A Gary Taylor-Fletcher goal was not enough to give Steve Thompson’s Tangerines a share of the points, as they lost 2-1 to Cardiff City at Bloomfield Road.
Three goals in 10 second half minutes saw the visitors first take the lead through Bo-Kyung Kim, only for Taylor Fletcher to equilise with a close range header.
The Seasiders were only on level terms for a matter of moments however, as Tommy Smith’s volley took a huge deflection as it flew past Matt Gilks and into the net for what proved to be the winner.
The league leaders had the games’ first effort on goal when Kim picked out Smith in space on the right. Former QPR striker Smith looked to cut inside and bend an effort into the top corner, but his shot instead flew harmlessly wide.
Despite some neat interplay in the middle of the park, Blackpool struggled to seriously test the Cardiff back-line in the early stages. Thomas Ince saw his freekick drift just wide with Nathan Delfouneso lurking, and then Taylor-Fletcher saw his burst towards goal well defended by Malky Mackay’s men.
The home side did however create a great chance to take the lead in the 19th minute. Ince raced clear and forced Marshall into a good close range stop, parried out towards Tiago Gomes. With only a couple of men on the line to beat, the Portuguese midfielder failed to make a proper connection and Cardiff got the ball clear.
At the other end, Cardiff created a great opportunity of their own, when Craig Conway’s low ball across the box reached Kim. With his back to goal, Kim turned neatly but dragged his shot just wide.
Marshall was again called into action when Gomes whipped in a tempting cross from a corner. The Scottish stopper did well however, as he rose above a crowd of bodies to punch clear.
Ince then latched on to a stunning through ball from Ludovic Sylvestre and looked to take the ball around the onrushing ‘keeper. His touch took it through the legs of Marshall, but also out of play for a goal-kick.
With the half almost at a close, there was to be one final chance for the Bluebirds. After a period of pressure, Mark Hudson found himself with space in the box. His shot was blocked, but he managed to steer the rebound towards Smith, who’s strike produced a good two handed save from Gilks.
HALF TIME: BLACKPOOL 0 CARDIFF CITY 0
The second half started as evenly as the first half had finished, before Cardiff took the lead in the 54th minute. A ball into the box was only half cleared and fell to Gunnarson, whose mishit shot from 10 yards hit the post. Before Blackpool could take advantage of that bit of fortune, Kim pounced on the loose ball and bundled a shot past Gilks.
BLACKPOOL 0 CARDIFF CITY 1
Steve Thompson’s side responded well to that set-back however, and they were level within six minutes. Gomes showed quick feet in the area to give himself space, and then his chipped cross was met perfectly by the head of Taylor-Fletcher.
BLACKPOOL 1 CARDIFF CITY 1
That assist was to be the midfield playmakers last contribution to the game, as he was replaced by Matt Phillips. It marked a return to action for the wide-man, after two months out with a toe injury.
A lightning quick break-away from Cardiff then saw the visitors re-take the lead, as Andrew Taylor broke clear of the Blackpool defence. His ball in was cleared, but only as far as Smith, whose volleyed effort was diverted into the net by Craig Cathcart.
BLACKPOOL 1 CARDIFF CITY 2
The Seasiders again went in search of a goal to draw them level. Sylvestre’s long range attempt was watched wide by Marshall, before Phillips’s shot from distance struck Ben Nugent.
Ince then showed wonderful skill to nutmeg Taylor on the edge of the area, but his left-footed shot was comfortably gathered by Marshall.
Conway had the chance to extend the table toppers advantage, but he could only find the stand with a dangerously placed freekick.
Pool’s talisman Ince was determined to bring his side level, and again forced the best out of Marshall with another shot from outside the area. This time the ‘keeper saw it late, but he adjusted well to get his body in the way of the strike.
It was then Bob Harris’s turn to test Marshall, with a freekick from 30 yards. The full-backs effort was on target, but lacked power and comfortably caught by the 27-year-old.
That proved to be it as far as goalmouth action was concerned, as Cardiff saw out the game for three points which see them consolidate their position at the top of the Championship.