Akpom double helps Boro see off Blackpool
Last updated on .From the section Championship
The Championship's top scorer Chuba Akpom added two more to his tally as Middlesbrough comfortably saw off struggling Blackpool.
Michael Carrick's men are now 10 points behind second-placed Sheffield United thanks to a ninth win in 11 games.
This was Mick McCarthy's first Championship game in charge of the Seasiders, and they stay in the relegation zone, three points from safety, as their winless run reached 11 games.
Blackpool are the sixth club McCarthy has managed at this level, more than 30 years after his first one - and the contrast with rookie Carrick was stark.
Victory at Bloomfield Road in November in only Carrick's fourth game in charge saw Boro leapfrog their opponents, and they have been flying up the Championship ever since.
That momentum showed as they were the more likely to score from the off, with Darragh Lenihan heading against the post and Riley McGree being denied by visiting goalkeeper Chris Maxwell on his 100th Blackpool appearance.
But Maxwell could do nothing about Akpom's opener as the striker clipped the ball over the goalkeeper and in at the far post for his 12th goal in 15 games since Carrick's arrival on Teesside.
Jerry Yates had the ball in the net just after half-time but he was flagged offside and then hit the bar with a glancing header from Blackpool's best chance.
Two minutes later at the other end, Akpom had his second, finishing off after a fine pass from McGree.
There was then time for McNair to add more gloss to the scoreline, prodding in at the back post after fellow centre-half Lenihan had flicked on.
It wrapped up a fifth straight win at the Riverside, where Boro have not lost under Carrick.
"We love playing here. The support we are getting is pretty special. The lads are feeding off that and you can see that with the connection with the fans.
"You can feel the belief, of course you can, but it's up to us not to get carried away with it.
"We have to perform and prepare for games but the supporters come to dream and to enjoy it and to be entertained and so they should. That's great and it's why we love football so much."
"I knew they were a good side before we came here, having watched them, and they showed it today.
"They were much better than us, but we've had our moments. At 1-0, we had a big chance and then I was trying to change it and we've conceded a really poor goal.
"The players are feeling it. They're not happy and I can't say they are enjoying their season at the minute. They want to do better."
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