FULL-TIME: Blackpool 2, Sunderland 3

Blackpool exited the Carabao Cup 3-2 after a pulsating second round tie against Sunderland at Bloomfield Road.

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 8:36 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 8:22 am

Aiden O'Brien was the hero for Black Cats as he broke the Tangerines' hearts with a superb hat-trick, including a stoppage time winner.

The Tangerines - who had four players aged 20 and below in their starting line-up - had opened the scoring in the ninth minute through Shayne Lavery, but that lead lasted just three minutes as Aiden O'Brien brought the scores level.

O'Brien put the Mackems in front 12 minutes after the break thanks to a deflected effort, but substitute Josh Bowler brought the scores level two minutes from time.

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Shayne Lavery is congratulated by his team-mates after opening the scoring

However, O'Brien had the final say, beating the offside trap in added on time to slot past Dan Grimshaw and win the tie for Sunderland.

It was Blackpool who started more brightly and had the first opening after four minutes but Reece James sliced his shot high and wide after good work by CJ Hamilton down the right.

Just a minute later, the home side had their first shot on goal but Tyreece John-Jules appeared surprised by the ball dropping at his feet and directed his effort straight at Anthony Patterson in the Sunderland goal.

However, the Tangerines continued to play on the front foot and got their reward in the ninth minute with the opening goal.

Blackpool's Richard Keogh battles with Sunderland's Nathan Broadhead

It was certainly a well-worked move as Cameron Antwi carried the ball forward in midfield before passing to Sonny Carey.

The striker turned and ran the at the visitors' defence before feeding John-Jules down the left.

He took on Mackems' defender Frederik Alves before crossing into the danger area where Lavery was on hand to prod the ball home.

The home supporters had barely died before Sunderland had their equaliser in the 12th minute.

O'Brien timed his run perfectly to latch on to Dan Neil's inch-perfect through ball and slot past Grimshaw.

Thirteen minutes later, the hosts had a let-off when Nathan Broadhead broke into the area, cut inside Richard Keogh but scuffed his subsequent shot straight at Grimshaw.

Lavery almost got his second of the night on 33 minutes and it would have been route one. He latched on to Grimshaw's long punt forward, but under pressure from Alves his shot failed to trouble Patterson.

Two minutes later, Broadhead thought he had given the Black Cats the lead when he fired home Alex Pritchard's centre, but the assistant referee's flag was raised to signal offside.

With three minutes to go before the interval, O'Brien had a great opportunity to put Sunderland in front when he beat the offside trap once again but fired wide with only Grimshaw to beat.

Just a minute later, it was the hosts who should have been celebrating but Carey saw his point-blank shot deflected for a corner after great work by himself, Lavery and John-Jules.

Like the start of the match, it was James who had the first attempt of the second half for Blackpool.

The former Black Cat latched on to a loose ball on the edge of the area but his left-foot shot flashed across goal.

Not for the first time, Carey found space in between the lines and ran at the visitors' backline but his shot from outside the area flashed over the bar.

Despite being on the back foot for the opening 10 minutes of the second half, Sunderland took the lead in the 57th minute.

A corner from the right by Pritchard evaded everybody and found its way to O'Brien unmarked in the penalty area on the left-hand side.

He composed himself before unleashing a right-foot volley which took a wicked deflection off Dan Gretarsson past the helpless Grimshaw.

Sunderland began to control proceedings with clear goalscoring opportunities few and far between.

That was until Tangerines boss Neil Critchley threw on Jerry Yates and Keshi Anderson in the 79th minute.

The former almost had an instant impact as he raced into the penalty box on the left-hand side. He cut inside but his shot was brilliantly tipped around the post by Patterson.

Grimshaw had to be alert at the other end as Jack Diamond stung his palms with a low drive in the 82nd minute.

Blackpool finally got the rewards their efforts deserved with just two minutes of normal time remaining.

John-Jules made progress inside the area before slipping the ball inside for Bowler who had the simplest of tasks of sliding the ball home past Patterson.

Soon after Keogh headed straight at Patterson following Luke Garbutt's corner from the left.

Just when the tie looked to be heading to penalties, O'Brien popped up with the winner in stoppage time.

A ball played into the box was slotted home from close range by the former Millwall attacker with Blackpool's defence static appealing for offside.

Blackpool: Dan Grimshaw, Oliver Casey, Richard Keogh, Dan Gretarsson, Luke Garbutt, Cameron Antwi (Josh Bowler 69), Reece James, CJ Hamilton (Keshi Anderson 78), Sonny Carey, Tyreece John-Jules, Shayne Lavery (Jerry Yates 78).

Subs: Stuart Moore, Marvin Ekpiteta, James Husband, Brad Holmes.

Sunderland: Anthony Patterson, Niall Huggins, Frederik Alves (Callum Doyle 75), Nathan Broadhead (Ross Stewart 73), Aiden O'Brien, Carl Winchester, Dennis Cirkin, Alex Pritchard (Elliot Embleton 73), Jack Diamond, Dan Neil, Bailey Wright

Subs: Harrison Bond, Lynden Gooch, Ellis Taylor, Josh Hawkes.

Referee: Peter Wright (Merseyside)

Attendance: 5,756