Report: Blackpool 1 Albion 1Ashley Barnes ended Albion’s frustration in front of goal, but it was honours even at Bloomfield Road as Elliot Grandin’s header secured a share of the spoils for Blackpool.
Gus Poyet’s side had to weather an early storm from the Tangerines who put the Seagulls under intense pressure, but unlike the early stages of their midweek trip to Leicester, Albion’s defence remained defiant.
Tom Ince created the home side’s first effort inside five minutes when he skipped past Adam El-Abd down the right, but his weak shot was parried by Tomasz Kuszczak, before the Polish stopper blocked Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s follow-up.
From the following corner Taylor-Fletcher rose highest, but his glancing header dropped narrowly wide of the Albion goal.
Isaiah Osbourne also had two efforts inside the opening ten minutes; one effort blazed wide and the other was well blocked by a scrambling El-Abd.
Albion seemed to lack an attacking spark during the opening 45 minutes, but Andrew Crofts did create a chance for himself by bringing down an aerial ball on the edge of the area, before volleying wide.
Tangerines defender Alex Baptiste tried his luck from distance on the brink of half-time, but his 25-yarder fizzed over Kuszcak’s crossbar.
The ever-dangerous Ince caused the Seagulls more problems after the break and he lured El-Abd into a mistimed tackle; Matt Phillips stepped up in a dangerous area but the wall did its job and deflected the ball out for a corner.
But on 56 minutes came the breakthrough for the Seagulls as a three-game drought finally came to an end when Barnes took advantage of a mix-up at the back for Blackpool, and stabbed the ball into an empty net.
Albion’s opener sparked the home side into action once again and within minutes Ince steered the ball over the crossbar from six yards.
Blackpool’s leveller finally arrived in the 72nd minute: Phillips delivered a pin-point cross from the right which picked out Grandin in space and the striker found the bottom left corner with a diving header.
Now buoyed by the crowd, Blackpool sensed victory and a flurry of chances ensued in quick succession.
Kuszczak made a stunning save diving high to his left to tip Grandin’s effort past his left post and, from the resulting corner, Ian Evatt headed the ball over the cross bar from close range.
As the game became stretched Seagulls remained a threat on the break; Buckley strode clear of the Blackpool defence down the right before crossing the ball from the by-line and Craig Mackail-Smith went for another acrobatic scissor kick but his effort was tipped over the bar by Gilks.
With two minutes remaining Kuszczak was called upon to make another vital stop, this time getting down low to save Angel Martinez’s shot that he could only have seen late.
There was still time for one more chance for Albion to nick the winner in injury time as Buckley once again escaped on the right, but although his low cross found Andrea Orlandi, the substitute couldn’t get enough power on his shot and Gilks saved with ease.