BLACKPOOL 3 POMPEY 1
Pompey’s poor away form continued as they slipped to a 3-1 defeat at Blackpool.
Just three days after their Fratton Park rout of Barnet, it was back down to earth with a bump.
They recovered from falling behind to Kelvin Mellor’s header, thanks to an impressive Conor Chaplin leveller.
But some sloppy second half defending allowed Brad Potts and Kyle Vassell to secure all three points for the Tangerines.
Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that beat the Bees so emphatically at the weekend.
It was Pompey who made the brighter start in a game that was played out amidst an eerily-quiet atmosphere at a sparsely-populated Bloomfield Road.
Enda Stevens delivered a dangerous low cross that Dean Lyness did well to gather in the opening stages.
Gary Roberts then just failed to meet a Carl Baker delivery, while Michael Doyle’s drive was deflected safely into the arms of the Tangerines keeper.
There were also long-range attempts from Kal Naismith and Baker that both narrowly failed to find their intended target.
So it came as a surprise when Blackpool forged ahead against the run of play on 18 minutes.
David Forde charged from his line to meet Jack Payne's free-kick, but Mellor got there first to head into the unguarded net.
The goal seemed to shake the Blues, who suddenly became sloppy in possession and looked increasingly susceptible on the counter-attack.
One good move saw them win a corner, only for Blackpool to break straight up the other end of the pitch and almost double their advantage, with Vassell’s effort clipping the outside of the post.
The powerful presence of Armand Gnanduillet was also causing problems and Doyle was forced to intervene when the striker got past both Christian Burgess and Tom Davies.
But then, for the second time in the first half, it was the team on the back foot that found the net.
And it was a goal worth the long journey up from the south coast, with CHAPLIN scoring in spectacular fashion on 34 minutes.
Naismith failed to connect with Roberts’ cross, but Danny Rose did and when his shot was blocked, the ball spun up invitingly for Pompey’s teenage striker to convert with an acrobatic over-head effort.
Blackpool did have a chance to restore their lead before the interval, only for Forde to get down to his left and keep out Potts’ drive.
Half Time: Blackpool 1 Pompey 1
Chaplin tried another ambitious attempt seconds after the restart, only this time the ball went out for a Blackpool throw.
It was closer when the visitors won a corner moments later, but Roberts’ delivery was just out of reach for Davies at the far post.
Instead they found themselves behind on 49 minutes, thanks to some more sloppy defending from the Blues.
Blackpool stole possession on the left and although Forde palmed out Vassell’s cross, the ball landed at the feet of Potts for a tap-in.
Pompey tried to find an instant response and Roberts flung himself at a Stevens cross, but could not quite squeeze his header past Lyness.
They went close again on 64 minutes when Baker was fouled 25 yards out and Naismith’s curling free-kick was deflected narrowly wide.
But the Blues then gifted their opponents another goal moments later after Doyle passed the back to Davies.
The centre-back was caught in possession by Vassell, who burst forward before slotting the ball past Forde.
And the same player almost added a fourth goal within seconds, but this time headed over the crossbar.
Cook immediately made his first substitution, with Baker making way for Kyle Bennett in Pompey’s attack.
And Michael Smith then replaced Stevens, as Pompey tried to force something by throwing on another striker.
There were half-chances for both as the seconds ticked down, with the former flashing a shot wide and the second forcing a save from Lyness.
But there was still time for late drama at the other end when Vassell skipped past Doyle and burst through on goal.
Forde charged from his line and appeared to take both ball and man, with the linesman flagging for a penalty, only to be overruled by referee David Webb.
The Blues breathed a sigh of relief, but there was no cause for any smiles as the issue of their contrasting home and away fortunes continued.
Blackpool (4-4-1-1): Lyness; Mellor, Aldred, Robertson (Aimson 46), Taylor (c); Potts (Cain 90+3), Payne, McAlister, Philliskirk; Vassell; Gnanduillet (Matt 76)
Goals: Mellor 18, Potts 49, Vassell 65
Subs not used: Boney, Yeates, Osayi-Samuel, Cullen
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, T.Davies, Burgess, Stevens (Smith 78); Rose, Doyle (c); Baker (Bennett 67), Roberts, Naismith; Chaplin (Main 84)
Goals: Chaplin 34
Booked: Bennett, Doyle
Subs not used: O’Brien, Clarke, Linganzi, Lalkovic
Referee: David Webb
Attendance: 3,055 (737 Pompey fans)