Report: Rochdale 3 Blackpool 0
Blackpool’s hopes of surviving the trap door suffered another blow at Spotland, as Rochdale hit them for three on a dreadful afternoon for Neil McDonald’s men.
With sloppy defending the theme, Dale kept their feint play-off hopes alive, never looking back once Ashley Eastham had put them in front on the stroke of half-time.
Joe Bunney all but killed it as a contest, smashing home after a corner wasn’t dealt with, before Nathaniel Mendez-Laing skipped through to complete the scoring.
It was a desperate afternoon for Blackpool, who left Josh Lillis in the home goal almost untested, despite the visitors ending the game with four strikers on the pitch.
A scruffy opening matched the 90 minutes to follow, with no real quality on show. In fact, it took 15 minutes for anyone to get a shot away and Mark Cullen miscued his volley when it came about, latching onto a flick from a Rochdale head.
The striker was proving a nuisance to the home side early on, but once he skipped past Oliver Lancashire, Cullen’s final ball let him down, with Jacob Blyth sniffing around the six-yard box.
While Dale were beginning to turn screw as the game surpassed the 30-minute mark, all they had to show for it was a wayward volley from skipper Jamie Allen, which flew over the Pool bar.
Following that opening, Pool pieced together their best chance of the half, with Cullen feeding Blyth, who fired across goal and narrowly wide with his left foot.
Pool were looking a threat when they did gain possession of the ball and Brad Potts was left disappointed when his effort cannoned back off a defender.
Five minutes before the break a Jim McAlister corner found Potts, whose header drifted over the bar. And The Seasiders were made to pay for that miss when Rochdale took the lead on the stroke of half-time.
Donal McDermott’s in swinging free-kick took a nick off Eastham, which bamboozled Blackpool and took the cross into the top corner.
Half-Time: Rochdale 1 Blackpool 0
After the break Rochdale continued to press and it took a brilliant save from Colin Doyle to keep out McDermott’s swerving effort, but it was only a reprieve.
The second goal came from another set piece and, after Eatsham’s header was kept out by Doyle, Blackpool didn’t deal with the second phase and Bunney was allowed to smash home the decisive goal.
That goal prompted McDonald to bring on Jack Redshaw, who took the place of David Norris. The change made little difference however and Rochdale continued to add to their lead.
Mendez-Laing had already blown a fine opening to make it three, before he capitalised on more poor Blackpool defending to skip through and roll beyond Doyle.
From there it was game over and Cullen couldn’t lift the disappointment when he headed a glorious chance at Lillis, after good work from Blyth.
Instead Doyle remained the busier stopper, plucking a curling strike from Mendez-Laing out of the air. This came after Martin Paterson and Liam Smith had taken to the field in place of Danny Philliskirk and Potts.
Dale kept coming in the closing stages, with Pool looking a beaten side, and substitute Grant Holt watched his volley take a nick on its way wide of Doyle’s right-hand post, as the home side comfortably saw out their win.
Full-Time: Rochdale 3 Blackpool 0