Sorba Thomas’ brace lifted Huddersfield into the Sky Bet Championship play-off positions following a thrilling 3-2 win over 10-man Blackpool.
The former Boreham Wood winger struck twice in four minutes after Jordan Gabriel’s red card just past the hour mark proved the game’s turning point.
Blackpool were leading 2-1 when Gabriel was sent off after strikers Jerry Yates and Gary Madine had netted either side of a Danny Ward equaliser, but could not hold out in the face of intense home pressure.
Prior to this game, the Seasiders’ earliest goal on the road all season had been scored in the 42nd minute but Neil Critchley’s men took just 45 seconds to forge ahead in this contest after Tom Lees’ poor ball out of defence was intercepted close to the halfway line by Josh Bowler. He released Yates through the right channel and the former Rotherham striker fired across goal into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
The Terriers were level by the third minute when Naby Sarr sent Harry Toffolo haring down the left flank and his cross was met by a thumping Ward header that found Daniel Grimshaw’s top-right corner from 12 yards.
Blackpool did not let the equaliser knock them off their stride, however, with Madine making it 2-1 in the 18th minute when he headed inside Lee Nicholls’ right-hand post after Keshi Anderson had ridden a Sarr challenge and sent in a cross from just outside the penalty area.
At the other end, a stretching Ward could not quite get his boot to Lewis O’Brien’s dragged shot across the face of goal whilst an off-balance Duane Holmes sliced woefully off target from close to the penalty spot.
But Anderson was just as wasteful on the half-hour mark for the visitors when he guided a free header wide after Yates had escaped Sarr’s attentions and crossed from the right.
Gabriel then went close himself, heading wide as home fans screamed for play to be stopped with Lees on the ground having being caught by Madine’s arm. The defender received nine minutes of medical attention before being substituted with concussion.
After the break, Gabriel was given his marching orders when he needlessly barged into O’Brien on the right touchline to be shown a second yellow card, having earlier had his name taken for a first-half foul on Holmes.
Moments later, substitute Jordan Rhodes thought he had equalised but his powerful header from Thomas’ cross was ruled out by an offside flag.
But the pair did go on to combine again with greater success in the 80th minute when Thomas, drifting in from the right flank, exchanged passes with first Aaron Rowe and then Rhodes before gliding past Blackpool skipper Marvin Ekpiteta and beating Grimshaw from seven yards.
Thomas then struck again four minutes later when he fired in from 15 yards after keeper Grimshaw, Ekpiteta and Kenny Dougall had all failed in attempts to clear the danger following O’Brien’s right-wing corner.