- Match reports
- Mon 18 Feb 2013, 4:56PM
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
City EDS took one step closer to winning the Lancashire Senior Cup for the first time since 1974 with a 6-5 penalty shootout win over Blackpool.
A Tom Barkhuizen goal for the Tangerines after 19 minutes was cancelled out by Jose Angel Pozo’s equaliser on 52 minutes and neither side could find a winning goal in the remaining 40 minutes so the lottery of a shootout was required.
Blackpool’s Squires Gate training ground is positioned between Blackpool International Airport and the sea, making for an idyllic setting for this Lancashire Senior Cup showdown as spectators perched on mini sand dunes and aeroplanes passed overhead.
The weather has played havoc with City’s schedule so far in 2013 but pale sunshine made for a welcome sight for Attilio Lombardo’s men as they arrived in Lytham St Annes.
With Denis Suarez away on international duty with Spain u20s, there was an opportunity for recent Northampton Town loanee Emyr Huws to stake a claim for regular inclusion.
Karim Rekik was another notable absence from Lombardo’s XI after agreeing a loan spell with FA Cup giantkillers Blackburn, meaning there was a profound Belgian influence in City’s defence with Dedryck Boyata partnering Mathias Bossaerts at centre-back.
Blackpool, under the watchful eye of new first-team boss Paul Ince, named an experienced side including former Scotland international Barry Ferguson.
Aided by the strong wind whipping off Blackpool’s Irish Sea, the home side made a good start and had a golden opportunity to take the lead after two minutes when former Liverpool striker Nathan Eccleston was felled by Shay Facey just inside the penalty area.
Eccleston himself assumed responsibilities for the spot kick but side-footed wide of the target.
Blackpool continued to dominate and got their reward after 19 minutes when teenage midfielder Tom Barkhuizen cut inside curled a beautiful arching shot around the despairing dive of Eirik Johansen into the top corner.
The home side continued to dominate and only a combination of the woodwork and Johansen stemmed the Blackpool tide but once City adapted to the bumpy surface and the coastal gusts, they managed to fashion some opportunities of their own.
Rusnak was inches away from levelling matters just after the half-hour mark when he got on the end of an incisive pass from Huws but the Slovakian’s shot on the turn was watched wide by Kettings.
The Blues enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession for the first time in the match in those final 10 minutes of the half but the ball was always holding up in the wind when they tried to launch quick breaks onto the Blackpool defence.
City were aware that if they could stay in touch until the half-time break conditions would be more favourable in the second period.
So it proved as they only had to wait seven minutes of the second half for their equaliser – Jose Angel Pozo continuing his red-hot scoring streak by bagging yet another goal after he reacted first to the rebound from Facey’s effort on goal.
City had the home side penned in for long stretches of the second half but couldn’t find the decisive blow and Blackpool always looked menacing on their counter raids.
Halfway through the second half, it looked for all the world as if Blackpool had retaken a decisive lead but Louis Almond’s shot was somehow deflected away by Johansen to maintain parity.
With a penalty shootout looming, Marcos Lopes, Olivier Ntcham and Pozo all had opportunities to win the game but the deadlock could not be broken.
In the shootout, City were one Blackpool kick away from being eliminated on three occasions but the Seasiders thrice wilted under the pressure, leaving City to eventually book their place in the quarter-finals with a dramatic 6-5 win courtesy of Bossaerts' coolly taken spot kick.
City EDS will play Wigan in the quarters and are next in action in the Barclays U21 Premier League at home to Stoke City on Friday night at Hyde.