Blackpool beat Ipswich to reach last eight of FA Youth Cup
Blackpool's fairytale run in the FA Youth Cup continued with a superb 2-0 win against Ipswich Town to take them through to the last eight of the competition.
First half goals from forwards Rowan Roache and Owen Watkinson were enough to seal a hard-earned and ultimately comfortable victory for the young Seasiders.
John Murphy’s side saw out the game with a resolute second half display, clinging onto a clean sheet their spirited and dogged performance more than merited.
Blackpool, who have already beaten West Ham United and Southampton in the competition, will now face a trip to either Blackburn Rovers or Nottingham Forest in the quarter finals.
Those two will face each other on Tuesday, February 6.
The Seasiders got off to the perfect start when Rowan Roache handed them the lead just six minutes in.
The forward’s free kick from 25 yards out took a large deflection off the wall to leave goalkeeper Mitchell Ware stranded.
Ipswich thought they had a good shout for a penalty when striker Idris El Mizouni appeared to be pulled down in the box but the referee waved away the appeals.
Blackpool were almost caught out playing the ball across their own area but fortunately keeper Craig Thordarson was there to claim at the feet of an Ipswich player.
The Seasiders soaked up some pressure from the hosts before doubling their lead on the counter attack with a superb goal.
Goalscorer Roache turned provider as he dinked a sublime ball into the path of Owen Watkinson who chested it down before prodding it past the oncoming keeper and into the bottom corner.
John Murphy’s side almost made it three when Nana Adarkwa’s pullback was inadvertently deflected towards goal by an Ipswich defender, but Ware managed to keep it out.
Ipswich rallied towards the end of the first half but Blackpool’s defence stood firm to deny them any clear opportunities on goal.
In fact the only chances that came their way before the half-time interval came from distance.
The first fell to midfielder Brett McGavin, who tried his luck with a piledriver from range that flew well wide of goal.
Ben Knight then tried to curl a placed effort into the bottom corner but Thordarson collected with ease.
Pool were a constant threat on the break and they carved Ipswich open on the counter at the start of the second half.
Finlay Sinclair-Smith, the scorer against Southampton in the last round, was fed through on goal but Ipswich defender Tristan Nydam recovered to put in a last-ditch block.
That third goal continued to elude the Seasiders as Watkinson had a go from close range but the goalkeeper was equal to his effort.
Ipswich midfielder El Mizouni produced a speculative low effort from the edge of the box that Thordarson got down well to claim to his right.
The tie was temporarily halted with 20 minutes to go as the two sets of players came together with some pushing and shoving, which ended with Watkinson being shown a yellow card.
Ipswich forced a succession of corners as they desperately searched for a way back into the game, but once again the Seasiders defended resolutely to keep them at bay.
Ipswich swarmed forward in numbers in the final stages and almost pulled one back when tall defender Ross Marshall was found at the back post, but he could only head over the bar.
Ipswich thought they had managed to break Blackpool's resistance when one of their players had a free header at the back post, but Thordarson got across to make a point blank save to keep his clean sheet in tact.
Blackpool: Thordarson, Williams, Jacobson, Newton, Avon, Sumner, Adarkwa (O’Brien), Roache, Sinclair-Smith (Dunne), Shaw, Watkinson (Jaaskelainen)
Subs: Simson, Wainwright
Ipswich: Ware, Crowe, Clements, McGavin, Marshall, Ndaba, Knight (Wilton), El Mizouni, Lankester, Nydam (Cahill), Dobra (Foudil)
Subs: Egan, Vega