Ince Brace Secures First Day VictoryTwo goals from Tom Ince helped Blackpool open up their npower Championship season with a 2-0 victory over Millwall.
The winger struck either side of half-time to get The Seasiders off to the best possible start to the campaign, in a week that will see Leeds United and Ipswich Town travel to Bloomfield Road.
Returning to the scene where the regular season finished in May, manager Ian Holloway opted to give first league starts to summer arrivals Isaiah Osbourne and Tiago Gomes, while fit again striker Kevin Phillips started up-front.
The Seasiders started the game brightly, dictating the tempo and possession in the first five or so minutes. The home side looked a threat on the counter though, with former Pool loan player Danny Shittu seeing a header blocked inside 10 minutes.
Isaiah Osbourne had Blackpool's first attempt on goal for the season but it wasn't one he'll be keen to see many replays of, fizzing well wide of the goal.
Matt Gilks prevented Millwall from taking the lead after 21 minutes, Andy Keogh sprung the offside trap but was denied one-on-one by the keeper.
At the other end a clipped ball over the top from Tom Ince found Kevin Phillips by but last season's top goalscorer fired straight at Maik Taylor.
Kenny Jackett's side were looking a real threat going forward and almost took the lead through Josh Wright but he flashed a 25-yard strike just wide from a corner.
A slip from Neal Eardley on the edge of the box allowed Keogh another opportunity at goal but Matt Gilks thwarted him again.
Kevin Phillips stung the palms of Taylor from 18-yards as the game suddenly started to open up. Shortly after Tom Ince worked himself space in the area and fired in Blackpool's first of the season from an acute angle.
MILLWALL 0 BLACKPOOL 1
The goal had the travelling fans in full voice and allowed the tempo of the game to slow down a little. Neither side created anything of note from that point so Ince's strike separated the sides at the interval.
HALF-TIME SCORE: MILLWALL 0 BLACKPOOL 1
Danny Shittu didn't return for the start of the second 45 minutes and was replaced by Alan Dunne at the heart of The Lions' defence.
Jack Smith came close to a potential equaliser for Millwall four minutes in but the linesman's flag was up for offside as he failed to connect with Andy Keogh's flick-on.
Tiago Gomes highlighted his credentials with a number of tricks and flicks, causing the home side a few problems whenever he was in control of the ball.
The Portuguese midfielder, who is still finding full fitness after joining Blackpool halfway through pre-season, was replaced by Nouha Dicko on 56 minutes and left to a great reception from the Pool fans.
A great exchange of passing brought about Blackpool's second of the game, Taylor-Fletcher clipping the ball over the top for Ince to chase and dispatch with confidence.
MILLWALL 0 BLACKPOOL 2
The assist was to be Taylor-Fletcher's last bit of action as manager Ian Holloway introduced Elliot Grandin on the hour.
Despite seeing Osbourne pick up a yellow card for a late challenge, The Seasiders were once again starting to control play in the middle of the park.
Josh Wright came within an inch of pulling a goal back for Millwall on 79 minutes but his effort hit the side netting.
Ian Holloway opted to shore up things a little in the closing stages by introducing Craig Cathcart in place of Kevin Phillips. The Northern Ireland international took up the unfamiliar position of holding midfielder.
Four minutes of added time was confirmed at the end of the game but Blackpool defended resolutely to guarantee a clean sheet alongside the three points.
FULL-TIME SCORE: MILLWALL 0 BLACKPOOL 2