Memory Match: Blackpool 3-1 Portsmouth, 2016
Blackpool FC writer Matt Scrafton trawls through the archives to take a look back at the Seasiders' morale-boosting home win against Pompey on September 27, 2016.
A superb battling display earned Blackpool a deserved 3-1 win against high-flying Portsmouth.
Goals from Kelvin Mellor, Brad Potts and Kyle Vassell handed Gary Bowyer’s men their first win since the 3-0 defeat of Yeovil Town, as well as their first victory at home since the opening day of the season.
Pompey, coming into the game second in the league, settled well, getting on the ball at the earliest opportunity and looking to play out from the back.
Their football wasn’t just pleasing on the eye, it was also effective as they cut through Blackpool’s sides on a number of occasions in the early stages.
Their first real chance of note came in the ninth minute when midfielder Carl Baker fired a sublime left-footed shot just inches of Dean Lyness’ top corner.
Pompey continued to press high up the pitch and refused to let Blackpool’s defenders settle on the ball from the back.
Bowyer’s men struggled to get a foothold of the game against a Pompey side who were clearly brimming with confidence from their 5-1 thrashing of Barnet at the weekend.
However, Blackpool’s defence stood up to the pressure well and managed to keep the visitors at bay, and they got their rewards by taking the lead.
They were finally able to get out of their own half and pile on some of their own pressure on the visitors, which came to a head after Kelvin Mellor nodded in Jack Payne’s free-kick.
Pompey ‘keeper David Forde flapped at the cross and Pool’s right back was left with the simple task of heading into an empty net to give his side the lead.
It was Pool’s real first chance on goal but it was just reward for the manner in which they had stoutly defended in the opening 15 minutes.
The game then became a lot more even as the home side were happy to stand firm with their lead and look for any opportunities on the counter or from set pieces.
The Tangerines were more than happy to concede possession to Pompey and sit back and frustrate them.
An opportunity to take advantage of the counter-attack came when Kyle Vassell was released on the right hand side after a Pompey corner had been cleared.
He did well to turn inside and curl a left-footed effort onto the outside of the post.
Armand Gnanduillet then battled well to win two tackles deep in the Pompey half, allowing him to almost break through on goal only to lose the ball under his feet.
They were only half chances, but as has been a familiar tale this season they were immediately punished.
It was a real moment of genuine quality that got Portsmouth back on level terms and it came through in-form youngster Conor Chaplin.
Pool failed to clear a ball into their box despite having numerous opportunities to do so, and the striker took full advantage by pulling off a sublime overhead kick into Lyness’ top corner.
Despite the star quality, he was given far too much room in the box and Pool will have been disappointed the ball wasn’t cleared at an earlier opportunity.
But Blackpool stuck to their guns and continued to sit back and counter, with Brad Potts having a low show comfortably saved by Forde.
The midfielder was brought back into the line-up by Bowyer to replace Mark Yeates, who was dropped to the bench despite impressing in Saturday’s draw at Crewe Alexandra.
The game then fizzled out towards the end of the first half, with the two sides both appearing content to go into the interval level.
But it was only four minutes into the second half when Blackpool regained the lead, with Potts tapping in from close range.
The ball had fell kindly at his feet after Forde had palmed away a Kyle Vassell cross following good work by strike partner Armand Gnanduillet.
For the second time, Pool resorted to sitting back on their lead which invited more pressure from the visitors.
The pressure almost told when Gary Roberts went close with a backpost header which was smartly turned away for a corner by Lyness. But Blackpool extended their lead to two goals when Tom Davies was caught in possession allowing Vassell the chance to run through on goal and slot past the oncoming Forde.
The visitors continued to look for a route back into the game but Pool held firm with a superb backs-against-the-wall performance.
Blackpool: Lyness, Mellor, Aldred, Robertson (Aimson), Taylor, Potts (Cain), McAlister, Payne, Philliskirk, Vassell, Gnanduillet (Matt)
Subs not used: Boney, Yeates, Osayi-Samuel, Cullen
Portsmouth: Forde, Evans, Davies, Burgess, Stevens (Smith), Baker (Bennett), Rose, Doyle, Naismith, Roberts, Chaplin (Main)
Subs not used: Clarke, Lalkovic, O’Brien, Linganzi