Matt Phillips scored a hat-trick as Blackpool eased past non-league neighbours Fleetwood at Highbury.

Lomana LuaLua opened the scoring for the visitors midway through the first half before Phillips and Tom Ince extended the lead after the break.

Jamie Vardy, who was a thorn in Blackpool's side, scored in the 70th minute to give Fleetwood hope.

However, Phillips struck twice more to deny the Cod Army, who gave a good account of themselves.

Phillips's second hat-trick in four games shattered Blue Square Bet Premier Fleetwood's hopes of an upset.

This tie was billed as the Fylde Coast derby, with around seven miles of tram track separating the two clubs, while Fleetwood's manager Micky Mellon had spent three years of his playing career at Blackpool.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley is a Blackpool fan

But Blackpool never looked back once LuaLua latched on to a through ball from Bob Harris before chipping a delightful opener over keeper Scott Davies in the 24th minute.

Phillips, who has now scored seven in four games after returning from a loan spell at Sheffield United earlier this season, doubled the Championship club's lead in the 47th minute with a delightful curling effort.

Yet this was not the one-sided tie the scoreline suggests.

Stand-in Blackpool keeper Mark Howard produced fine stops to deny Vardy, Peter Till and Andrew Mangan.

Even after Phillips had doubled the lead Varney flashed a header on to the roof of the net.

But Ince swept home Blackpool's third from Neal Eardley's right-wing cross in the 55th minute before Varney was finally rewarded for his efforts when he finished low past Howard.

Phillips hit the post from long range in the 75th minute, but netted his second two minutes later after LuaLua's effort was blocked, then completed his hat-trick nine minutes from time.

Fleetwood manager Micky Mellon:

"Anyone who saw it would have to admit that out of six chances Blackpool have taken five and that is the difference between levels.

"Some of the football we played was absolutely superb but we got punished every time Blackpool went forward. Some of their finishing was absolutely top-drawer and we're not used to that at this level."

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway:

"People will be looking at Matt Phillips now but we've got him and if you're a top five club, come and try and offer a lot of money for him.

"Why not sit and play in a team instead of rotting in someone's reserves and never getting a look in?

"At the end of the day we've got in a situation where we don't have to sell anyone.

"That was probably the biggest banana skin I've had in my life and we've managed to come out in a no-win situation and play well.

"Thank God we had the quality of our finishing because that was one hell of a game of football."

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