Blackpool 4-1 Morecambe: Seasiders produce professional display to reach FA Cup second round
There was no FA Cup shock at Bloomfield Road as Blackpool eased into the second round of the competition with a comfortable win against Morecambe.
The damage was done in the first half as the Seasiders ran in three goals; Nathan Delfouneso, Armand Gnanduillet and Matty Virtue the men to find the back of the net.
Morecambe - who were denied by the woodwork twice - did eventually pull a goal back in first-half stoppage time through Cole Stockton’s opportunistic effort.
But they were unable to muster a response in the second period, Blackpool putting the game to bed for good with six minutes remaining when Sullay Kaikai got in the act.
It capped off a professional display from Simon Grayson’s men, who sealed their passage into the second round without breaking too much of a sweat as they scored four goals for the second Saturday running.
The Seasiders, who have now won all three of their home games this week and are unbeaten in their last five outings, will find out their second round opponents on Monday night.
In the lead-up to the game, Grayson made it clear the FA Cup was a competition the Seasiders will be taking seriously this season.
True to his word, the Blackpool boss named a full strength side with the Seasiders unchanged from last weekend’s 4-3 league win against Peterborough United.
Jordan Thompson, who will depart for international duty with Northern Ireland next week, returned from a knee injury to be named among the substitutes.
Despite the return of Curtis Tilt from suspension, Ryan Edwards kept his place in the back three to take on his former side.
Despite the recent appointment of former Derek Adams, the former Plymouth Argyle man only watched from the stands with caretaker men Barry Roche and Kevin Ellison remaining in charge for the final time.
The Shrimps, who are rooted to the bottom of the League Two table, named an unchanged side from their much-needed 1-0 win against Leyton Orient.
Morecambe were bizarrely permitted to play in red, which made for a kit clash of sorts, despite wearing yellow in the EFL Trophy game between the two sides earlier in the season.
This didn’t deter striker Armand Gnanduillet in the early stages. The striker, brimming with confidence from last week’s brace, looked to beat the keeper from all of 25 yards but he dragged his ambitious effort wide of goal.
Nathan Delfouneso was the next Pool man to cause problems for Morecambe’s backline, the forward dropping his shoulder to beat his marker before shooting straight at former Seasider Mark Halstead.
The keeper was called into action once again soon after as the Seasiders looked to make a rapid start, as he got down to save Gnanduillet’s downward header.
It took just nine minutes for Blackpool to edge their noses in front, Delfouneso the man to scramble home his third goal of the season and his first since August.
It was a scrappy goal, as Delfouneso looped a header into the back of the net after Morecambe had failed to clear their lines from Liam Feeney’s cross.
His delivery was chipped up towards Gnanduillet, who nodded the ball down for Sullay Kaikai but the winger couldn’t quite get his shot off at goal.
The ball bounced kindly for Delfouneso behind him and the 28-year-old had the simple task of heading beyond Halstead into the far corner.
Morecambe almost produced a surprise leveller halfway through the first half when Blackpool were caught napping from a free kick.
Sam Lavelle ghosted in at the back post to slam a powerful first-time shot before the goal, which cannoned back off the crossbar.
Having come so close to being pegged back, Blackpool took just 60 seconds to extend their lead and grab their second of the game.
The goal was as simplistic as they come, too, Gnanduillet glancing home a header completely unopposed from Kaikai’s corner.
The goal, the Frenchman’s third of the week, takes his tally for the season into double figures.
Morecambe offered very little in an attacking sense but when they did venture forward, they looked a threat.
They almost reduced the arrears two minutes before the interval when they hit the woodwork for a second time, Cole Stockton this time rifling a low volley onto the foot of the post.
The Seasiders wasted no time in punishing the visitors, as they made it 3-0 just two minutes later.
Matty Virtue was the man to take advantage of Halstead’s fumble, the keeper spilling Gnanduillet’s drilled low cross straight into the midfielder’s path.
Unfortunately Grayson’s men were unable to take their three-goal lead into the break, as the Shrimps pulled a goal back in first-half stoppage time.
Stockton was the man to slam home after Jak Alnwick had spilled Tom Brewitt’s awkward long-range effort into his path.
Pool looked to restore their three-goal lead at the start of the second half, which they started brightly.
Kaikai did well to force his way into the Morecambe box only to blaze high over the bar and into the North Stand at the final hurdle.
The game entered a bit of a lull at this stage, with neither side producing much goalmouth action - other than former Seasider John O’Sullivan curling a free kick comfortably wide.
Gnanduillet came close to bagging a second just after the hour-mark, Lavelle heading clear just as the striker was ready to pounce on Kaikai’s pinpoint cross.
Callum Guy, who entered the fray alongside Ollie Turton, continued his fine form from Tuesday night’s EFL Trophy win against Wolves’ Under-21s.
The midfielder clipped a delightful ball to Liam Feeney, whose back-post cross to Gnanduillet was cleared away for a corner by a Morecambe defender.
Pool ought to have added a fourth towards the end when Kaikai broke through on goal following a flowing move, but the winger showed a lack of composure to blaze his shot over.
Kaikai finally got his goal five minutes later, atoning for his earlier missing with a well-taken lofted chip into the roof of the net after latching onto Joe Nuttall’s through-ball.
Blackpool: Alnwick, Edwards, Heneghan, Husband, Macdonald (Turton), Feeney (Nuttall), Spearing, Virtue (Guy), Kaikai, Delfouneso, Gnanduillet
Subs not used: Sims, Tilt, Thompson, Scannell
Morecambe: Halstead, Tanner, Lavelle, Old, Conlan, Tutte (Leitch-Smith), Brewitt, Wildig, O’Sullivan (Cranston), Alessandra, Stockton (Miller)
Subs not used: Roche, Sutton, Kenyon, Buxton
Referee: Ross Joyce
Attendance: 5,371 (968 Morecambe)