Match Report: Hartlepool United 2-1 Blackpool – Wasteful Seasiders dumped out of FA Cup

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Blackpool surrendered their lead in the third round of the FA Cup to lose 2-1 to League Two side Hartlepool United.

The Seasiders had won their last five FA Cup matches against lower league opposition prior to the clash and a goal from Keshi Anderson inside 10 minutes looked to send them on their way.

A second half fight back and a goal apiece for David Ferguson and Joe Grey however turned the game on its head and sent the Seasiders out.

Neil Critchley made one change to the side that beat Hull City last time out in the Championship, with Callum Connolly coming in for the recalled Ryan Wintle.

Keshi Anderson scores the opening goal of the game.

Keshi Anderson scores the opening goal of the game.

Blackpool started the game the brighter of the two sides, there was intent in their play and they were well organised off the ball.

Although it was the home side with the first chance of the game, Dujon Sterling giving away a free kick on the edge of his own box. Tom Crawford picked himself up having been fouled and his strike deflected off the top of the wall and behind.

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Pool found joy hitting their front two in particular, with neither under much pressure when it arrived either towards their head or feet. Shane Lavery nodded the ball down for Gary Madine to volley at goal after five minutes, Ben Killip in the Pools’ goal holding at the second attempt.

Then came the breakthrough eight minutes in, first Josh Bowler got down the right wing to cross into the middle for Madine whose first time effort forced an impressive save from Killip. Anderson was in a good position for the rebound and after only kicking the air, he took control of the ball, carried it from left to right inside the area and slotted it back across his body into the bottom corner.

Lavery would have the opportunity to put the Seasiders two goals to the good after 24 minutes, the Irishman benefitting from fine work from Aderson down the left side to receive a square ball six yards out which he could only direct wide of the near post.

The home support grew increasingly frustrated throughout the opening 45, centre back Timi Odusina stepping out of defence past a couple of Pool players before being brought down by Callum Connolly a rare bright point – the latter being booked for his part in it 27 minutes in.

Then came the first of two first half casualties, Anderson’s afternoon ended early as he went down off the ball. The winger made a run into the centre and pulled up, hobbling another 10 yards without moving his left leg. It seemed to be a hamstring injury for the Pool no.10 and on came CJ Hamilton to take his place.

Madine went close for the Seasiders shortly after, his header from a corner deep to the far post cleared off the line.

James Husband was the next injury concern for Critchley, again an off the ball injury which saw another early change as Luke Garbutt took his place just three minutes before the end of normal time in the first half.

There was still time for one further chance in the half, Hamilton bursting down the left side was too much for the Hartlepool defence and in a similar position to his first miss, Lavery could not find the net from six yards out.

Although not firing on all cylinders, Pool took the lead into the break and should have had more to show for the positions they found themselves in.

They would be made to pay almost immediately by their hosts, who came out for the second half a rejuvenated side.

Only three minutes into the second half the home side drew level, left back David Ferguson checked inside from the left at the corner of the 18 yard box and wrapped his right foot around the ball. His effort deflected off Connolly and left Daniel Grimshaw no chance as he watched it hit the back of the net.

It breathed life into a Hartlepool side that had severely lacked creativity in the first half with a crowd frustrated and wanting something to shout about and they now did.

Pool could barely get out of their half for the next 15 minutes and the pressure told. Former Seasider Mark Cullen was replaced by Joe Grey and the substitute had an immediate impact.

Crawford’s neat pass just inside from the left found Grey with just enough time inside the Blackpool box to take a touch and steer the ball into the bottom left corner, the home side taking the lead just after the hour mark.

Still, Pool had their chances, despite being second best. Hamilton twice could have got the visitors back level and certainly should have done with his second opportunity.

After 63 minutes the winger was played in down the left by Madine and his first time strike was dragged past the far post then on the other wing Bowler got past his man to square for the 26-year-old who could not find the target from six yards out. Lavery twice missed from that range in the first half and Hamilton followed suit in the second.

Marvin Epkiteta was the next man into the referee’s book, his foul on Grey seeing him booked just before he was withdrawn from the game 78 minutes in.

On came Jerry Yates and Demetri Mitchell in a switch to three at the back as the Seasiders searched for a way back into the game but the home side were buoyed, battling and backed by the home support willing them on in every challenge.

One last chance for Lavery was squandered before the end, the striker making it a hat trick of misses from six yards out with a glancing header past the far post, though his final chance was trickier than his first two.

Long balls and pressure on United’s box followed in the final moments but the home side held strong and secured their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Blackpool Starting XI: Grimshaw, Sterling, Ekpiteta (Mitchell, 78′), Keogh, Husband (Garbutt, 42′), Bowler (Yates, 78′), Connolly, Dougall, Anderson (Hamilton, 33′), Madine, Lavery.

Blackpool subs not used: Gabriel, Moore, Casey, Mariette, Monks.

Hartlepool Starting XI: Killip, Sterry, Byrne, Liddle, Odusina, Ferguson, Featherstone, Crawford, Holohan, Cullen (Grey, 60′), Molyneux (Fondop, 90′).

Hartlepool subs not used: Boyes, Ogle, Francis-Angol. Shelton, Daly, Smith, Olomola.

Attendance: 4,942 (583)