Ashley Barnes scored twice on his return from a seven-game ban as Brighton destroyed Blackpool to move to within one victory of guaranteeing a place in the Championship play-offs.

Will Buckley's 20-yard strike and Matt Upson's shot put the hosts in control

And Andrea Orlandi's classy finish just before half-time made it 3-0.

David Lopez's deflected effort put the hosts 4-0 ahead and, although Dean Hammond scored an own goal, a Barnes brace sealed a stylish Brighton win.

Ramming home an advantage

Brighton and Blackpool are two of the three clubs who have not lost a Championship game this season in which they were leading. Nottingham Forest are the other club.

The win means the Seagulls are fourth in the table, four points clear of Leicester who are one place outside the top six with just two games to play.

But Blackpool, despite being 16th in the table, are only four points from the relegation zone with two matches left.

Brighton dominated from the outset and could have been ahead by the time Buckley cut in and curled a superb ninth-minute opener into the corner of the net.

Upson bundled home number two from six yards after Orlandi's fine cross was headed back across goal by Inigo Calderon.

And the game was as good as over by the interval when Orlandi played a wonderful one-two with Lopez and found the bottom corner with the outside of his foot.

The hosts began the second period in similar fashion and Lopez made it 4-0 within two minutes of the restart when his strike from the edge of the box deflected in after good work by Barnes.

Tom Ince had a couple of opportunities to get Blackpool on the scoresheet in the early stages of the second half but when their goal did come it was via the unfortunate Hammond, who turned a Matt Phillips cross into his own net.

Barnes, who was back in the side after his lengthy ban for tripping referee Nigel Miller in his side's 1-0 defeat to Bolton in March, took centre stage.

Substitute Kazenga LuaLua crossed for Barnes to tap in from close range for Brighton's fifth and the striker made it six in the 90th minute when he stroked the ball in from Orlandi's cross.

Brighton manager Gus Poyet:

"It's not done yet [winning a place in the play-offs] and we need to keep going. We will want to finish it next week at Leeds and not have it still undecided going into the final game.

"I was hoping when it was 3-0 at half-time that we wouldn't blow it and lose 4-3 because that could have been the end for us.

"But we are looking good. We have momentum at the right time of the season and are still looking fresh, so we have put ourselves in a really strong position."

Blackpool manager Paul Ince:

"When you come to places like Brighton you need to start well. We looked leggy and we looked tired from the first minute to the last, we couldn't cope with their pace and technique.

"I'm not the sort of person who will allow the season to fizzle out. Before today we had conceded seven goals in our last 11 games, so to concede six in one game is disappointing.

"But it means we can say it was just a bad day at the office. We have two more games to go, and we need to have a scotch, go to sleep and forget about it."

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (6)

Brighton

  • 29 Kuszczak (Ankergren - 64' )
  • 03 Greer Booked
  • 14 Calderon
  • 20 Upson
  • 28 Bridge (Bruno - 66' )
  • 04 Hammond
  • 11 Orlandi
  • 21 David Lopez
  • 26 Bridcutt
  • 30 Buckley (LuaLua - 72' )
  • 09 Barnes

Substitutes

  • 16 Ankergren
  • 02 Bruno
  • 06 El-Abd
  • 08 Crofts
  • 15 Vicente
  • 25 LuaLua
  • 19 Ulloa

Blackpool

  • 01 Gilks
  • 03 Crainey
  • 15 Baptiste
  • 17 Basham (Taylor-Fletcher - 46' )
  • 39 MacKenzie
  • 42 Broadfoot
  • 07 M Phillips (Eccleston - 89' )
  • 14 Sylvestre
  • 16 Ferguson
  • 11 Ince Booked
  • 40 Delfouneso

Substitutes

  • 21 Halstead
  • 05 Eardley
  • 20 Cathcart
  • 31 Angel
  • 12 Taylor-Fletcher (Derbyshire - 71' )
  • 38 Derbyshire
  • 41 Eccleston
Ref: Bates
Att: 28,499

Match Stats

Shots

15 7

On target

12 1

Corners

6 2

Fouls

4 3

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:27 Full time

Full Time The referee blows his whistle to end the game.

