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."

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