Report: Blackpool 2 Southend 0
Second-half strikes from Mark Cullen and Jacob Blyth secured Blackpool three priceless points against Southend United to aid their battle for survival.
Cullen nodded home amidst appeals for an offside, before turning provider for Blyth to hammer home his first goal for the club.
The win takes Blackpool onto 45 points and was fully deserved against a Southend side still harbouring hopes of a late play-off charge.
The visitors did hit the post in a nervy first-half, but another terrific defensive display saw Neil McDonald’s side make it four unbeaten at just the right time.
Unbeaten in three matches going into the game, Blackpool started brightly and Jacob Blyth tested Dan Bentley within the opening minute. Chances continue to come and go for The Seasiders, who watched Cullen and Danny Philliskirk spurn decent openings.
Southend’s first shot on target came from their target man Tyrone Barnett, who headed at Colin Doyle quarter-of-an-hour in. The striker was then cursing his luck ten minutes later as a deflection saw Jamar Loza hit the post from a tight angle, before Barnett blazed over the rebound.
That chance kicked Pool into action and a lung-bursting run from Brad Potts ended with the midfielder stinging the palms of Bentley. He passed up an even better opportunity five minutes before the break, slamming wide a tempting cross from Philliskirk.
That proved the final moment of note in the half, as Blackpool went in for the break having been the better side but still on level terms.
Half-Time: Blackpool 0 Southend 0
Southend came out for the second-half with renewed vigour and after a cross wasn’t dealt with by Pool, Jack Payne dragged a presentable opportunity wide. The United ‘number 10’ was made to pay for that miss as Pool went ahead seconds later.
Philliskirk started the moving with a powerful run down the right, his pass was returned with interest by McAlister and once David Norris directed the ball goalwards, Cullen was on hand to nod beyond the reach of Bentley.
Stephen McLaughlin attempted to bring his side instantly back level, but his shot took a useful deflection which allowed Doyle to smother the ball. Barnett was remaining a handful for the visitors and headed a long throw over the bar.
McDonald opted to make his first change with 20 minutes remaining, as Liam Smith took the place of Potts. And Blackpool were celebrating soon after as their win was sealed with the crucial second goal.
Terrific, powerful running from Cullen saw the striker steam down the right and he cut back for Blyth, who steadied himself, before blasting home the second beyond Bentley.
The home side comfortably saw out the victory from that point, which was just rewards for another terrific defensive display – a clean sheet and three points.
Full-Time: Blackpool 2 Southend 0