MATCH REPORT: Blackpool 3-0 Cheltenham
Blackpool recorded a comfortable 3-0 win against Cheltenham to keep their play-off hopes alive.
Goals from Mark Cullen, Clark Robertson and Neil Danns were enough to see off the relegation-threatened Robins in Pool’s penultimate home game of the season.
The Seasiders have now recorded three clean sheets in a row to add to their shutouts against Accrington Stanley and Doncaster Rovers.
The Seasiders are now sixth in the League Two table with just two fixtures left to play - Notts County the opponents next week before they finish the season with a home game against bottom-of-the-table Leyton Orient.
The first chance of the day came Cheltenham’s way just five minutes in, with Dan Holman seeing his close-range effort charged down in the Blackpool box after the hosts had failed to clear their lines from a corner.
Pool had a chance of their own from a set piece but Brad Potts failed to get enough contact on his shot after the midfielder was found in space from a short corner.
The Robins posed plenty of problems for the Pool defence in the early stages, with their direct style of play seeing the ball launched into the box at the earliest opportunity time and time again.
A half chance came the Seasiders’ way but Nathan Delfouneso was unable to curl his effort around a defender after cutting inside to work himself some space in the Robins penalty area.
A great chance for the hosts went begging just after the 15-minute mark when Neil Danns was unable to beat Scott Brown with his back post header, with the keeper’s save rebounding to the midfielder who then slashed wide.
The on-loan Bury man was denied for a second time as the Cheltenham defence backed away from him allowing the midfielder to shoot from the edge of the box, only to be denied by the foot of the post.
That sparked a spell of pressure from the home side with Cheltenham coming under the cosh and they finally cracked just before the half-hour mark, with striker Mark Cullen giving Blackpool the lead.
It’s fair to say he didn’t know much about it though as Cranston’s clearance rebounded off him and ended up in the back of the net.
Cheltenham continued to struggle defensively and that was ultimately their downfall as the Seasiders doubled their lead, with Clark Robertson smashing home for his first goal of the season.
It came after the visitors had struggled to clear their lines following a goalmouth scramble, with Gary Bowyer’s men being denied twice behind Robertson found the back of the net.
The Seasiders appeared to be cruising but it was that sort of complacency that almost saw Cheltenham grab one back just before half time, but Sam Slocombe managed to claw away a deflected effort on goal.
The home fans were appealing for a penalty with the last action of the opening half when Kelvin Mellor was grounded in the box but the referee opted to award a free kick the other way.
Blackpool made a confident start to the second half and came close through Jack Payne, who curled over at the end of a flowing attack.
The visitors began to see more of the ball as the second half wore on and almost got a goal back in bizarre circumstances when Carl Winchester’s deep cross inadvertently hit the top of the crossbar and went out for a goal kick.
Sam Slocombe then had to be on his guard to palm away from Harry Pell’s curling effort.
At the other end Blackpool came close to a third when Colin Daniel showed good footwork to get around his man in the box before blazing wastefully over when others were better placed in the middle.
But they didn’t have to wait long for that third goal as Danns got his reward for a fine individual display by tapping home from Colin Daniel’s ball across goal.
Three almost immediately became four as Brad Potts latched onto a through ball down the middle only for Scott Brown to make a good save down to his left.
Despite the three-goal deficit the visitors pressed ahead in search of a way back into the game, with Slocombe being forced into making a vital stop to save from Will Boyle’s back-post header.
But it soon became clear the three points were heading in Blackpool’s direction with the game fizzling out until the final whistle.
Blackpool: Slocombe, Mellor, Aldred, Robertson, Taylor, Danns (Black), Payne, Potts, Daniel (Osayi-Samuel), Delfouneso, Cullen (Vassell)
Subs not used: Lyness, Aimson, Flores, Gnanduillet
Cheltenham: Brown, Cranston (Davis), Storer, Pell (Munns), Waters (Dayton), Wright, Boyle, Rowe, Onariase, Winchester, Holman
Subs not used: Kitscha, Downes, Wootton, Plavotic
Referee: Robert Jones
Attendance: 3,775 (303 Cheltenham)