Report: Blackpool 1 Blackburn 2Blackpool's first home match of the José Riga era ended in defeat, but provided plenty of reasons for supporters to be optimistic about the season ahead.
A Rudy Gestede brace did the damage for Blackburn Rovers in the Lancashire derby, but The Seasiders will argue they deserved a draw at the very least.
Tomasz Cywka's strike provided Blackpool with their first goal of the new season, but despite throwing the kitchen sink at the Rovers goal, Pool couldn't force an equaliser.
Tony McMahon struck the post, as the hosts lacked a slice of luck in the final third at Bloomfield Road.
It was The Seasiders who had started the better side and came close on three minutes, with David Perkins dragging an effort narrowly wide.
From there the visitors settled, and carved out the first opportunity for danger man Jordan Rhodes, who swivelled and shot straight at Joe Lewis.
After that no further chances followed until the 26th minute when Rovers edged ahead, arguably against the run of play. Tom Cairney wreaked havoc in the Blackpool box, allowing Gestede to sweep home the opener.
The goal kicked Pool into life, and Ishmael Miller should have done better when he glanced wide McMahon’s centre.
Rovers skipper Grant Hanley then headed Cairney’s corner straight at Lewis, with Nathan Delfouneso blazing over the bar at the other end.
Gestede was proving a thorn in Blackpool’s side throughout the first half however, and he set up Hanley, who fired over Lewis’ bar soon after.
That proved the final chance of the half, as The Seasiders went in behind, but with reason to be optimistic.
Half Time: Blackpool 0 Blackburn 1
After half-time Francois Zoko came off the bench for his debut a day after signing, replacing Jacob Mellis.
But Blackpool’s hopes of salvaging something from the game were lessened further just minutes into the second period. Craig Conway’s dangerous cross was right into the path of the hungry Gestede, who planted his header past an exposed Lewis.
The Seasiders needed to respond quickly, and came close from a Joan Oriol corner, but Peter Clarke’s centre was turned over the bar by Miller.
But minutes later The Seasiders hauled themselves right back in the contest, punishing some catastrophic Blackburn defending. Two defenders tangled on the edge of the box, allowing Cywka time and space to fire an effort which squirmed under Paul Robinson and rolled home.
Their hard work was almost undone soon after, but Conway’s sweetly struck effort skimmed narrowly wide.
However it was Blackpool taking the game to their visitors, and they came so close to an equaliser soon after. McMahon tried his luck from the edge of the box and his strike was palmed into the air by Robinson and onto the post, but Miller couldn’t turn home the rebound.
Sergei Zenjov was then brought on for The Seasiders, replacing Cywka.
There was a brief break from the Blackpool pressure when Corry Evans shot wide, but it was back to Pool attacking soon after, as Delfouneso saw his curling effort palmed to safety.
With two minutes left Riga went for it, and brought on Steven Davies for Perkins, finishing the match with five strikers on the pitch.
However they couldn't force an equalise, despite the best attempts of Miller in injury time.
Full Time: Blackpool 1 Blackburn Rovers 2
By Mark Ridgway