MATCH REPORT: Macclesfield 0 Blackpool 2
He capped off a blistering end to last term by scoring the goal that sent Blackpool up to League One.
Now on the eve of the new League One campaign Blackpool’s play-off final hero Mark Cullen has picked up where he left off against Exeter at Wembley.
He added two more goals to his pre-season haul and ensured the Seasiders approach their opening day clash at Bradford City brimming with confidence.
Gary Bowyer’s League One new boys strolled to a silky victory thanks to Cullen’s second-half double with the in-from Bright Osayi-Samuel instrumental in both goals.
Bowyer had made eight changes from the side that beat Chorley 3-0 in midweek.
Jimmy Ryan, Kyle Vassell and Brad Potts were not risked as they watched on and saw their team stroll past the Silkmen.
Blackpool had an early chance as Cullen pounced on David Fitzpatrick’s back header but could only divert the ball straight at Shawn Jalal.
Macclesfield showed their teeth up the other end as Tyrone Marsh found himself unmarked at the back post but he could only nod over.
The Seasiders were forced into an early substitution as new boy Sean Longstaff left the field with his face streaming with blood.
Great play by his replacement, Nathan Delfouneso, in the middle saw Colin Daniel released on the left flank but his ball across the six-yard box was just cleared.
Although it was hardly a masterpiece of a first half, the gulf between the two sides was evident.
It became more apparent in the second half as Pool’s superior fitness levels showed as they managed to get the ball down and spray it across the park.
As the hosts tired it allowed winger Osayi-Samuel to take the game by the scruff of the neck and it was his pace and ingenuity that ultimately did the damage.
The winger was instrumental in the Seasiders taking the lead as a trademark pacy run saw him get in behind Macclesfield on the left before his cross was diverted out for a corner.
Blackpool played that set-piece short and Osayi-Samuel whipped the ball in for Cullen to sneak in and nod home in the 59th minute.
Osayi-Samuel pulled the strings for the second as he cut through a sea of blue shirts like a hot knife through butter before pulling the trigger.
Cullen later admitted his team mate probably should have scored but he was on hand to keep the ball in and scoop the ball home from an improbable angle after Osayi-Samuel’s shot was too hot to handled for the Macclesfield keeper in the 68th minute.
The on-fire forward was denied his hat-trick by the quick-fire reflexes of Macclesfield’s trialist substitute keeper who just tipped his header over.
The hosts did threaten towards the close as another unnamed trialist hit the woodwork.
Blackpool survived that late scare, though they had to remove Daniel as a precaution but that could not dampen their spirits as they finished on a high.
As Bowyer led his team in a post-match huddle the future looked as bright as their unnumbered tangerine shirts.
This Seasiders squad, littered with 12 new faces, gave Bowyer food for thought as he prepares to field a side a much changed side from that sunny day in May when Pool’s return to the third tier commences on Saturday.
Blackpool: Allsop (Williams, 72), Mellor, Tilt (Hartley, 72), Robertson (Anderton, 72), Daniel, Longstaff (Delfouneso, 23), Turton, Cooke (Taylor, 72), Clayton (Philliskirk, 72), Osayi-Samuel (Matt, 72), Cullen (Gnanduillet, 72).