Report: Blackpool 3 Portsmouth 1
Blackpool produced a fine performance to take three points from Portsmouth thanks to goals from Kelvin Mellor, Brad Potts and Kyle Vassell.
Pool's first came just less than twenty minutes in, with Mellor nodding home from Jack Payne’s brilliant free-kick.
The visitors levelled through Conor Chaplin, but Pool were back in front thanks to the opportunist Potts, who comfortably netted after Pompey’s goalkeeper parried a sweeping Vassell shot into his path.
Vassell rounded off the fine display himself, rushing through and curling home to ensure all three points stayed at Bloomfield Road.
Both sides exchanged spells of possession in the first half, but it was the visitors who managed to muster the first meaningful efforts on goal. Just eight minutes in, Portsmouth had a left-footed strike flash just wide of the Pool goal not once, but twice, with Kal Naismith and Carl Baker both going close.
However, it was Blackpool who made their good play count first. A deep set-piece from Payne caused confusion in the Pompey defence, which allowed Mellor to nod the ball past a stranded David Forde.
Both teams continued to share spells of the game. Enda Stevens went close after he found space in the Blackpool box and fizzed a ball across the face of goal, but was cleared brilliantly by the sliding Clark Robertson for a corner.
From the following set-piece, Gary Bowyer’s men broke quickly and effectively. Lead by Kyle Vassell, some fantastic hold-up play from the striker was followed by a strong and determined solo run and a left-footed strike from 20 yards which was unlucky to only find the outside of the post.
Moments later, however, Portsmouth finally made their possession come to fruition and equalised through a spectacular Chaplin overhead kick which sailed over Dean Lyness. The goal came from a skilful run by Pompey’s Gary Roberts, who continued to be a thorn in Blackpool’s side throughout the game.
Half-Time: Blackpool 1 Portsmouth 1
The Seasiders started the second-half well and with just minutes on the clock, they took the lead for the second time. Armand Gnanduillet broke through the heart of Paul Cook’s side and slipped in an overlapping Vassell on the left. His shot across goal had plenty of zip and could only be parried to the lurking Potts, who was happy to tap home from three yards out.
With just over an hour gone, Blackpool made it three. After an onslaught of possession from the visitors, Pool pressed hard to win the ball back and Vassell did just that. The striker smelt blood and dispossessed a nervous Davies just into the Portsmouth half. This led to a clear run through to Forde’s goal and, when he got there, Vassell calmly bent the ball past goalkeeper to give Blackpool a much needed two-goal cushion.
Moments just after, Vassell almost made it four. The in-form striker headed headed inches over from Andy Taylor’s cross from the left-hand side.
Bowyer and Vassell will feel hard-done-by after, again. The striker broke free and his following collision with Forde was deemed not to be a penalty by referee David Webb, despite his assistant ferociously waving his flag for the decision.
The referee’s overruling won’t take any gloss from a fine Pool performance, however. In the end, it was a comfortable victory for The Seasiders against a Portsmouth side that were sitting second in the league before the game.
Full-Time: Blackpool 3 Portsmouth 1