Report: Blackpool 0 Albion 1
Inigo Calderon’s first-half strike earned Albion their first win at Bloomfield Road since 2000.
The Seagulls could have come away with a bigger win, having struck the woodwork twice, although a fine late save from Tomasz Kuszczak denied the hosts what would have been an undeserved point.
A well worked free-kick brought about the first opening as Leo Ulloa fired over from Will Buckley’s pacey low delivery, although the Argentinean came a lot closer on 23 minutes, curling a beautiful effort off the post. .
Oscar Garcia’s men were enjoying the lion’s share of possession, were having a greater control over the game and came close again when Buckley’s ball across the face of goal just evaded Ashley Barnes.
Blackpool’s best effort came through Dan Gosling’s attempted lob that dropped safely over, before Tom Ince attempted an audacious overhead kick that was horribly miscued.
Albion had been the better of the two sides during the half and received their just rewards when Calderon marauded forward, beat two defenders and got the better of keeper Matthew Gilks with a left-footed strike.
In a fraught second half, both sides streamed forward at every opportunity, however with 20 minutes gone neither side had managed to carve out a clear opportunity.
Yet regardless of the minimal shots on goal, the game was highly entertaining and Buckley may have made it two had Gary Mackenzie not brought the winger down; the defender entering the book for his discretion.
Kazenga LuaLua entered the fray in place of Ulloa and the winger tried his luck with a low drive that Gilks got behind, and the keeper also did well to deny the rampaging Buckley’s attempted flick over him.
Former Scotland captain Barry Ferguson saw a free-kick deflected wide and in the 83rd minute the midfielder turned provider only for Chris Basham’s header to be superbly beaten away from point-blank range by Kuszczak.
An excellent counter-attack from Albion almost killed off the game in the closing stages, with Barnes’s effort dropping just wide, and LuaLua came even closer as Gilks tipped his fierce drive onto the base of the post.
Following the frustration of the Charlton result on Boxing Day, Albion made the perfect response and end 2013 with the play-offs in sight.