Barnsley 1 Blackpool 3: Phillips scores hat-trick to keep Holloway”s men in touch with the play-offs
Matt Phillips fired a superb hat-trick to send Barnsley spinning to a third straight npower Championship defeat and lift his own side to within one place of the play-offs.
Phillips cancelled out Matty Done”s 18th-minute opener for Barnsley with a thumping low drive shortly before half-time, cracked in an even better effort midway through the second period and made sure of the points with a late penalty.
They were Phillips” first goals for the Seasiders since the 20-year-old winger returned from a productive loan spell at Sheffield United in early November, while Ian Holloway”s side, who have lost only one of their last nine matches, climbed to within a point of sixth-placed Reading.
Hat-trick hero: Matt Phillips celebrates with Ludovic Sylvestre as Blackpool win at Barnsley
Barnsley: Steele, Wiseman, Edwards, McNulty, McEveley, O”Brien (Gray 62), Butterfield, Perkins, Vaz Te (Haynes 75), Davies, Done.
Subs Not Used: Preece, Hassell, Foster.
Goals: Done 18.
Blackpool: Howard, Baptiste, Cathcart, Evatt, Crainey, Matt Phillips, Ferguson, Sylvestre, Taylor-Fletcher (Basham 86), LuaLua (Grandin 63), McManaman (Ince 71).
Subs Not Used: Eardley, Kevin Phillips.
Goals: Matt Phillips 37,67,82 pen.
Referee: Colin Webster
Barnsley were looking up at the top six themselves three weeks ago after four straight league wins, but have followed that run up with three successive defeats and have slipped back to 15th place in the table.
Midfield pair Done and Jim O”Brien returned for Barnsley, while Alex Baptiste was recalled at right-back for Blackpool and goalkeeper Mark Howard made his debut in place of the injured Matt Gilks.
Barnsley striker Ricardo Vaz Te, scorer of the quickest ever goal at Oakwell – nine seconds – in the recent home win over Crystal Palace, was first to the trigger again in the fifth minute, but his goalbound effort from outside the penalty area was blocked by Blackpool defender Craig Cathcart.
Blackpool midfielder Ludovic Sylvestre could not keep his 25-yard shot down and Vaz Te dragged an angled drive wide before Barnsley took the lead through Done in the 18th minute.
O”Brien crossed from the right and the former Rochdale winger steered the ball home neatly from six yards.
Cool finish: Phillips scores his third
The Seasiders began to enjoy a greater share of possession after the half-hour mark and deservedly equalised when Phillips lashed home his first goal since returning from a productive loan spell at Sheffield United, low into the bottom corner, from outside the area.
Both sides picked up where they left off in the first period and it was end-to-end Boxing Day action.
Baptiste, Lomana LuaLua and Phillips all went close for Blackpool before Howard saved in fine style twice in as many minutes to keep out a shot from Barnsley striker Craig Davies and another from Vaz Te.
All together now: Blackpool”s players celebrate with Phillips
But it was the visitors who made the crucial breakthrough in the 67th minute. The marauding Phillips cut in from the left wing after collecting Sylvestre”s pass and arrowed a superb low shot into the bottom corner from 30 yards.
Barnsley were clearly rocked, but refused to throw in the towel as first defender Jay McEveley and then Jacob Butterfield fired in shots on target from outside the area.
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But with a salvage mission still possible, the Tykes were sent spinning when defender Scott Wiseman was adjudged to have fouled opposing full-back Stephen Crainey in the area and Phillips strode up to place the subsequent spot kick into the bottom corner in the 82nd minute.
Phillips squandered a great chance for a fourth goal in time added on, but ballooned his 12-yard effort over the crossbar.