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The Vital View

So our love affair with the FA Cup continues on until at least Valentine`s Day. And after a cracking game against the Canaries who can deny us our place in the Fifth Round Draw?

Saturday`s match was a fabulous advertisement for our premier Cup competition, and demonstrated that the Seasiders are more than capable of matching Championship opposition.

Having backed Larry`s team selections in recent weeks I am afraid I felt this time he missed a trick. With the visitors including the old warhorse Dion Dublin at centre back I really believe that Keigan Parker would have been better employed from the off rather than for a brief substitute appearance.

The first half was a very even contest, not helped by an over fussy referee who made some simply dreadful decisions. And when we conceded the lead in injury time after having a good penalty appeal turned down you did wonder if this was going to be our day.

But this Blackpool team is made of sterner stuff and they applied themselves from the start of the second period. Ian Evatt`s debut goal was thoroughly deserved and from then on we looked the more likely to go on and win the game. But despite great chances for Burgess, Parker and Gorkss it was not to be!

Shaun Barker deserves special mention for a captivating performance at right back. Darren Huckerby paid him a huge compliment by quickly moving from his left wing berth to a more central role. Praise indeed for a player who cost us a mere £30,000. Bargain of the century? Very possibly!

Proper FA Cup metal and desire saw The Seasiders claim a deserved draw against a star studded Norwich City side (on paper). But Blackpool fans must have left Bloomfield Road thinking on what might have been after an inept refereeing 'performance` and lack of luck in front of goal.

Chris Foy - Premiership referee! His showing was of the same ilk as Phil Dowd and Dermot Gallacher here last term as they believe they`re above our level. I`d much prefer to have a football league ref down at Bloomers who actually wants to earn his money, but instead we received the token gesture of a top flight official being filtered down just for the day. The main mistake Foy made was after adding two minutes on at the end of the first period, adding a further two from nowhere, hence allowing City to take the lead.

The team were simply fantastic on Saturday. Nine out of the eleven that started played exceptionally well with Barker, Hoolahan and Southern being the pick of the bunch. Ian Evatt played okay and obviously scored a vitally important headed goal. However, we saw why QPR didn`t need Evatt in the Championship as his dithering for the City goal was catastrophe and ultimately nearly cost us the game (although the referee`s shoddiness contributed!).

I`m worried about Gorkss playing left back also. He looked genuinely out of his depth (along with David Fox) and for all his hard work just wasn`t good enough against tricky winger Lee Croft. I believe he was primarily brought in as a centre back (as was Barker, but I wouldn`t dream of moving him now!) and without another decent left back, he`ll have to fill in there for the meantime. Hopefully come Wednesday we shall see a new fullback and playmaker.

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Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Sunday January 28 2007
Time: 9:26PM

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Good luck with the replay - a money spinning tie awaits the victors!
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