Report: Blackpool 3 Morecambe 1
Blackpool moved ahead of neighbours Morecambe in the battle for promotion with goals from Mark Cullen, Brad Potts and an own goal.
The first goal came early in the first-half as Cullen headed in an inviting Potts cross, before the midfielder himself doubled the lead after the interval.
Substitute Bright Osayi-Samuel came off the bench to secure the three points, watching his cross turned home by Ryan Edwards.
The visitors pulled one back right after Pool made it three, but Gary Bowyer’s men held on for a well-deserved win at Bloomfield Road.
Blackpool reverted to the 3-5-2 formation after recent weeks of a back four, with the returning Tom Aldred slotting back in the defence. Colin Daniel was providing the width on the left, and within minutes he was threatening in behind the Morecambe defence, but saw his cut-back cleared in the game’s first attack.
14 minutes in the game had its first goal and a rare start for Cullen was rewarded with his name on the scoresheet. An in-swinging cross from Potts with his left foot cleared The Shrimps' defenders and was nodded home by Blackpool’s number nine.
Potts then quickly went close himself, hitting a low shot at the visitors’ goal. Only a fine low save from Barry Roche prevented it from being two in as many minutes.
Again Potts was the architect as Pool continued to dominate. A one-two with scorer Cullen saw the midfielder drill the ball across the face of Roche’s goal, but there was no takers for Blackpool.
Daniel was next to force a save from the opposing goalkeeper after being threaded through by Cullen on the left, but the ball was parried away from danger.
The relentless Tangerine attack didn’t let up, with Potts again going close. With a storming run from midfield, then followed by a deft touch to beat his man, Potts ran through and struck just wide from a tight angle.
Morecambe had their best chance of the half with just under 10 minutes to go. Dean Lyness got down to superbly save a Paul Mullin shot following a set-piece. Then, brilliant defending from Clark Robertson denied Alex Whitmore from levelling at the back post.
Half-time score: Blackpool 1 Morecambe 0
Eight minutes after the interval, The Seasiders doubled their lead. After soaking up some pressure, Kelvin Mellor was played through on the break. He was to perfectly weight a through ball to the overlapping Potts. The lively midfielder took one look at the goalkeeper and lashed home comfortably to make it 2-0.
Jordan Flores almost put the game to bed when he caught Peter Murphy dawdling on the ball. His early shot from 20 yards wasn’t good enough to find the net, however.
Jim Bentley’s side began to attempt a comeback with 20 minutes left to play. Mullin went close at the near post after a whipping Rhys Turner cross, the touch was too light, however, and the ball just evaded veteran striker Kevin Ellison at the back.
Gary Bowyer changed his side to a 4-3-3 with Osayi-Samuel being introduced for Flores, as they tried to see out the game.
He almost immediately sent fellow substitute Armand Gnanduillet through on goal, but the big French striker fluffed his lines as the goalkeeper approached, and sliced it wide of the mark.
It wasn’t to matter, though, as the young winger created the third. Osayi-Samuel ran at his marker, and after a step-over or two later, looped the ball into the net via a massive deflection.
Antony Evans pulled a goal back for the Shrimps in quick-fire fashion following a goal mouth scramble, meaning a nervy last stretch was in for Pool.
Full-time result: Blackpool 3 Morecambe 1