Blackpool ease past Wednesday to play Everton
February 7, 2012 - 19:45
Blackpool comfortably progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 3-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday.
Goals from Matt Phillips, Lomana Lua Lua and Ludovic Sylvestre were more than enough to secure a tie at Everton. It will be the first time the Seasiders have played at this stage of the competition since 1990.
The home side could have taken the lead within a matter of minutes; Ryan Lowe pounced on poor defending by Alex Baptiste but fluffed a shot straight at Matt Gilks.
Pool opened the scoring in the seventh minute. Matt Phillips spun on the edge of the box before almost pushing a shot right into the corner beyond the despairing Stephen Bywater.
It wasn't long before the tie was out of the reach of the League One side. On 14 minutes Lomana Lua Lua out-ran his full back - carrying the ball from the halfway line to the Wednesday penalty area - before checking back and bending a wicked effort past Bywater into the top corner.
But the Seasiders inexplicably allowed Gary Megson's team back into the game and they had a spell of pressure which should have yielded more than the one Rob Jones chance that Gilks batted away well.
Tom Ince and Lua Lua in particular were guilty of giving away cheap possession and the Owls would have hoped to make more inroads into the away back four than they did in the first half.
It was refreshing to see that Lua Lua was able to get through a full 90 minutes, with the slow tempo of the fixture seemingly playing a part in his ability to last the entirety.
Although the critical supporters among us (me included) would bemoan the sluggish nature of the side after going 2-0 up, it is hard to argue with Blackpool when they really do turn it on.
Shortly after the break, nine minutes to be precise, the style was back. Matt Phillips eloquently backheeled to Ludovic Sylvestre just inside the home half and the cultured midfielder found second wind, purring his way into the box before curling home the third with consummate ease.
Phillips himself should really have notched his second of the game when put clear by Lua Lua but his effort flew wide. The disappointment at the miss signifies how far the young winger has come in a short space of time.
He was brought off soon after for Gerardo Bruna, leaving Blackpool with players formerly of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Espanyol making up a portion of the midfield five.
Despite that, Wednesday had a couple of chances to reduce the arrears. Julian Bennett bypassed Bruna before shooting wide while another Baptiste mistake could have presented an opportunity, only for Gilks to mop up well when faced with onrushing strikers.
In truth, the game died a death as a contest after the third goal (and that's being generous) but Lowe did have the ball in the net for the hosts but it was chalked off for offside while Nouha Dicko replaced Bob Harris.
The Seasiders were described by Chris Waddle as 'untouchable' and 'sparkling' for their performance but in reality they were half-paced throughout and knew from fairly early on that the game was won if they retained possession well enough.
That they did and it is to Ian Holloway's credit that he has moulded a team with a number of notable absentees that has reached the fifth round of the FA Cup where they will meet Everton next Saturday.