Blackpool dominant in Lancashire Derby
The final scheduled home game of the season saw a Lancashire derby grace Bloomfield Road, as Blackpool looked to try and extend their season into May. With visitors Burnley not threatening the relegation battle, or anywhere near the playoff charge, the Clarets arrived at the Seaside with the sole intention of stopping the Blackpool charge as the Tangerines looked to rubber stamp their place in the playoffs for the second time in three years.
Stephen Dobbie returned to the Blackpool side after missing the Leeds game in midweek with a back problem, while Kevin Phillips recovered from his season threatening hip injury to take his place on the bench as Blackpool went with no backup goalkeeper to accommodate three strikers among the replacements. Burnley named an unchanged line-up from the Tuesday night draw with Leicester, with captain Chris McCann shaking off a calf knock to take his place in a five man midfield.
Blackpool started the brighter, and had what looked like a cast iron penalty turned down inside the first minute when Stephen Dobbie`s shot from the edge of the penalty area looked to have cannoned off Dean Marney`s arm, but to the astonishment of the screaming masses behind the goal in the South Stand, referee Sarginson waved away the appeals, pointing for a corner. Dobbie and then Tom Ince tried their luck from distance but were both denied by Burnley keeper Lee Grant.
Pool didn`t have to wait long for their opening goal, as in the 20th minute, a free kick was rolled square for Dobbie to fire from over 30 yards, and his low, skidding effort beat Grant and nestled sweetly in the corner to set Blackpool on their way towards the all important three points.
Burnley, however, were keen to rip up the script as McCann and former Blackpool target Charlie Austin coming close with headers, the latter nodding straight at Matt Gilks when well placed, with the deliveries from wide-men Junior Stanislas and ex-Preston star Ross Wallace causing problems for the Seasiders` centre half pairing of Evatt and Baptiste.
Pool could perhaps count themselves slightly fortunate to be leading at the break, but any doubts about the outcome of the result were settled early in the second half, as Crainey charged forward down the left before whipping in an inch perfect cross. Gary Taylor-Fletcher rose majestically at the back post to power a header across Grant and, despite the best efforts of David Edgar on the line, into the goal, though it needed the approval of the eagle-eyed linesman.
The home side sensed that their Lancashire neighbours were there for the taking, but even the most optimistic Blackpool fan couldn`t have predicted the producer of their third goal. Crainey made another run forward and met a Dobbie through ball just before the lively Ince, and rather than look square, lifted an ambitious lob towards goal. Grant should havegathered it comfortably, but in attempting to make a save for the cameras allowed the ball to slip through his fingers and into the net to the delight of the Seasiders in the North Stand behind him.
An array of changes saw Dicko, Sylvestre and Kevin Phillips join the action, and it was the 38 year old`s first touch which set Blackpool rolling for the fourth and final goal. His precise pass released Ince on the left, and he took advantage of a defence appealing for what looked a certain offside to drive towards goal before squaring for Frenchman Dicko to slide home the third goal of his loan spell to seal an eventually dominant win, and no-one could begrudge the Seasiders their three points or their place in the playoffs after dismantling their rivals in the second half.