Report: Doncaster 0 Blackpool 1
Mark Cullen’s deflected strike three minutes from time gave Blackpool an invaluable victory against relegation rivals Doncaster Rovers to keep their survival hopes well and truly alive.
The striker chose the perfect moment to score his first goal of 2016, latching onto Liam Smith’s pass before releasing a thunderous effort which took a touch and looped home.
The victory keeps The Seasiders above the crucial dotted line and moves them five points clear of their hosts, who’d earlier hit the crossbar with the game balance.
The Seasiders put in a perfect away performance however, despite a host of first-half chances going begging, as they left it late to give themselves hope at the bottom of League One.
Blackpool had started brightly at the Keepmoat Stadium and a better connection from Cullen on the volley could have put them ahead, but instead it was a simple take for Remi Matthews.
Doncaster may have been dominating the early possession, but it was the visitors asking the questions in front of goal. Clark Robertson was next to threaten, heading wide from Jim McAlister’s free-kick.
The first chance the hosts conjured up fell to Harry Middleton, but the midfielder’s volley bounced harmlessly wide of Colin Doyle’s goal.
It was when the clock turned to 20 minutes when the first real chance arrived, a clever flick from Cullen freed Danny Philliskirk, but the striker’s effort was kept out by a brilliant Matthews save, before the rebound was smothered.
Blackpool were continuing to threaten and Brad Potts dragged a shot wide, before he watched a terrific Cullen cross evade him at the back post.
The next sighting of goal Cullen backed himself, but after taking the ball onto his left foot, found Matthews a match for his effort, as he flew across goal to make the save.
A minute before the break Doncaster’s top scorer Andy Williams found a yard of space but curled his strike narrowly wide, there was still time for drama at either end however.
First Blackpool got away with an almighty scramble in their own six-yard box, before hitting their hosts on the counter, as Cullen took Potts’ ball in his stride but was denied by Matthews.
Half-Time: Doncaster 0 Blackpool 0
After the break both teams were fighting for every ball, while creating little in the way of chances – Gary McSheffrey rolling the best of them into the grateful arms of Doyle.
That kicked Blackpool into life and after Matthews had failed to deal with Luke Higham’s free-kick, Norris spotted the keeper off his line and looped a header over him, only to be denied by Craig Alcock on the line.
From that moment Pool made their first change, replacing McAlister with Bright Osayi-Samuel. Soon after Rovers came within inches of taking the lead, as Tommy Rowe's terrific effort from range cannoned back off the underside of the bar, with Doyle getting the slightest of touches.
With ten minutes left on the clock Jacob Blyth made way for Martin Paterson and the striker quickly got into the thick of the action, with his prodded effort deflecting wide.
As time began to run out, McDonald threw Smith on in place of David Norris and the substitution paid dividends three minutes from the end.
The midfielder added a calming influence to Pool’s midfield and put a sumptuous pass through to Cullen, and the striker took it in his stride before lashing at goal, with his effort taking a massive deflection before looping home.
From there the visitors saw out the victory without any scares and gave themselves a massive boost in the battle to avoid the drop.
Full-Time: Doncaster 0 Blackpool 1