Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Blackpool: Gutsy Seasiders knocked out of the FA Cup by Premier League opposition

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Blackpool’s FA Cup run ended with a gutsy fourth round defeat to Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion.
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Brighton v Blackpool as it happened

The Seasiders were unable to repeat their heroics from the last round where they saw off fellow top flight side West Brom.

Neil Critchley’s men were well in this encounter, but an unfortunate deflected effort in the second-half cruelly knocked them out of the competition.

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Brighton move into the fifth round of the FA CupBrighton move into the fifth round of the FA Cup
Brighton move into the fifth round of the FA Cup

Gary Madine had earlier levelled for Blackpool in first-half stoppage-time after Yves Bissouma had given Brighton the lead with an unstoppable long-range strike.

The Seagulls will now go on to face either Brentford or Leicester City away from home in the fifth round.

Blackpool, meanwhile, must turn their focus to Tuesday night’s league game against Wigan Athletic having failed to reach the fifth round for the first time since 2012.

The Seasiders were dealt a major blow before kick-off when it was revealed the club had returned five positive Covid-19 tests following their latest round of mandatory testing.

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While the players affected weren’t named, Dan Ballard, Ollie Turton, Kenny Dougall and Grant Ward - who all started against Hull City in Pool’s most recent outing - were all left out of the squad.

That left Neil Critchley with little choice but to make wholesale changes, six in total from the 1-1 draw at the KCOM Stadium.

In came Jordan Thorniley from the cold to start in the centre of a back three despite recently being told he’s free to leave if another club comes in for him.

Jordan Gabriel replaced Turton to feature at right wing-back, while Luke Garbutt also came into the side to fill in on the opposite side of the pitch.

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There was a different feel entirely to Blackpool’s midfield, with MJ Williams returning to play alongside Matty Virtue and Ethan Robson.

New signing Ellis Simms, who joined on loan from Everton during the week, was named on the bench with Jerry Yates and Gary Madine continuing their partnership in attack.

Also named among the substitutes were youngsters Luke Mariette, Rob Apter and Brad Holmes.

Demetri Mitchell also misses out having tested positive for Covid at the start of the week, while Daniel Gretarsson, Keshi Anderson and CJ Hamilton are all out injured.

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Brighton, who face relegation rivals Fulham in a big clash on Wednesday, still managed to name a strong side packed full of Premier League quality.

Graham Potter’s side were, however, without Jason Steele, Tariq Lamptey, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Aaron Connolly, Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck.

The depleted Seasiders were given an early let-off after just four minutes when the unmarked Lewis Dunk headed over from Alex MacAllister’s corner.

Pool threatened for the first time three minutes later when Ethan Robson found Gary Madine in a bit of space, but the striker’s shot from the edge of the box was well blocked.

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The hosts came close from another corner, Adam Webster this time heading over under no real pressure from a Blackpool man.

To Blackpool’s credit, they responded well and almost took the lead courtesy of a superb set piece from Luke Garbutt.

Standing over a 30-yard free-kick, the left wing-back curled an accurate effort towards the top corner which Brighton keeper Christian Walton did well to tip behind.

The Seasiders were well in this game and competing well, only to find themselves going a goal down after 28 minutes through no real fault of their own.

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Seagulls midfielder Yves Bissouma was the man to make the breakthrough with an absolute screamer, lashing into the top corner from 30 yards.

While Brighton enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, the Seasiders did well to maintain a foothold in the game and stop the hosts from adding a quick second.

That approach almost paid dividends on the stroke of half-time when Garbutt played a short free-kick to Madine, whose first-time effort was well blocked.

But there was nothing Brighton could do to stop Madine from levelling things up in first-half stoppage-time.

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The striker equalised with a lovely first-time effort following a well-worked move down the left flank.

Jerry Yates showed the awareness to backheel the ball into the path of Garbutt, whose excellent first-time cross was steered home at the near post by Madine.

The striker, scoring for the eighth time this season, displayed great hunger and desire to get across his marker at the near post.

It was also Madine’s fourth goal in the competition this season, making him the competition’s top scorer this season.

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The Seasiders, who had to produce some desperate last-ditch defending to stop Brighton from re-taking the lead at the start of the second-half, hit back with an opening of their own as James Husband fizzed a superb cross from the left which just eluded Madine in the middle.

Pool keeper Chris Maxwell made an important save just before the hour-mark to keep the Seagulls at bay, flying across goal to beat Alex MacAllister’s curling effort around the post.

A couple of moments later, Maxwell was completely wrongfooted as the home side edged back in front thanks to a large slice of fortune.

Nothing seemed to be on for MacAllister, so the Argentine instead opted to try his luck with an ambitious long-range strike which took a huge deflection off teammate Steven Alzate.

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This left Maxwell completely rooted to the spot, the ball instead diverting into the opposite direction before nestling in the bottom corner of the Blackpool net.

With the visitors searching for a second leveller of the afternoon, Critchley turned to the bench to hand a debut to Ellis Simms, who joined on loan from Everton during the week.

With 13 minutes remaining, Sullay Kaikai, Bez Lubala and Oli Sarkic were also introduced into the action.

Brighton sub Neal Maupay ought to have added a third for the home side eight minutes from time to put the game to bed, but he was thwarted by a fine stop from Maxwell as he looked to side-foot home from Leandro Trossard’s cross.

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As Blackpool sent men forwards in the dying stages in search of a late equaliser to take the game into extra-time, that opened up gaps for the home side to exploit.

But, despite creating two or three good openings, the Seagulls were unable to put the game to bed, while the brave Seasiders failed to produce any late drama.


Brighton: Walton, Webster, Dunk, Burn, Veltman, Zeqiri (Gross), Bissouma, MacAllister (Trossard), Propper, Alzate (March), Tau (Maupay)

Subs not used: Sanches, White, Moder, Sanders, Khadra

Blackpool: Maxwell, Ekpiteta, Thorniley (Lubala), Husband, Gabriel, Garbutt, Williams, Virtue (Kaikai), Robson, Yates (Simms), Madine (Sarkic)

Subs not used: Fojticek, Howe, Mariette, Apter, Holmes

Referee: Darren England

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