Blackpool took a huge stride into the League One play-offs with two matches remaining, running out comfortable 3-0 winners at Northampton Town.
A strike from Luke Garbutt and a brace from Jerry Yates was enough to secure the win and ultimately relegate Northampton, who needed a victory themselves to stand any chance of taking their fight to avoid the drop to the final day of the season.
Blackpool were forced into a change in the warm-up, as Tuesday night’s goalscorer Sullay Kaikai pulled up and was replaced by Elliot Embleton.
Northampton started brightly in the opening 15 minutes. A succession of corners were well-defended by Blackpool, with the hosts clearly using their height to their advantage.
Despite their early chances, it was Blackpool who took the lead on 20 minutes through Luke Garbutt’s fourth strike of the season. The left-back, who was playing as a wing-back for the second consecutive game found the ball on the left hand side and sprinted down the flank. With just one body in the box to aim at for the cross, Garbutt went for goal himself, squeezing the ball into the far corner with a low and powerful drive.
As the half wore out, Peter Kioso tried his luck from distance for Northampton, but the effort was well held by Chris Maxwell in goal.
Half-time: Northampton Town 0 Blackpool 1
Blackpool came out of the traps for the second half looking to extend their lead further. They thought they’d found their second on 48 minutes, as Luke Garbutt’s corner kick was met by Dan Ballard, but his header was blocked off the line by Northampton’s Michael Harriman.
Elliot Embleton then had a shot on goal minutes later, with his effort blocked by Lloyd Jones, as Northampton were throwing bodies on the line to keep the deficit at just a single goal.
With an hour on the clock, Kenny Dougall had a rare shot on goal after a great pass from Elliot Embleton to thread him through. Dougall’s shot squeezed past his man, but was well saved by Jonathan Mitchell in the Northampton goal.
Despite Northampton needing a win to ensure they took their fight against relegation to the final day of the season, it was Blackpool who extended their lead further thanks to Jerry Yates.
Ellis Simms’ powerful effort at goal, after collecting really well on the right hand side, was spilled by Mitchell in the Northampton goal, with Yates there to pounce on the rebound and bundle into an empty net.
And Jerry Yates wasn’t done there. With five minutes remaining, the striker bagged his second of the game. A wonderful pass from Ollie Turton to the oncoming Luke Garbutt on the left allowed the left-back to fire at goal. His shot was blocked on the line, only for Yates to sweep up and fire home again to secure all three points for the Seasiders.
Full-time: Northampton Town 0 Blackpool 3
Team: Maxwell, Turton, Ballard, Thorniley, Husband (79’ Ekpiteta), Garbutt, Dougall, Robson (36’ Gabriel), Embeton (86’ Anderson), Simms (86’ Holmes), Yates (86’ Mitchell)
Subs Not Used: Moore, Shaw.