Blackpool fell to a disappointing home defeat at the hands of Port Vale, who scored a scrappy winner and held on at Bloomfield Road. AJ Leitch-Smith bundled home the only goal after Colin Doyle had kept out his initial header, and it proved enough for the three points.
Neil McDonald’s side failed to really get going and saw their best chances go begging through Andy Little and Bright Osayi-Samuel. The defeat left Pool inside the bottom four, as their hunt for a first victory of 2016 went on.
The Seasiders should have led after just five minutes. Little, making his first Bloomfield Road start, turned his man to put him through, but fired across goal and off target. Meanwhile, the visitors were looking a danger from set pieces and Colin Daniel headed their first opportunity wide.
The Valiants were penning Pool back and Byron Moore’s volley took a nick on its way behind. Little’s miss would turn out to be his only contribution of the afternoon for Pool, and he hobbled off, as Jack Redshaw made his return in his place.
With the game yet to really get going, Vale’s blonde-haired defender Ryan McGivern saw his header drop wide. Debutant Danny Philliskirk managed what McGivern didn’t by finding the back of the net on 38 minutes, but the flag was up for offside.
Blackpool were improving as the half went on, and Will Aimson headed wide Jim McAlister’s free-kick at the back post, which proved to be the final action of the half.
Half-Time: Blackpool 0 Port Vale 0
The start to the second-half was full of controversy, as both penalty and corner appeals were turned down, which allowed Vale to break and after Doyle had denied Leitch-Smith, the striker got lucky with the ricochet, which trickled past the goalkeeper.
The goal forced McDonald to act and he replaced David Norris with Osayi-Samuel, as Jim McAlister moved centrally. The winger was instantly involved, as he turned his man and shot at Jak Alnwick.
His opposite number Doyle then held onto an effort from Carl Dickinson, while David Ferguson hit a wild volley wide of the mark for Pool. The home side’s final change saw John Herron take the place Brad Potts.
As the game entered the final ten minutes Pool continued to push forward and Hayden White’s cross caused carnage, but Osayi-Samuel’s shot deflected over the bar. In added time Philliskirk turned and got his shot away, but Alnwick was on hand to save and secure his side the points.
Full-Time: Blackpool 0 Port Vale 1