Harrogate Town 0-4 Blackpool: Strong second-half display sees Neil Critchley's men reach third round of the FA Cup

Blackpool eased into the potentially lucrative third round of the FA Cup with a comfortable win against League Two new boys Harrogate Town.
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Harrogate Town v Blackpool as it happened

Blackpool eased into the potentially lucrative third round of the FA Cup with a comfortable win against League Two new boys Harrogate Town.

After a scrappy first-half low on quality, the game sprung to life in the second period with the Seasiders creating numerous clear-cut chances.

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They took just five minutes of the second-half to break the deadlock, as Harrogate-born Luke Garbutt saw his corner deflect into the back of the net.

Neil Critchley’s side dominated from this point onwards and doubled their lead just before the hour mark when Grant Ward rifled home from the edge of the box.

The game was put to bed five minutes from time when Jordan Gabriel had the simple task of tapping home his first goal for the club after Demetri Mitchell’s shot across the face of goal had hit the inside of the post.

A fourth shortly followed in the first-half of stoppage time, Dan Kemp tapping home seconds after Kevin Lokko had been shown a straight red card for hauling Gary Madine to the ground.

Luke Garbutt celebrates Blackpool's opening goalLuke Garbutt celebrates Blackpool's opening goal
Luke Garbutt celebrates Blackpool's opening goal
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The Seasiders, who have now won six of their last seven games, will find out their third round opponents on Monday evening.

With another important league game coming up in midweek against Portsmouth, Neil Critchley opted to make six changes to the side that lost 3-2 against Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night.

Out went Ollie Turton, Daniel Gretarsson, James Husband, Ethan Robson, Sullay Kaikai and Jerry Yates.

In their place came Jordan Gabriel, Dan Ballard and Luke Garbutt - returning from injury to take on his hometown club - as well as Grant Ward, Keshi Anderson and Ben Woodburn.

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The likes of Gretarsson, Robson and Kaikai were dropped from the squad altogether, while Teddy Howe, Jordan Thorniley and Oliver Sarkic continue to be left out.

MJ Williams (elbow) and Matty Virtue remain sidelined through injury.

The Seasiders made a bright start to the game, almost breaking the deadlock with just 90 minutes on the clock.

CJ Hamilton made one of his trademark runs down the right, beating Connor Hall to the punch before balling a cross into the path of Anderson whose first-time effort was deflected wide.

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Hamilton continued to have the beating of Hall down Blackpool’s right early on, beating him for pace on two or three occasions.

But the game, by and large, was a scrappy one which will have suited the home side, despite Blackpool looking the more likely to make the breakthrough.

But Harrogate probably ought to have taken the lead on 16 minutes when Jack Muldoon found himself one-on-one with Chris Maxwell.

The forward, latching onto Mark Beck’s clever flick-on, was about to pull the trigger when Marvin Ekpiteta recovered to make a vital last-ditch tackle.

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Five minutes later, Blackpool created another good opening, which once again came down their right.

Hamilton latched onto Anderson’s clever through-ball, pulling the ball back to Ben Woodburn. But, with the goal at his mercy from 10 yards, the Liverpool loanee’s touch let him down and the chance went begging.

The Seasiders were guilty of wasting another presentable opening when they broke with speed and numbers from a Harrogate corner, only for the counter-attack to end in disappointment when Grant Ward’s ambitious long-range strike was blocked.

Pool continued to press and probe, Gary Madine flicking just wide of the near post from Grant Ward’s first-time cross 10 minutes before the break.

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As the game edged towards half-time, Critchley’s side remained in control of proceedings but their quality and decision-making in the final third left a lot to be desired.

What Blackpool needed to settle them down at the start of the second-half was a goal and thankfully that’s exactly what they got.

It came in bizarre circumstances, with Garbutt - born and raised in Harrogate - seeing his vicious corner deflect into the back of the net via the head of a home defender.

The goal was credited to Garbutt, although it certainly appeared to take a touch off someone in a crowded penalty area.

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To Harrogate’s credit, they responded well to Blackpool’s opener and created a good opening to level just five minutes later.

Warren Burrell stole the ball off the toes of Woodburn on the halfway line, marching forward before laying the ball off to Jack Muldoon who could only shoot straight at Maxwell from inside the area.

Blackpool were denied a second just before the hour-mark when Harrogate keeper James Belshaw made a stunning double save.

The shot stopper got down well to palm Woodburn’s curling effort away from goal before immediately picking himself off the ground to somehow tip Hamilton’s shot behind for a corner.

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But there was nothing Belshaw could do to deny Ward from the resulting delivery, as the midfielder - settling himself with his first touch - rifled home a powerful effort into the bottom corner afterGarbutt’s cross had only been partially cleared.

A third nearly followed as Hamilton twisted and turned before directing a low effort towards the bottom corner, but Belshaw was there to deny him for a second time.

Hamilton was left to rue Harrogate’s number one for a third time just moments after Maxwell had parried Brendan Kiernan’s 25-yard effort away from goal.

The Harrogate keeper used his legs well to deny Hamilton as he looked to catch him out at the near post after latching onto Anderson’s clever pass.

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The chances continued to come Blackpool’s way, as substitute Bez Lubala somehow transpired to shoot over from inside the six-yard box after Harrogate had once again failed to clear their lines from a corner.

After Madine had shot over with a rising effort, Pool added further gloss to the scoreline when Jordan Gabriel added a third five minutes from time.

It came after substitute Demetri Mitchell had hit the post within seconds of coming on, but Gabriel was there to tap home on the goalline.

The action didn’t stop there though, with time still remaining for some late drama.

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It began with Harrogate defender Kevin Lokko being shown a straight red card for bringing Madine to the ground as he looked to surge through on goal.

The resulting free-kick saw Ekpiteta nod the ball towards goal where substitute Dan Kemp was there to tap home virtually on the goalline.


Harrogate: Belshaw, Falkingham (Kirby), Burrell, Thomson, Lawlor, Kerry, Miller (Kiernan), Hall, Lokko, Muldoon, Beck

Subs not used: Martin, Fallowfield, Cracknell, Stead

Blackpool: Maxwell, Gabriel, Ekpiteta, Ballard, Garbutt, Dougall, Ward, Anderson (Kemp), Hamilton (Mitchell), Woodburn (Lubala), Madine

Subs not used: Sims, Husband, Turton, Yates

Referee: James Oldham