REPORT | Wanderers 1 Blackpool 0

George Thomason celebration Blackpool

A stunning strike from George Thomason sent Wanderers into their break from League One action on the crest of a wave as they overcame the Seasiders to make it six wins in a row, writes Pete Oliver.

Thomason nearly ripped the net of its moorings with the only goal 16 minutes from the end of a pulsating game as the Whites’ further underlined their promotion credentials.

Ian Evatt’s men will head into the international hiatus – following their mid-week EFL Trophy trip to Stockport County – still one place outside the automatic promotion places.

But that is only on goal difference with top spot only a point away and this felt a significant victory against Evatt’s former club as Blackpool seek an instant return to the Championship.

The two sides produced a top-quality contest in front of a fantastic crowd and, fittingly, it was decided by a goal right out the top drawer.

Thomason goal Blackpool

Thomason, released by Blackpool before Wanderers brought him out of non-league football, produced another outstanding 90 minutes and scored the best goal of his career – and his second of the season – to deservedly settle the issue in Wanderers’ favour with the strike that made in nine wins from the last 10 games in all competitions.

On the back of their fourth successive league win in mid-week, Wanderers were unchanged for a first home meeting with the Seasider for four years as Gethin Jones shook off a knock to continue in a back line that had kept three clean sheets on the spin.

That record came under threat early on as Karamoko Dembele collected a knock-down to send a skidding drive against the outside of a post.

But in a cagey first half it was Wanderers who made most of the running without being able to open up the visitors’ defence sufficiently to create a clear sight of goal in the opening half-hour.

Thomason subs celebration

That changed just before the break, though, as the Whites cranked up the pressure and twice almost went in front.

Randell Williams was involved on both occasions as, first, the wing-back sent a curling free-kick from 25 yards against the woodwork.

And when he then cut in from the opposite side, his low shot was spilled by Daniel Grimshaw for Dion Charles to pounce and force the ball across the face of goal where it just eluded strike partner Victor Adeboyejo.

Wanderers maintained the momentum after the break with a couple of half-chances on the counter-attack for Adeboyejo and the non-stop Charles.

And with 53 minutes gone the best opportunity yet came for Charles after Josh Sheehan and Thomason turned defence into attack to release the top scorer who tested Daniel Grimshaw with a decent strike the Seasiders’ keeper turned wide of the target.

There wasn’t much in it, though, and Blackpool went close when Matt Pennington headed a corner over the top before Charles glanced a header at Grimshaw following another Thomason delivery as both sides sensed the importance of the opening goal as a gripping contest went into its final half-hour.

Thomason celebration Blackpool

Adeboyejo almost connected with a superb cross from Williams from his final piece of action before making way for Jon Dadi Bodvarsson as Wanderers tried to force the breakthrough from their best spell of the game.

Paris Maghoma was next to go close as he lifted an effort just over the top after being picked out once more by the immaculate Sheehan, before he was replaced by the fresh legs of Aaron Morley.

And with just over a quarter of an hour to go Wanderers’ growing dominance finally paid off in breath-taking style.

Bodvarsson again held the ball up well and when he played it square for Thomason, the former Blackpool junior thumped an unstoppable first-time strike into the roof of the net from 22 yards out.

It was a goal worthy of winning any game and particularly one of this magnitude as Wanderers then showed admirable control to complete another shut-out and maintain the momentum of a campaign which continues to gather pace on all fronts.

Wanderers: Baxter; Jones, Almeida Santos, Toal; Sheehan; Dacres-Cogley, Maghoma (Morley 73), Williams; Charles (Nlundulu 87), Adeboyejo (Bodvarsson 65). Substitutes: Coleman, Iredale, Mendes Gomes, Jerome.

Booked: Sheehan, Maghoma, Baxter, Dacres-Cogley, Almeida Santos

Blackpool: Grimshaw; Pennington, Ekpiteta, Husband; Hamilton, Morgan (Kouassi 87), Norburn, Thompson (Joseph 80); Dembele (Dale 74), Carey; Rhodes. Substitutes: O’Donnell, Connolly, Weir, Oakley-Boothe.

Booked: Thompson

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 24,238 (4,171).

Read Time: 4 mins