Date: 21st April 2013 at 11:10am
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Albion moved to within one win of securing their play-off spot, whilst sending out a warning to any top six rivals with a thumping win over Blackpool.

The hosts were in a ruthless mood from the off, with goals from Will Buckley, Matt Upson and Andrea Orlandi putting them into an unassailable lead at half-time as the stylish Seagull swept aside their lacklustre opponents with some glorious passing football.

David Lopez grabbed a fourth immediately after the break before Dean Hammond managed to find the wrong net – however Ashley Barnes was on hand to complete the rout with a late double to mark an emphatic return from his 7-match ban.

Poyet made two changes for this one as the Seagulls sought to further strengthen their grip on a top six berth, with Leo Ulloa given a much needed rest as Barnes stepped in to lead the line, whilst Buckley returned to provide pace and width at the expense of Andrew Crofts.

Under the Sussex sunshine, in front a joint record Amex crowd, the in-form hosts took little time in asserting their dominance – just 9 minutes in Barnes freed Buckley down the right, before the winger was kindly shown inside onto his left foot, where he unleashed an unstoppable shot from the edge of the area that flew into the top corner past Matt Gilks.

Following a brief spell of Blackpool pressure, Albion continued to knock the ball around with real zip, and they doubled their lead on 23 minutes when Andrea Orlandi’s cross was headed back across the box by Hammond, where Upson was waiting to bundle home his first goal in the stripes from close range.

And just as Poyet’s men were about to contemplate a superb first 45 minutes, Orlandi added a third on the stroke of half-time. The ex-Swansea man exchanged passes with Lopez on the left of the area, picking up his compatriot’s returned flick, before sauntering forward and tucking home a delightful finish into the bottom corner with the outside of his boot.

There was no let up after the interval, with Lopez making it four via a deflection after Barnes’ cut-back was laid into the Spaniard’s path by Buckley. With the score-line at 4-0, the hosts briefly switched into charitable mode as Hammond headed an unfortunate own-goal into the top corner to provide the visiting fans a brief moment of joy.

Tomasz Kuszczak, largely untroubled up to this point, was forced off with concussion after the Polish stopper collided with Blackpool’s Gary Taylor-Fletcher as they rose to challenge for an aerial ball – Casper Ankergren coming on in his place.

The Seagulls were soon back onto the front-foot as Kazenga LuaLua’s introduction gave them an extra impetus to add to Blackpool’s misery. And the Congolese winger duly made his mark on 76 minutes as his trademark ‘outside turn’ left his marker for dead before he fired a low cross into the box which Barnes happily converted with an instinctive left-footed shot.

And the returning striker added his second, and Albion’s sixth (yes, SIXTH), when he took advantage of a static Blackpool defence to turn home Orlandi’s in-swinging cross from close range and cap off an unforgettable afternoon at the Amex.

This superb victory keeps the Albion in 4th place, 4 points above 7th place Leicester with 2 games remaining. They head to mid-table Leeds next Saturday knowing a win would confirm a top six finish.