Port Vale 2 Blackpool 1

Last updated : 12 September 2006 By seasiders.mad

After a slow start which saw few clear-cut chances, the visitors almost took the lead when Andy Morrell's cross hit the back of George Pilkington and nearly caught Mark Goodlad on the back foot.

However, Vale looked the more likely to score and Jeff Smith's left-footed 25-yard free-kick forced a tremendous full-stretch save by Rhys Evans.

The Seasiders upped their game as half-time approached but still found themselves shooting from range with Wes Hoolahan testing Goodlad with a powerful low drive in the 35th minute.

The home side scored a minute before the break when a delicate floated cross by Danny Sonner was met by Leon Constantine who put the ball into Evans' top left corner.

Danny Whitaker seemed to be relishing his newly appointed central midfield role but failed to capitalise on Akpo Sodje's 52nd minute cross when his header was denied by a sprawling Evans save.

Blackpool went in search of an equaliser seconds later when Hoolahan's long hanging cross found Shaun Barker leaping in the centre but Goodlad was on hand once more to parry the defender's header.

Martin Foyle's men doubled their lead in the 68th minute when Barker gifted Sodje too much room 20 yards from goal which he fully exploited, firing the ball into Evans' bottom right corner.

To their credit, the visitors continued to plug away and should have had a goal for their efforts when Morrell found space in front of goal but his shot was thumped straight at the goalkeeper, allowing him to push the ball away.

They finally scored a consolation goal in stoppage time when Simon Gillett's corner was finished by Keith Southern with a powerful header.