigan Athletic and Portsmouth last month.
The Seasiders found themselves under a bit of pressure in the opening stages of the game, with Bradley Dack stinging Joe Lumley’s palms with a sweetly-struck volley just four minutes in.
But Blackpool were denied what looked to be a certain goal on 14 minutes when Rovers defender Derrick Williams made a miraculous block to deflect Nathan Delfouneso’s close-range effort over the par.
Jack Payne got a shot off at goal for the home side after driving at the Blackpool defence but his drilled effort flew harmlessly wide.
Pool continued to dominate proceedings in the first half, much to the frustration of the home faithful.
Longstaff was the next to get a shot off at goal, a low effort that dragged wide after pouncing on a loose ball in the middle of the park.
We had to wait until the 33rd minute for Blackburn’s genuine first opportunity on goal, but Blackpool recovered well to escape going behind.
It came after Elliott Bennett’s deep cross was headed down into the path of Dack, whose goalbound effort was headed over the bar by Clark Robertson.
The Seasiders escaped for a second time just a couple of minutes later when Adam Armstrong chipped wastefully over the bar after being sent through on goal.
Pool were well and truly under the cosh just before the half-time interval and Joe Lumley had to be quick off his line to deny Corry Evans as he tried to flick a header towards his goal.
Gary Bowyer’s side looked to have seen off most of the pressure, but Rovers took the lead on the stroke of half time through Dack with the simplest of headers.
The midfielder was left unmarked to glance home past Lumley from Charlie Mulgrew’s dangerous free kick.
Blackpool shrugged off the frustration of conceding so late on in the first half to make a bright start to the second period, Ollie Turton almost finding Delfouneso at the back post with a superb cross.
But, with the Seasiders committing more and more men forward, Blackburn looked an ever increasing danger on the counter attack.
Delfouneso did well to beat his man by the touchline before unleashing an effort at goal that was cleared away for a corner.
Kyle Vassell was then found inside the Blackburn box courtesy of a pinpoint cross from Colin Daniel but the striker could only glance his header wide of goal.
Viv Solomon-Otabor then fizzed a ball across the face of goal as Blackpool began to up the ante but no one was there to take advantage of his dangerous cross.
Blackburn had offered very little in the second half as they were happy to sit back on their one-goal lead, but they found a second thanks to a moment of quality from Armstrong.
The forward, on loan from Newcastle United, curled home into the top corner after being teed up by Dack, giving Lumley no chance whatsoever.
Blackpool threw on Danny Philliskirk, Dan Agyei and Armand Gnanduillet in a desperate attempt to claw something out of the game but it proved in vein, as Blackburn saw out the rest of the match fairly comfortably.
Curtis Tilt did go close on 86 minutes when his header back across goal was cleared away on the goalline.
A couple of minutes later, Rovers added a third to put a misleading slant on the result as Armstrong netted for the second time with a cool finish across Lumley and into the far corner.
Blackburn: Raya, Nyambe (Evans), Lenihan, Mulgrew, Williams, Bennett, Smallwood, Payne (Conway), Dack (Bell), Armstrong, Graham
Subs not used: Leutwiler, Samuel, Antonsson, Downing
Blackpool: Lumley, Turton, Tilt, Robertson, Daniel, Ryan, Spearing (Gnanduillet), Longstaff, Delfouneso, Solomon-Otabor (Philliskirk), Vassell (Agyei)
Subs not used: Mafoumbi, Taylor, Aimson, D'Almeida
Referee: Lee Probert
Attendance: 13,230 (1,114 Blackpool)