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Seasiders Slump To Cup Exit

Since returning to the Championship, the FA Cup has not been a happy hunting ground for the Seasiders.

In 2008, Barnsley dumped us out in Round 3 after coming back late on from a goal down against a weakened Blackpool side.

In 2009, Torquay beat us 1-0 down at Plainmoor after the squad had been ravaged by Simon Grayson's and several loan players' departures.

Yesterday, Ipswich dumped us out of the competition at the first hurdle for the third year running after both Ian Evatt and Rob Edwards were sent off and Ian Holloway was sent to the stands.

It was hardly the positive start to the new year and decade that everyone at Bloomfield Road were looking for, although the one advantage to yesterday's defeat is that is does leave us to concentrate solely on our promotion push.

With the pitch having been covered overnight, yesterday's game went ahead with no problems (typical isn't it; the one game we get covers for we lose!).

Matt Gilks missed out again through illness so Paul Rachubka retained his place, whilst Alex Baptiste passed a fitness test to take his place in central defence alongside Ian Evatt.

In midfield, David Vaughan's return meant that Jason Euell shifted to the wing and Gary Taylor-Fletcher took Ben Burgess' place up top.

Just three minutes into the first match of the new decade at Bloomfield Road, the Seasiders were behind.

Some woeful defending eventually presented Ipswich midfielder Jack Colback with the opportunity to fire home smartly from the edge of the area.

After that, the Seasiders took the game to their visitors and were the better team throughout (even with only nine men!), but for large parts lacked the mobility upfront to unlock the Ipswich defence, which was somewhat surprising with GTF, Brett and Euell leading the line.

The Seasiders' first chance fell to Brett Ormerod, who screwed the ball well wide on seven minutes after a flick on from the otherwise woefully ineffectually Jason Euell who once again demonstrated that the only position that he is capable of performing in is centre forward.

In the 10th minute Baptiste headed over from a David Vaughan corner. I'm sure that we could make of such opportunities if we worked harder on them in training.

Liam Rosenior then forced Paul Rachubka into a fine low save with a sharp drive from distance after 'Pool had failed to close him down.

At the other hand, the Seasiders were still creating chances. Gary Taylor-Fletcher skipped past a couple of challenges before drilling a shot wide.

Five minutes later though, we were handed the perfect opportunity to get back into the game after being awarded a penalty.

Tractor Boys stopper Arran Lee-Barrett upended Brett Ormerod after the experienced striker jinked his way through the box, but surprisingly wasn't booked for the challenge.

For some reason, I've never been happy with Charlie Adam taking penalties, and this gut feeling was vindicated when the midfielder struck the inside of the post with his effort after sending Barrett the wrong way.

Barrett looked far from comfortable all afternoon, and nearly conceded a goal after kicking a clearance straight against Euell. Fortunately for Barrett, he just managed to scramble back to his line in time to claim the ball.

In the closing stages of the first half there was action at both ends as Taylor-Fletcher fired just over from distance and Stern John had a goal ruled out for offside.

Half time: Blackpool 0-1 Ipswich

Ian Holloway had obviously had a few words with his side at half time, as the Seasiders began the second half in the ascendancy backed by a now vocal Blackpool crowd.

Right back Neal Eardley had the first chance of the second period; his long range effort being saved by Barrett.

Just five minutes into the second forty five though, the Seasiders were level.

Ian Evatt bombed forward before laying the ball off to Charlie Adam, who whipped in a fierce cross for Brett Ormerod to head home. Game on.

Immediately after the goal Ipswich made their first changes of the afternoon; Connoe Wickham replacing Stern John, and Owen Garvan replacing David Norris. John had earlier been very fortunate not to pick up a booking for a late and dangerous challenge on Ian Evatt.

Three minutes later and the Seasiders suffered their first dismissal of the afternoon after Ian Evatt was given his marching orders for supposedly fouling Jack Colback when the midfielder was through on goal.

However, my initial reaction was that Colback had gone to ground in anticipation of Evatt's challenge, and replays show that Evatt may indeed have got the ball. The dismissal was especially harsh on Evatt as he had been having a very impressive game up until then.

Neal Eardley then entered the referee's book for a rant at the linesman over on the East, whilst David Vaughan was surprisingly sacrificed for Rob Edwards - everyone around me thought that Euell should have made way rather than the impressive Vaughan.

With twenty minutes to go, Charlie Adam volleyed agonisingly wide as the Seasiders pushed for a winner despite their disadvantage.

At the other end Paul Rachubka produced a great save to deny Jon Walters, whilst Grant Leadbitter powered a freekick narrowly over.

Jason Euell was then finally substituted (a decision that saw many of the Seasiders faithful cheer!), with Ishmel coming on in his place. However, the wideman struggled to get into the game and perhaps Daniel Nardiello would have been a better sub; in many ways it was he perfect game for him - nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

With quarter of an hour left, Rob Edwards joined Ian Evatt in having an early bath after fouling Jon Walters when the attacker was through on goal. Despite many Seasiders suggesting otherwise, it was a professional foul and Edwards had to go.

Owen Garvan stepped up to curl the ball low into the bottom corner of the net from the resulting freekick (should have had a man on the post!), and the Ipswich celebrations infront of the 'Pool faithful, coupled with the officials' and Roy Keane's failure to do anything about it, led Ian Holloway to remonstrate hilariously by stripping off his gloves, scarf and jacket and throwing them onto the edge of the pitch before storming down the tunnel shouting.

Thirty seconds later though he had returned and began to re-dress himself, before two whole minutes later the referee further endeared himself to the 'Pool faithful for sending Holloway to the stands for 'foul and abusive language'. Interestingly, Roy Keane said after that game that Ollie has said nothing... then again Keane said that Ipswich dominated the game!

Gary Taylor-Fletcher was sacrificed for Joe Martin after Edwards' dismissal in a nonsensical change; it was a cup game so we should have gone for it and risk losing 3 or 4-1 - it was hardly going to affect our goal difference!

Connor Wickham then underlined why he's the worst player the Seasiders have come up against this season by slashing a couple of chance high, wide and handsome before picking up a booking for kicking the ball away at a freekick for the fifth time!

Time wasting is part and parcel of the game when you're hanging onto a lead, but Ipswich were doing it as early as the first half yesterday. Goalkeeper Barrett picked up a booking late on for constantly wasting time at goal kicks.

With little under ten minutes remaining, Carlos Edwards replaced Liam Rosenior.

Late on, Paul Rachubka brilliantly denied Edwards and the impressive Colback as the Seasiders scrapped for a way back into the game to no avail.

With so many floating fans at the game yesterday, it was a great shame that we couldn't have put on a performance to entice many of them back.

And with Alex Baptiste the only centre back available to us for next week's game away at Cardiff in the league, Ian Holloway will have to dip into the transfer market.

Let's hope that our first league game of the new year and decade ends in a better result!




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The journalist

Writer: Eamonn Moore  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday January 3 2010

Time: 6:42PM

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