A 94th minute penalty save from goalkeeper Mark Oxley denied Blackpool a point and secured a 2-1 victory for Southend United in the process at Roots Hall.
Late drama saw Jimmy Ryan step up from the spot in added time for The Seasiders, however Oxley guessed correctly to preserve all three points for Phil Brown’s side.
Had Blackpool found the net, it would have capped off an admirable comeback, but in the end goals conceded at the starts of the first and second half proved costly.
Manager Gary Bowyer made just the one change to his side, with Nathan Delfouneso replacing Callum Cooke for the encounter.
Blackpool found themselves on the back foot instantly and conceded inside five minutes. A cheap corner conceded by Curtis Tilt proved costly, as Anthony Wordsworth fired in at the near post.
The Seasiders, aiming to quickly find their rhythm, had an opportunity to level moments later, yet Tilt could only head a great delivery from Jimmy Ryan back across goal.
Viv Solomon-Otabor did put the ball in the net prior to the 20-minute mark, though Kyle Vassell had been flagged for offside in the build-up.
Starting to get more of a foothold in the game, Sessi D’Almeida came close with a looping header that landed on the roof of the net.
Kyle Vassell then head Blackpool’s best chance in the 29th minute, with his powerful drive tipped on to the post by Southend goalkeeper Mark Oxley.
Sean Longstaff was next to test the ‘keeper, though Oxley was once again well positioned, this time to tip the ball over the bar.
Simon Cox had a good chance to double Southend’s advantage when he went clear down the right, however Ryan Allsop saved his strike and Curtis Tilt quickly cleared the loose ball away.
Half-Time: Southend United 1 Blackpool 0
The start to the second-half was a costly one for The Seasiders, who fell further behind almost instantly. A weak defensive header from Tilt was pounced upon by Simon Cox and the striker made no mistake in finding the net.
Ollie Turton fashioned out a great opportunity with a one-two minutes later, yet the right-back was just off target with his strike. Blackpool appealed for a penalty, with Turton caught late while shooting, but the referee disagreed.
A tactical change saw Will Aimson replace Viv Solomon-Otabor on 54 minutes and Blackpool switch to a 3-5-2 formation.
The change meant that Nathan Delfouneso went up top with Kyle Vassell, though it was the latter who quickly pulled a goal back for The Seasiders. The forward latched on to a long ball from Jimmy Ryan and rounded the ‘keeper before finding the net.
Blackpool were suddenly stretching the Southend defence a bit more and opted to introduce Callum Cooke as a substitute for Sessi D’Almeida in the 70th minute.
Cooke almost had an instant impact when a timely slip allowed him space inside the Southend box, though his cut-back was blocked by a defender. Jimmy Ryan was then unable to lift a free-kick over the wall moments later.
Another free-kick opportunity quickly came about when Colin Daniel was upended outside the area. Kyle Vassell took this one but fired over.
Southend’s Marc-Antoine Fortune saw a drilled effort saved by Allsop, before Clark Robertson came close to an equaliser at the other end. The defender’s header was pushed round the post by Oxley, though.
Curtis Tilt almost made amends with a back post header but Jason Demetriou was positioned well on the line to knock the ball clear.
Blackpool continued to push and kept bodies forward for five minutes of added time. Referee John Brooks pointed to the spot with a minute of injury time to play and awarded a penalty. Unfortunately skipper Jimmy Ryan couldn’t beat Oxley, though.
Full-Time: Southend United 2 Blackpool 1