Report: Blackpool 1 Burnley 0
Blackpool leapfrogged Lancashire rivals Burnley and made another stride to securing their Championship status after beating the Clarets 1-0 at Bloomfield Road.
A curling effort from Ludovic Sylvestre, reminiscent of Matthew Phillips’ wonder-strike against Crystal Palace two weeks ago, ensured a priceless three points as the Seasiders extended their unbeaten run to four games.
On a typically wet Lancashire afternoon, it was Blackpool who had the first real chance at goal. A searching ball from the re-installed Ferguson found Matthew Phillips who in-turn crossed sharply for Nathan Delfouneso in the area.
The England under-21 international fluffed his lines though, as the ball hit his standing leg and allowed Burnley to clear the danger.
An audacious attempt from Kirk Broadfoot and a muted penalty shout went by before a miraculous finger-tipped save from Matt Gilks denied the Clarets the lead.
The Scottish shot-stopper dived acrobatically to push Junior Stanislas’ 25-yard effort onto the inside of the post, giving his defensive unit time to regroup and clear.
A succession of corners looked promising for the Seasiders but none produced a clear chance on goal in what was a scrappy period of the game.
Mid-way into the first half though, Blackpool were on top. Ferguson, Chris Basham and Ludovic Sylvestre were controlling the midfield, often finding luck down the left wing with the help of Scotland international Phillips.
But despite the best efforts of the quartet, the 22-year-old winger was restricted to long-range efforts on his weaker foot, often being ferried inside by Clarets right-back Kieran Trippier.
It looked like the half would finish goalless, thanks in no small part to the excellent Gilks who again denied a 25-yarder just four minutes prior to the break, this time from Ross Wallace.
HALF TIME: BLACKPOOL 0-0 BURNLEY
The second period started quietly, with Phillips’ booked for a late challenge on Clarets centre-half Jason Shackell the only note-worthy incident.
The majority of a 14,437 crowd were brought to life after 58 minutes though, when Blackpool eventually took the lead through a stunning Ludovic Sylvestre strike.
Thomas Ince and Stephen Crainey exchanged passes mid-way into the Burnley half, allowing the 29-year-old Frenchman enough space to curl a perfectly placed shot into the top right-hand corner of Lee Grant’s goal.
BLACKPOOL 1-0 BURNLEY
A surge of confidence was evident following the breakthrough, with waves of Pool attacks being the theme. Alex Baptiste, Ince and Phillips were the main protagonists, regularly causing the Burnley back four problems on the counter attack.
At the other end the Seasiders defence was strong, stifling the likes of 28-goal Charlie Austin and fellow forward Sam Vokes, making it difficult for the duo to carve out any clear-cut opportunities.
Sean Dyche was eventually forced into making two substitutions with the hope the visitors might find a late equaliser.
Martin Paterson, who has often chipped in with a goal for the Clarets this season, replaced Ross Wallace, while Stanislas made way for David Edgar in midfield.
However, Blackpool continued to pile on the pressure and should have doubled their advantage eight minutes from time. Preoccupied with trying the forge a leveller, the away side were exposed on the counter attack following a corner.
Matt Phillips broke and the Seasiders had a three-on-one advantage. The winger put Thomas Ince through but the 21-year-old’s shot was deflected onto the cross-bar, only for Sylvestre to head the rebound agonisingly wide.
The Bloomfield faithful were treated to a glimpse of the returning Gary Taylor-Fletcher, who was met with a round of applause, as he replaced Delfouneso up-front after an extended spell on the sidelines through injury.
There wasn’t much time for the veteran forward to make his mark on the game however as the referee blew his whistle just minutes after he entered the fray to give Blackpool a valuable three-points.
FULL TIME: BLACKPOOL 1-0 BURNLEY