Report: Blackpool 3 Leyton Orient 1
Blackpool secured their place in the SkyBet League Two play-offs with a comfortable 3-1 home victory against Leyton Orient.
Blackpool end the season in seventh place as goals from Neil Danns, Mark Cullen and Andy Taylor secured all three points.
The deadlock was broken as Danns rose highest to meet a Jack Payne cross and head into the top corner. Cullen doubled soon after with a rifling daisy-cutter from 20 yards.
Jens Janse gave Blackpool a scare as the Dutchman pulled a goal back for Orient, but Andy Taylor made sure of victory with over 20 minutes to go.
It was Vassell who was to have the game’s first chance with Cullen slotting through his strike partner early on. Blackpool’s top scorer, however, shot straight at Sam Sargeant in the Orient goal from his weaker right-side.
The visitors were ending their 112-year stay in the EFL at Bloomfield Road, with their fifth manager of the season Omer Riza fielding a young side, featuring five teenagers, as they looked towards the future.
Orient’s inexperienced side struggled to get out of their own half in the early stages, though, and Pool made the breakthrough 12 minutes in. Midfielder Payne whipped in a beautiful cross from the right and up rose Danns to meet the ball with a stunning header into the top corner.
Cullen and Potts looked to make it two shortly after, but they both fired their 20-yard efforts just over the bar as The Seasiders dominated the early play.
Orient first broke forward with just under 30 minutes on the clock as Sandro Semedo curled a left-footed cross into the area, but it was calmly dealt with by Pool’s defence.
Cullen finally did make it two with 10 minutes left to play in the first-half. Taylor passed inside to the striker, who took it in his stride. He then let fly and found the net with a low 20-yard strike into the bottom corner of the Orient goal to score his ninth of the season.
Riza’s side had their first shot on target just minutes before the break. Callum Kennedy’s sweetly-struck free-kick troubled Sam Slocombe, but Pool’s goalkeeper did well to stop the ball nestling into the top corner.
It should have been three-nil before the whistle was blown, in truth, but Aldred somehow hit wide from three yards out following a corner. It didn’t take any gloss off a comfortable first-half performance from Pool, however.
Half-Time score: Blackpool 2 Leyton Orient 0
Blackpool looked to secure the three points early on after the interval through Potts, though his effort was smothered by 19-year-old Sargeant in the Orient goal and subsequently cleared by fellow teenager Michael Clark.
Against the run of play, five minutes into the half, the visitors pulled a goal back. Janse found space in behind Taylor and ran clear through on goal to slot confidently past Slocombe and give the boisterous visiting fans something to cheer.
Potts looked to reply quickly after latching onto a Vassell cross, but the midfielder couldn’t find the target from 12 yards.
The skipper, Taylor, did just that on 65 minutes, taking matters into his own hands by bursting into the opposing area and slamming home Blackpool’s third of the afternoon with his left-foot.
Vassell, desperate to get in on the act, looked to follow Taylor and score a left-footed strike of his own from a similar position, though he was just wide of the mark in his efforts.
There were two more chances for Vassell late on in a bid to get back on the scoresheet but Orient’s young goalkeeper proved difficult to pass.
Full-time score: Blackpool 3 Leyton Orient 1
By Peter McCarthy