Fans’ Panel: Now let’s get to Goodison

Kevin Phillips rifles in the late penalty against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday to earn a fourth-round FA Cup replay at Hillsborough.
Kevin Phillips rifles in the late penalty against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday to earn a fourth-round FA Cup replay at Hillsborough.
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An ultra-rare Seasiders appearance in the FA Cup’s fifth-round draw (even though they still aren’t through) and the return of Keith Southern – our fans’ panel certainly aren’t short of Tangerine talking points.


So we live to fight again in the FA Cup with an away trip to Goodison the reward for the winners of the replay. Saturday was a missed opportunity.

We should have had the game dead and buried before half-time, as we dominated possession, and chances, with Matt Phillips tormenting the visitors down the flanks, and the keeper making one fantastic save from Clarke in particular, to keep them in it.

Much like the Palace game when we were on top, we ultimately failed to make the most of it and got careless, allowing a breakaway goal after giving away possession in midfield, and then having to work our way past a 10-man defence as they set out their stall to try and hold on to their lead.

Ultimately, our patience paid dividends, as constant probing finally led to the concession of a penalty, coolly dispatched by the nerveless Kevin Phillips.

The replay means we now have three consecutive midweek games, which should enable the large squad to all get some game time.

I believe we have enough about us to compete on two fronts, and the additions up front of Dicko and Bednar add to that strength in depth. Bring on Coventry when it would be nice to get in front early for once.

Man of match: Kevin Phillips


Our record of reaching the fifth round of the FA Cup is not brilliant, and for a large part of Saturday that record didn’t look like being improved.

For most of the first half, we looked like the higher league side, and just couldn’t make the domination count.

But losing the goal when we did took the wind out of our sails. It was an unfortunate goal to concede, while down to 10 men, and we really struggled to find our rhythm after that.

The players who were running the show in the first half – Eardley, Matt Phillips and all the midfield – couldn’t really get back into the game.

Still, we managed to get the replay, and now we have another chance for a fifth-round meeting with Everton.

Everything that we did well after the Wednesday goal has to be attributed to Gary Taylor-Fletcher – when he came on he was absolutely magnificent

Looking comfortable with a free role, he was only missing a goal. Perhaps a timely reminder of his capabilities for those giving him stick in recent weeks.

I’d like to see a strong team in the replay, but we are now playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday for a few weeks, and ultimately the league campaign must always come first.

Special mention for Keith Southern too. After everything he’s been through it must have been great for him to be back out there.

With the arrival of Roman Bednar, we’ve got brilliant options all over the pitch now, and we’re in a fantastic position to push on.

Man of match: Gary Taylor-Fletcher


And so we find ourselves in the draw for the fifth round of the FA Cup – I didn’t know it went that far – and a plum tie at Everton awaits us, should we overcome Wednesday at Hillsborough.

This is some incentive – another chance for us to pit our wits against Premier League opposition.

Can we make it through this cup tie with Sheffield Wednesday, having failed to beat them on both occasions this season in two cup competitions? I believe we can.

On Saturday, we once again found ourselves faced with opponents who seemed content to sit back and defend against us.

And once again – although this perhaps does help to curtail our goal tally – we found a way through in the end.

Persistence, intelligence and fitness win the day. Or at least draw.

We are now becoming last-gasp goal specialists. Slowly but surely, we are developing and constantly improving. A last-minute penalty to grasp control of a cup tie? We’ll have us some of that!

In fact, we nearly went on to win it, but let’s cash in on a replay instead.

On their home turf, Wednesday must open up more and try to attack us. The home crowd will demand it, and this will provide us ample opportunity to go in for the kill and claim a trip to Goodison as our prize.

The cup gives us a chance to showcase some of the talent from deeper down in our squad, and I like the look of Bob Harris.

New boy Dicko looked lively when he came on, and I am looking forward to seeing Bednar, who I understand forms a deadly partnership with Super Kev.

Man of match: Matt Gilks


I have a confession for you all: I bet against my own team in my tenfold accumulator at the weekend.

I never want Blackpool to lose, but had my admittedly long-shot 28,000-1 bet come in, I could have lived with it.

But I know Holloway and I know his players – their priority is always to the league, and quite right too, so I expected a weakened team.

It was great to see Keith Southern make his long-awaited return, but he shouldn’t have played.

Before you barrage me with hate, hear me out. I’m a huge admirer of Southern, and I think he’s a cracking player, but he had been out for around eight weeks, and hadn’t even completed a reserve game or a full week’s training before the match.

It was a romantic notion to give him the captain’s armband and welcome him back with open arms, but I can’t help feel it would have been far more significant had he been fully match fit and gone on to help us win a match.

We can’t afford to throw players in at the deep end when we’re trying to get into the FA Cup fifth round for the first time in more than 20 years, which we now have to try to achieve in a replay against a very good League One side.

I can’t sign off this week without a mention for Elliot Grandin.

It’s extremely unlikely we’ll see him play in Tangerine again, but he handled his departure with great dignity and I’d like to wish him all the best.

Man of match: Gary Taylor-Fletcher


We’re still in the FA Cup – by the skin of our teeth – and with the prospect of a visit to the ground that gave us one of our most exciting matches of the Premier League season in prospect, I hope we go full pelt to win the replay at Hillsborough.

There were a fair few changes made for Saturday’s game – a few too many in my opinion, but we have a big squad who are there to be utilised, and them getting game-time should benefit us later on in the season.

In fairness to Bob Harris, who has only had a chance to shine in cup matches so far, he performed well throughout and looks a very reliable back up for Crainey.

In midfield, what a boost it was to see the return of Keith Southern.

His tenacity and battling qualities epitomise the team spirit within the club.

I couldn’t believe we went into the half-time break without scoring, as we made them look every inch a side a division below us.

In the second half after they scored, they were content to sit back and invite us to attack.

The stats show we had 21 shots at goal with 58% possession, but it took a penalty in injury time for us to get that equaliser.

I think it’s likely we will again see a multitude of changes for tonight’s game against Coventry, but this is a good chance to close the gap on those above us.

With Cardiff to come on Saturday, we have some crucial league games where we really need points.

Man of match: Chris Basham