Blackpool 3 Doncaster Rovers 1

Last updated : 30 December 2006 By The Seasider

The visitors had enjoyed a four-match winning run coming into this clash of the promotion hopefuls but that record is now matched by the Seasiders, who have cemented a place in the play-off zone for the first time in five years.

The first 76 minutes of the game were largely uneventful and a mudbath of a pitch, which cut up badly during the game due to the effects of heavy rain, was by and large the winner.

Blackpool enjoyed the better of the first half and should have taken the lead on 24 minutes when Andy Morrell found himself clean through on goal but his poor control allowed Adam Lockwood to nip in and clear the ball.

Doncaster regrouped after the break and played the better football in the early stages of the second half, although their front two of Mark McCammon and Paul Heffernan were closely shackled by a well-organised Blackpool defence.

That defensive solidity paid off in the 77th minute thanks to a moment of attacking brilliance.

Hoolahan, on a season-long loan from Livingston, turned James O'Connor inside out on the left flank and cut in to the byline before pulling a cross back for substitute Scott Vernon to fire home through a crowd and between the legs of young keeper Ben Smith for the opening goal.

Doncaster looked set to throw caution to the wind but they were caught out at the other end when Keigan Parker crossed for Shaun Barker to head home a second.

And one minute later, Blackpool made it three when Vernon justified boss Simon Grayson's decision to bring him off the bench by chasing down Smith on the byline before hitting a shot into the unguarded net from the narrowest of angles.

There was still time for Doncaster to pull one back with Heffernan tapping home from close range deep in injury-time.