Blackpool Home 4th Round FA Cup Won 2 – 1
There aren’t many occasions when purists are willing to forgive maverick selection policies for an FA Cup tie, but with the Blackpool game sandwiched between semi final legs in the inferior Carabao Cup, Jones-the-boss was surely right to keep his men fresh for the forthcoming midweek match: eight changes gave us a flat back four in front of Caballero, and in the absence of Ward-Prowse, young Willy got to captain the side – as did his opposite number, Maxwell, for the visitors. A front three of wide men Edozie and Oršić supporting Mara weren’t really troubling the Seasiders and Caballero was the first to make an important save, to keep out Yates. But Edozie eventually got away from his marker and forced a free kick that Oršić and Perraud lined up instead of JW-P, and a decoy attempt by Oršić confused both a disintegrating wall and wrong-footed keeper as Perraud shot powerfully and accurately for the opener. Championship strugglers Blackpool weren’t threatening much until Lyanco was indecisive with a long ball down the flank, whilst his colleagues switched off completely; all of a sudden Povena was bearing down on goal unchallenged and Caballero was at full stretch to keep out a lob before the same player made a hash of trying to put the loose ball away. That showed us that Saints needed a second, and again it was Perraud who obliged with another good finish after a tidy assist by Mara. The cushion was only to survive for five minutes as Mara lost possession by attempting a backheel and Bowler, hitherto the epitome of a journeyman lower league player, found little resistance in a surge forward before Patino found the net. Walcott, on for the disappointing Oršić, might have added a third but Blackpool were the side asking most questions in the end game, with Maxwell spending a fair slice of added time in Southampton’s penalty as his team forced a series of corners against a defence who continued to look vulnerable – despite denying any serious opportunity for an equaliser.
Three LSSC Man of the Match candidates to choose from:
3. Romain Perraud. Prominent in a number of attacking moves, but he was part of that iffy defensive unit as well.
13. Willy Caballero. ‘Big Willy’ (allegedly?) always looked uncomfortable with his distribution, but we were grateful for his extra stature to keep out Povena.
23. Samuel Edozie. To be fair, Perraud was probably our best attacker, but Edozie was the best of those selected for the role.