Eastbourne Borough 0-3 Blackpool: Gary Madine at the double as Seasiders avoid FA Cup upset against non-league opposition

Gary Madine was Blackpool’s two-goal hero as the Seasiders avoided an FA Cup shock against non-league side Eastbourne Borough.
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Eastbourne Borough v Blackpool as it happened

Neil Critchley’s side eased into the second round thanks to a hard-earned win courtesy of Madine’s second-half brace and Jerry Yates' stoppage-time third.

Blackpool were made to work hard for their victory, their fourth in their last five games, although they could have made life more comfortable for themselves had they been more clinical in front of goal.

Gary Madine was Blackpool's two-goal heroGary Madine was Blackpool's two-goal hero
Gary Madine was Blackpool's two-goal hero
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Nevertheless, the Seasiders will be pleased to have overcome the tricky hurdle in front of the television cameras, pocket around £49,000 in prize money and broadcast fees and put their name in the hat for Monday night’s second round draw.

In the lead-up to the game, Critchley pledged to take the competition seriously and name a strong side.

True to his word, the Blackpool boss made just one change to the side that beat Wigan Athletic in midweek.

Ollie Turton came into the side in place of Grant Ward, who dropped to the bench, taking his place in midfield and allowing Jordan Gabriel to continue at right-back.

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Dan Ballard and Ethan Robson served the final game of their three-match bans, while Luke Garbutt, MJ Williams, Matty Virtue, Keshi Anderson and Oliver Sarkic were all missing through injury.

Ben Woodburn, who has now finished his period of self-isolation following his positive Covid-19 test, also wasn’t involved.

Eastbourne, sitting in seventh place in the National League South table, named a side that included former League players such as Dean Cox and Chris Whelpdale.

What Blackpool could have done with was an early goal and they almost got it with barely 60 seconds on the clock.

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CJ Hamilton beat left-back Kai Innocent for pace down the right before pulling the ball back to Sullay Kaikai, whose first-time effort from six yards out clattered the foot of the post with the goalkeeper rooted to the spot.

The Seasiders struck the same post thanks to the same combination on 12 minutes, Hamilton again having the beating of his marker before putting the ball on a plate for Kaikai, who was denied by the woodwork for a second time.

Blackpool avoided a big scare seconds later when Eastbourne immediately broke at speed, Greg Luer gifted the opportunity to go through one-on-one with Chris Maxwell and it was the Blackpool keeper who came out on top, making a vital save.

Pool maintained the pressure at the other end, Kenny Dougall bringing a good save out of keeper Franco Ravizzoli who got down well to parry away the midfielder’s swerving effort.

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While Blackpool were looking the more likely to make the breakthrough, they remained a little shaky defensively playing on an unfamiliar 4G surface.

That was only too evident when James Husband was beaten too easily by Chris Whelpdale, the forward pulling the ball back to forward Charlie Walker whose first-time effort was superbly blocked by Marvin Ekpiteta.

Just as it appeared the game was entering into a brief lull, the encounter burst straight back into life again with Blackpool squandering another couple of chances.

The first came the way of Gary Madine, who sent an ambitious, swerving howitzer narrowly over the crossbar from all of 40 yards.

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Madine was then involved along with Hamilton as the two combined to play Jerry Yates through on goal, but the forward opted to go for power rather than precision and his drilled effort was hit straight at Ravizzoli.

With the ball remaining alive in the Eastbourne box, the Seasiders, who had earlier had penalty appeals for handball waved away, were denied a spot kick for a second time despite Kaikai clearly being bundled over in the box.

The half ended with Blackpool wasting another chance, Daniel Gretarsson poking just wide after Ekpiteta had flicked on Kaikai’s corner at the near post.

The second-half began in the same trend, Blackpool dominating but missing a glorious chance to take the lead.

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Madine was the guilty part on this occasion, the striker poking agonisingly wide after Kaikai’s effort had deflected fortunately into his path

Referee David Rock produced another sympathetic decision in favour of the non-league hosts, only booking Whelpdale despite the Eastbourne forward appearing to elbow Gretarsson in the face.

It was one-way traffic at the start of the second period and Blackpool finally made the breakthrough just before the hour-mark.

Madine was the man to get the goal, hooking home into the far corner with a clever effort after chesting down James Husband’s left-wing cross.

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The Seasiders really ought to have given themselves breathing space in the coming moments but they squandered two quick chances to put the game to bed for good.

The first fell to Yates, who appeared to have the simple task of tapping home at the far post only to be denied by a superb block from James Vaughan.

The resulting corner produced an unmarked header for Madine but his header was cleared off the goalline.

Thankfully it wasn’t to matter, as Madine completed his brace on 68 minutes to give Blackpool that all-important second goal.

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He combined well with Yates, who laid the ball off to his strike partner who had the time and space to pick out the bottom corner with ease against Blackpool’s tiring opponents.

The hosts did go close to pulling a late goal back as substitute Charley Kendall curled wide of Maxwell’s upright.

A little bit of complacency crept into Blackpool’s game in the dying moments much to the frustration of Critchley and his assistant Mike Garrity, who were furiously barking orders from the dugout.

Thankfully Blackpool soon rediscovered their composure and made sure of the victory in stoppage time, Yates steering home into the far corner after latching onto a through-ball from substitute Dan Kemp.


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Eastbourne: Ravizzoli, Vaughan, Innocent, Ferry, Dickenson, James, Cox (Rollinson), Hammond, Luer, Whelpdale (Kendall), Walker (Gravata)

Subs not used: Blackmore, Lambert, Folarin, Glover

Blackpool: Maxwell, Gabriel, Ekpiteta, Gretarsson, Husband, Turton, Dougall (Ward), Hamilton (Kemp), Kaikai, Yates, Madine (Lubala)

Subs not used: Sims, Mitchell, Howe, Antwi

Referee: David Rock