A stunning second half comeback saw Leicester City stretch the gap to the play-off places to 17 points thanks to a commanding King Power Stadium victory over Blackpool in the Sky Bet Championship.
David Goodwillie had given the Seasiders a surprise lead going into half time, when he latched onto a long throw to poke a close range finish past Kasper Schmeichel.
The Foxes rallied though, and a moment of class from Riyad Mahrez saw them deservedly draw level on the hour mark – his left footed drive from 20 yards giving Matt Gilks no chance.
Mahrez then turned provider to tee up Wes Morgan for a headed goal at the far post with eight minutes left, before substitute Kevin Phillips made certain of all three points with an emphatic finish into the top corner.
Nigel Pearson named an unchanged starting XI going into the match, with the in-form Vardy looking to build on a run of five goals in his last four games.
Fresh from a first win in 19 games on Tuesday night, Blackpool made one change to their side with on-loan Liverpool man Jack Robinson returning from suspension at left back, meaning top scorer Ricardo Fuller dropped to the bench.
It was a lively start to proceedings from City, who had real confidence about them as Jeff Schlupp and Mahrez combined down the left to engineer an early shooting chance for Matty James that was well blocked by Kirk Broadfoot.
Anthony Knockaert followed that up by drilling a powerful effort into the side netting, while David Nugent also tried his luck but dragged a shot wide from the right side of the box.
A delightful flick from Nugent then set Vardy clean through, only for the assistant’s flag to go up for offside just as he rolled the ball into the net.
Blackpool stopper Gilks then almost let a Mahrez effort squirm through his legs, while at the other end Neal Bishop headed Andy Halliday’s corner wide at the far post when he should have done better.
City’s dominance continued, with Mahrez and Knockaert tearing down the Seasiders’ flanks, thrilling the home fans, but without that all-important first goal.
That opener looked like it had arrived on the half-hour mark, with half the stadium on their feet in celebration, only to realise that Vardy’s shot from Ritchie De Laet’s cross had actually hit the side netting.
Just as he had done against Barnsley, Mahrez threaded a sensational ball through the heart of Blackpool’s defence to the feet of Vardy, but the striker was left punching the ground in frustration after he flashed his shot agonisingly wide.
The opener came four minutes before half time, but it arrived for Blackpool. A long throw from Robinson on the left flank managed to reach Goodwillie in the middle, who poked the ball home to make it 1-0 going into the break.
Both sides emerged unchanged at half time and City immediately set about trying to claw their way back into it when Mahrez put Nugent in. Chris Basham brought him down as he looked to pull the trigger, but the referee said no penalty, while Vardy picked up his ninth booking of the season for a foul in the corner.
But with a lead to hang on to, Blackpool grew in confidence themselves and had City hearts in mouths on 55 minutes when Goodwillie’s looping effort from 25 yards out on the right whistled past the post.
City finally levelled right on the hour mark, and it was a moment of real quality that made the difference.
Out on the right flank, Mahrez picked the ball up and after some quick footwork that baffled the Blackpool defenders, he unleashed a stunning shot from 20 yards with the outside of his left boot that swerved into Gilks’ top right corner for 1-1.
Blackpool then introduced Fuller for Goodwillie in an effort to stem the blue tide, but it didn’t work, as City flowed forward at every given opportunity – only a full stretch save from Gilks denying Nugent a 20th of the season from a header.
Isaiah Osbourne then came on for Halliday and Stephen Dobbie replaced Bishop, while the first change for the Foxes saw Vardy make way for former Blackpool man Gary Taylor-Fletcher.
It didn’t take long for the striker to get involved, picking up Nugent’s flick to flash an effort across the face of goal from a narrow angle.
The blue shirts kept coming forward, with Knockaert drawing a good save from a equally tight angle on the right, while Phillips entered the fray for Nugent with just over 10 minutes left.
With eight minutes left, City struck brilliantly, and it was the captain who was in the right place at the right time to make it happen.
A free kick from the left found its way to Mahrez in a tight spot inside the box, but some trickery saw him stand up a brilliant ball to the far post where Morgan showed some great strength to hold off the challenge and head into the top corner.
The Foxes gave themselves a bit of breathing room just a couple of minutes later as substitute Phillips was alert to pick up a loose ball in to box, take a touch and rifle a brilliant finish into the roof of the net.
Dean Hammond was then brought on for Knockaert in an effort to make certain the three points, as a shell-shocked Blackpool provided no answer to City’s slick passing and could count themselves fortunate not to see the Foxes add to their tally before the referee brought the match to and end.
CITY (4-4-2): Schmeichel, De Laet, Drinkwater, Morgan (c), James, Vardy (Taylor-Fletcher 70), Schlupp, Knockaert (Hammond 89), Mahrez, Wasilewski, Nugent (Phillips 79)
SUBS NOT USED: King, Moore, Logan, Wood
GOALS: Mahrez 60, Morgan 82, Phillips 85
BLACKPOOL (5-4-1): Gilks, McMahon, Robinson, Perkins, MacKenzie (c), Broadfoot, Bishop (Dobbie 76), Halliday (Osbourne 68), Basham, Cathcart, Goodwillie (Fuller 64)
SUBS NOT USED: Davies, Haroun, Keogh, Angel,
GOAL: Goodwillie 41
ATTENDANCE: 27,669 (345 away)
REFEREE: Nigel Miller