THREE goals in a devastating twelve minute spell at the start of the second half condemned the Brewers to their heaviest defeat of the season against in-form Blackpool.
The Seasiders enhanced their push for the League One top six as Armand Gnanduillet, Jordan Thompson and Joe Dodoo all cashed in as Albion's defence fell away immediately after half time. The first half, whilst an end to end game lacked real chances but when Blackpool had theirs in the second period they showed a ruthless finishing streak to grab the points as a shell-shocked Albion side struggled to recover their composure.
With the squad back at full strength following the international break there was one change for Albion as they looked to build more momentum on the back of last weekend's narrow home win over Coventry City. Liam Boyce, who featured twice for Northern Ireland during the break was restored to the side in place of David Templeton who dropped out of the matchday eighteen. With Dimitar Evtimov not returning to the squad until Friday Stephen Bywater stayed on the bench.
Blackpool, on a run of four straight wins in all competitions, started brightly but Dodoo twice found himself unable to stay onside as Albion pushed up effectively from the back to squeeze the play.
Albion responded well to the hosts promising start, Jake Hesketh and Lucas Akins winning early corners out on the right hand side to give the Tangerine's defence something to think about. Blackpool's first corner caused Brad Collins some concerns, the Chelsea loanee having to come off his line and palm the ball clear as far as the edge of the box allowing his back line to complete the clearance.
Blackpool were beginning to look the more settled of the two sides with several testing crosses forcing Albion to defend well but a calamitous piece of defending by home keeper Mark Howard almost cost his side dearly on 18 minutes. The goalkeeper had plenty of time to decide what to do with Jay Spearing's pass back from inside his own half but inexplicably he allowed the ball to roll under his foot and the embarrassed stopper was just able to get back and clear his lines although Cole seized on the loose ball to set up Boyce for a low shot that was blocked inside the six yard box.
Although it was turning out to be a game of clear chances it was very much an end to end game. Albion took great heart from Howard's moment of madness and began to grow in confidence going forwards whilst the hosts continually looked for the pace of both Dodoo and Armand Gnanduillet in attack along with the pacy threat of Marc Bola wide out on the left. Gnanduillet briefly got the better of Kyle McFadzean for a bouncing ball but lacked the composure to keep his effort down when the chance to test Collins presented itself.
The game got a little feisty on 39 minutes when Stephen Quinn was yellow carded for what looked a relatively innocuous challenge on Thompson and it was the Blackpool man who was perhaps lucky to not see red, his reaction resulting in him putting his hands into the chest of Quinn and needlessly shoving him to the ground. Referee Thomas Bramall decided to even up the bookings with a yellow card. How that came back to haunt Albion later on. And it was the home midfielder who forced Collins into his first meaningful save on 43 minutes driving a low angled effort in that was safely smothered at the near post.
On the stroke of half time Albion cvame agonisingly close to the elusive breakthrough when Boyce's cross was only half cleared and Lucas Akins was able to stride forward and hit a left foot shot that Howard seemed to have covered until he awkwardly fumbled the ball around the post.
Half time: Blackpool 0-0 Burton Albion
The second half was barely 20 seconds in when the hosts livened things up with the opener. A low through ball from midfield from Thompson picked out the run of GNANDUILLET and this time he held his nerve to stride into the box and fire low into the bottom corner.
Three minutes later and it was two for Blackpool as Dodoo scampered away down the left as Hesketh tried in vain to keep pace with him and the forward's low cross cut out Collins and left THOMPSON with a tap-in at the far post.
Before the hour mark Albion found themselves three down as Blackpool capitalised on some poor marking from a long throw into the box that was allowed to bounce once before DODOO swivelled smartly to volley beyond Collins before he could even react.
Albion quickly made a change with McCrory replaced by young Reece Hutchinson returning after a spell on the sidelines and it was not long before Marcus Harness was on the field too taking over from Hesketh on the right.
With just under twenty minutes remaining, and with the game drifting away from Albion there was an opportunity for Joe Sbarra to try and catch the eye as he was brought on to replace Quinn and add some more attacking thrust to midfield with Albion already going forwards in a 4-4-2 formation.
It could have got worse for Albion when Bola streaked away down the left and crossed low into the box. Gnanduillet looked to have a clear shot on goal but lost his footing at the vital moment and his effort skewed across goal and away from danger.
Harness was close to a consolation effort for Albion on 83 minutes when he made contact with a searching cross from Fraser inside the six yard box but frustratingly for the Academy product the ball bounced down and over the bar.
It capped a disappointing afternoon on the Fylde coast for Nigel Clough's men who now need to dust themselves down for another difficult test against Charlton Athletic on Tuesday evening.