Ten-man Blackpool were beaten at home to Plymouth Argyle thanks to a single Nauris Bulvitis goal for the Devon team, despite chances aplenty for Pool.
The goal came from a smartly-worked set-piece involving Graham Carey five minutes after the interval. His left-footed cross was met just yards from the Blackpool net by Nauris Bulvitis, who rose tallest and scored the game’s only goal.
It was a debut to forget for Blackpool new boy Jack Payne as he was sent off just seven minutes after taking to the field. A last-ditch foul prevented Jake Jervis a run at goal and the midfielder saw red.
The first chance of the game fell to the home side after strong hold up play by Armand Gnanduillet brought Colin Daniel into the game. His cross floated towards the back post, and with Argyle's ‘keeper left in no man’s land, the ball was inches away from Brad Potts’ head and he failed to capitalise on the mix up.
Blackpool piled on more pressure shortly after. Gnanduillet, making his first home start for Pool, found Kelvin Mellor’s adventurous run forward into the opposition’s area, his right-footed strike, however, cannoned straight off Luke McCormick in the Plymouth goal.
A break away from Plymouth was Blackpool’s only real worry in the opening stages. Argyle striker Jimmy Spencer’s direct run at Pool’s back four was followed by a low effort from 20 yards which fizzed past the post.
Gnaduillet was threatening throughout, and after capitalising on a poor back pass, almost had his first goal in a tangerine shirt. Using his lengthy frame to stride away from the Plymouth defence, he was one-on-one with McCormick, but the Argyle ‘keeper came out victorious in the first battle between the two and deflected it out for a corner.
The set-piece to follow saw The Seasiders hit the bar with Blackpool’s Mark Cullen turning Andy Taylor's cross onto the woodwork.
Another set-piece followed, this time right off the training ground. A low pass to Gnanduillet inside the box was held up superbly by the big French striker and was calmly laid off to the in-running Potts whose shot was deflected wide.
Shortly before the break, again it was Blackpool looking the more likely to break the deadlock. Potts’ bursting run on the counter-attack led to a wonderful curling cross behind Plymouth’s defence finding its way to Cullen at the back stick, but he couldn't keep his effort down.
Half-time score: Blackpool 0-0 Plymouth Argyle
After the break, The Pilgrims started brightly. First, substitute Ben Purrington’s cross from the left was met by winger Ryan Donaldson, whose header brought an outstanding save from Sam Slocombe who managed to scoop the ball from behind him when it seemed to be a certain goal.
Then, the deadlock was finally broken. Argyle’s short corner to playmaker Carey was whipped in and, from just six yards out, defender Bulvitis was there to nod home the game’s opener.
With twenty minutes to go Blackpool had a mountain to climb as they were to finish the game with ten men. Debutant Payne was sent off for bringing down Jervis, who was deemed to have enough pace to go through on goal by referee Nigel Miller.
The sending off did not derail Blackpool’s efforts for an equaliser, however. Again, Gnanduillet was the danger man and after smartly looping the ball over McCormick, it seemed to be a certain goal for Bowyer’s men, with only a clearance off the line preventing him getting on the scoresheet.
In the final minutes Clark Robertson and substitute Bright Osayi-Samuel both came close, as they both had efforts flash past the post but Blackpool were to be beaten by a strong Plymouth side.
Full time result: Blackpool 0-1 Plymouth Argyle
By Peter McCarthy