90:00 +1:27

Liam Bridcutt restarts play with the free kick.

90:00 +1:27 Booking

Booking The referee cautions Tom Ince for unsporting behaviour.

90:00 +1:20

Tom Ince concedes a free kick for a foul on Liam Bridcutt.

89:57

The ball is delivered by Andrea Orlandi,

89:50

Andrea Orlandi provided the assist for the goal.

89:50 Goal scored

Goal! - Ashley Barnes - Brighton 6 - 1 Blackpool Ashley Barnes finds the net with a goal from inside the six-yard box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Brighton 6-1 Blackpool.

88:22

Indirect free kick taken by Matt Gilks.

88:22 Substitution

Substitution Nathan Eccleston comes on in place of Matt Phillips.

88:22

Dean Hammond is caught offside.

86:53

Kazenga LuaLua produces a cross, Andrea Orlandi takes a shot. Gary MacKenzie gets a block in.

86:14

The ball is sent over by Matt Phillips.

84:22

Kazenga LuaLua takes a shot. Save made by Matt Gilks.

81:07

Tom Ince gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Liam Bridcutt. Direct free kick taken by Liam Bridcutt.

80:33

Shot from just outside the box by Tom Ince misses to the right of the goal.

78:39

Free kick awarded for a foul by Liam Bridcutt on Tom Ince. Tom Ince crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance by Gordon Greer.

75:20

The assist for the goal came from Kazenga LuaLua.

75:20 Goal scored

Goal! - Ashley Barnes - Brighton 5 - 1 Blackpool Ashley Barnes grabs a goal from close in to the top left corner of the goal. Brighton 5-1 Blackpool.

75:07

Corner taken short by Kazenga LuaLua,

74:54

Bruno Saltor crosses the ball, Alex Baptiste makes a clearance.

73:22

Liam Bridcutt has an effort at goal from 25 yards. Matt Gilks makes a save.

73:06

The ball is crossed by Kazenga LuaLua, clearance by Stephen Crainey.

71:17 Substitution

Substitution (Brighton) makes a substitution, with Kazenga LuaLua coming on for Will Buckley.

70:36 Substitution

Substitution Matt Derbyshire replaces Gary Taylor-Fletcher.

69:17

Effort on goal by Gary Taylor-Fletcher from long range goes over the bar.

68:47

The ball is delivered by Dean Hammond, save made by Matt Gilks.

65:53 Substitution

Substitution Wayne Bridge goes off and Bruno Saltor comes on.

63:36 Substitution

Substitution Casper Ankergren comes on in place of Tomasz Kuszczak.

61:02

The ball is swung over by Ludovic Sylvestre, save by Tomasz Kuszczak.

60:44

Corner from the right by-line taken by Tom Ince, Ashley Barnes makes a clearance.

60:25

Ludovic Sylvestre takes a shot. Save by Tomasz Kuszczak.

57:55

The official flags Andrea Orlandi offside. Matt Gilks takes the indirect free kick.

56:35

The ball is swung over by Stephen Crainey, Tomasz Kuszczak makes a save.

54:58

The ball is delivered by Tom Ince.

54:00

Centre by Andrea Orlandi.

52:54

A cross is delivered by Matt Phillips.

52:52

Matt Phillips provided the assist for the goal.

52:52 Goal scored

Goal! - Dean Hammond - Brighton 4 - 1 Blackpool Own goal by Dean Hammond. Brighton 4-1 Blackpool.

51:44

Shot from just outside the box by Matt Phillips misses to the right of the target.

50:18

Stephen Crainey crosses the ball, save by Tomasz Kuszczak.

48:17

Effort from outside the penalty box by Tom Ince goes wide right of the target.

47:27

A cross is delivered by Matt Phillips, blocked by Andrea Orlandi.

45:52

Assist on the goal came from Will Buckley.

