MATCH REPORT: Blackpool 0-0 Barnsley

Kyle Vassell went close on three occasions.
Kyle Vassell went close on three occasions.
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Blackpool and Barnsley’s FA Cup third round tie will be decided by a replay after the two sides battled to an entertaining 0-0 draw.

Barnsley goalkeeper Adam Davies produced a series of impressive stops to keep the Seasiders at bay as Gary Bowyer’s side looked the more likely to secure their passage to the fourth round.

Aside from a 10-minute spell at the start of the second half, their Championship opponents rarely threatened but it may be a game where Pool will be forced to rue their missed opportunities.

The game was played at a damp and misty Bloomfield Road, where the home supporters were outnumbered by their Barnsley counterparts by almost three-to-one.

Despite the lack of home support in the stands, the Seasiders started the game brightly, seeing an early sight of goal when Kyle Vassell capitalised on a rash mistake by full back James Bree only to fire straight at ‘keeper Adam Davies.

A minute later, the hosts were inches away from taking the lead when Jim McAlister sidefooted an effort just wide of the Barnsley goal after some good build-up play between Vassell and Andy Taylor, who was playing in a wing back role.

McAlister, playing in a more advanced midfield role, then almost got himself on the end of Brad Potts’ pullback as the hosts continued to overrun their Championship opponents in the early stages.
The Tykes, flying high in eighth position in the Championship, struggled to get to grips with a rampant Pool side who stayed on the front foot, with Vassell going close again with another effort inside the Barnsley box.

Gary Bowyer’s men, however, were unable to capitalise on their positive start and the visitors slowly began to grow into the game.

Despite this, Pool continued to be the first to every loose ball and the new 5-3-2 formation enabled the two wing backs to have plenty of opportunities to get forward.

This suited the attacking-minded Kelvin Mellor, who almost worked an opportunity for Mark Cullen after beating two players down the right-hand side, but the striker was unable to take advantage.

Will Aimson, brought into the side to be one of Pool’s three centre backs, was called upon to put in a crucial last-ditch challenge to keep Tom Bradshaw at bay, who was looking to bounce and break through on goal.

The hosts immediately broke and Vassell found himself denied by Davies for the third time in the first half after doing well to get off a shot on the turn.

A noticeable difference Monday’s dire display against Mansfield and this one was the crisp passing from the Blackpool players, who looked to get the ball into the feet of the front two at the earliest opportunity.

This allowed the likes of Brad Potts and Jim McAlister, as well as the two wing backs, to bomb on and cause Barnsley problems in behind.

Barnsley, attacking their 3,200 fans in the second period, made a bright start to the half with former Pool man Adam Hammill firing in a shot at goal from range that was deflected out for corner.

But the Seasiders remained a menace on the threat and Vassell was inches away from getting some contact after battling through to get on the end of a ball over the top.

But they had to cope with an onslaught on their goal, with Sam Winnall going close although he struggled to get enough contact on a header from Conor Hourihane’s corner.

Marley Watkins then had a header of his own, which looped narrowly wide of Slocombe’s top corner.

Halfway through the second period, Pool saw a further two chances go begging - with Vassell denied by Davies for the fourth time, with the Tykes keeper at full stretch to tip over his drilled effort.

From the resulting corner, centre back Tom Aldred managed to get firm contact on his header only to find it go inches wide of the bottom corner.

Barnsley’s standout player, their stopper Adam Davies, was at full stretch once again, this time denying Brad Potts as he went close with a left-footed effort on the edge of the box.

With just three minutes left on the clock, the Tykes had a crucial chance to win it with the ball falling kindly to Hourihane, who could only blaze wide.

And it was that man Hourihane who went close again in the second minute of injury time, seeing his effort kept out superbly by the feet of Slocombe.

But the last chance of the game fell to substitute Jamille Matt, who struck inches over Davies' bar after some great play by Osayi-Samuel.

Blackpool: Slocombe, Mellor, Aimson, Aldred, Robertson, Taylor, Payne (Pugh), McAlister, Potts, Vassell (Osayi-Samuel), Cullen (Matt)

Subs not used: Lyness, Redshaw, Philliskirk, Gnanduillet

Barnsley: Davies, Bree, White, Roberts, MacDonald, Hourihane, Hammill (Kent), Watkins, Scowen, Bradshaw (Payne), Winnall

Subs not used: Townsend, Evans, Jackson, Williams, Moncur

Referee: Christopher Sarginson

Attendance: 4,875 (3,370)