45:52 Goal scored

Goal! - David Lopez - Brighton 4 - 0 Blackpool David Lopez grabs a goal from the edge of the area high into the middle of the goal. Brighton 4-0 Blackpool.

45:01

The referee gets the second half underway.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution Gary Taylor-Fletcher joins the action as a substitute, replacing Chris Basham.

45:00 +2:04 Half time

Half Time The half-time whistle blows.

44:19

Assist on the goal came from David Lopez.

44:19 Goal scored

Goal! - Andrea Orlandi - Brighton 3 - 0 Blackpool Andrea Orlandi fires in a goal from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Brighton 3-0 Blackpool.

43:50

Andrea Orlandi delivers the ball.

41:39

Ashley Barnes takes a shot. Save by Matt Gilks.

40:57

Alex Baptiste takes a shot. Wayne Bridge gets a block in.

38:46

Andrea Orlandi crosses the ball, clearance by Gary MacKenzie.

37:59

David Lopez sends in a cross, Header from close in by Ashley Barnes misses to the left of the goal.

33:31

Effort from the edge of the penalty area by Matt Phillips goes wide of the left-hand post.

30:10

The official flags Ashley Barnes offside. Free kick taken by Matt Gilks.

29:56

Corner from left by-line taken by Andrea Orlandi.

29:28

Andrea Orlandi decides to take a short corner, Shot by David Lopez. Save by Matt Gilks.

29:20

Andrea Orlandi produces a cross, blocked by Kirk Broadfoot.

26:47

A cross is delivered by Stephen Crainey, clearance by Liam Bridcutt.

25:10

Outswinging corner taken by Andrea Orlandi, Shot on goal by Inigo Calderon from just inside the area goes over the target.

24:51

Will Buckley sends in a cross, Kirk Broadfoot manages to make a clearance.

24:22

Foul by Liam Bridcutt on Ludovic Sylvestre, free kick awarded. Matt Gilks restarts play with the free kick.

23:58

Stephen Crainey challenges Will Buckley unfairly and gives away a free kick. Liam Bridcutt restarts play with the free kick.

22:18

The assist for the goal came from Inigo Calderon.

22:18 Goal scored

Goal! - Matthew Upson - Brighton 2 - 0 Blackpool Matthew Upson gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the six-yard box high into the middle of the goal. Brighton 2-0 Blackpool.

21:59

Corner taken left-footed by Andrea Orlandi.

21:37

Centre by Dean Hammond, Kirk Broadfoot manages to make a clearance.

20:13

The ball is crossed by Alex Baptiste, Wayne Bridge gets a block in.

19:22

Alex Baptiste produces a cross, Andrea Orlandi gets a block in.

18:59

The ball is sent over by Chris Basham, Liam Bridcutt makes a clearance.

16:34

Unfair challenge on Tom Ince by Inigo Calderon results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Gary MacKenzie.

15:28

A cross is delivered by Matt Phillips, Tomasz Kuszczak makes a save.

14:33

Centre by Inigo Calderon.

12:34

The ball is delivered by Alex Baptiste, Tomasz Kuszczak makes a save.

9:28

Corner taken left-footed by Tom Ince to the near post, clearance made by Andrea Orlandi.

8:10

Assist on the goal came from Ashley Barnes.

8:10 Goal scored

Goal! - Will Buckley - Brighton 1 - 0 Blackpool Will Buckley fires in a goal from just outside the area to the top left corner of the goal. Brighton 1-0 Blackpool.

7:14

Stephen Crainey takes the free kick.

7:14 Booking

Booking Gordon Greer receives a caution.

6:59

Gordon Greer concedes a free kick for a foul on Nathan Delfouneso.

4:19

Centre by Wayne Bridge, David Lopez has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.

2:14

Centre by Andrea Orlandi.

2:01

Corner taken short by Andrea Orlandi.

1:46

Centre by Will Buckley, clearance made by Alex Baptiste.

0:43

Will Buckley takes a shot. Matt Gilks makes a comfortable save.

0:22

The ball is swung over by Wayne Bridge, Chris Basham makes a clearance.

0:00

The match has kicked off.

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