MATCH REPORT: Blackburn 2-0 Blackpool

Elliott Bennett lets fly for Blackburn's second
Elliott Bennett lets fly for Blackburn's second
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Blackpool exited the FA Cup at the fourth round stage courtesy of two moments of real Championship quality from Blackburn Rovers.

There was little to choose between the sides but Blackpool were never realistically in with a shout of causing their second cup shock in as many rounds after beating Barnsley last time out.

Despite putting in a spirited effort, with Blackpool ending the game with 10 men after Kelvin Mellor's dismissal, Rovers' two clinical finishes in the first half proved to be the difference as they cruised home to a comfortable victory at Ewood Park.

Both before and during the game, around 1,000 protesters representing both clubs took part in a protest outside the ground to vent their anger at how their clubs are being run.

There were still 1,500 Blackpool fans housed in the Darwen End - a number well down on what would have turned up under normal circumstances.

The game was also momentarily stopped after a number on tennis balls were thrown onto the pitch from outside the ground.

The Seasiders seemed to start the game negatively as they immediately retreated into their defensive shell as the hosts looked to get their foot on the ball in the early stages.

But it was Gary Bowyer’s men who had the first opportunity of the game with Danny Pugh seeing his shot blocked on the edge of the box after Bright Osayi-Samuel had almost gone in behind the Rovers defence.

But Championship quality shone through as Rovers scored with their first attempt on goal, although it was a sloppy one to concede from Blackpool’s point of view.

Full back Jason Lowe whipped in a hopeful cross into the Pool box and striker Sam Gallagher was there to head home into an empty net after beating Sam Slocombe to the ball.

The early goal seemed to spring Blackpool into action and they had a couple of good opportunities in as many minutes, with Osayi-Samuel shooting straight at Jason Steele in the Rovers goal after Andy Taylor had blazed over on his weak foot.

Despite leading 1-0, the home fans were beginning to get restless with their side’s slow possession-based football but they were soon brought out of their seats by a moment of real quality.

Blackburn’s second came via a stunning 25-yard effort from Elliott Bennett who dipped his shot into the top corner after a quick one-two in the middle of the park.

Pool almost reduced arrears with their own shot from range but Jack Payne’s ambitious effort went narrowly wide of the top corner.

The Seasiders thought they were back in it on the half-hour mark when Tom Aldred headed home in what looked like a carbon-copy of Blackburn’s opener, but the linesman had his flag up.

The visitors went close to pulling a goal back in first half injury time but Jim McAlister could only head wide from Andy Taylor’s left-wing cross.

Rovers seemed content to hold onto their lead in the second period, only making sporadic breaks into the Blackpool half.

Any hopes of a Blackpool revival were dashed halfway through the second half as Kelvin Mellor was sent off for two yellows in the space of five minutes.

Despite going down to 10 men, Blackpool had their best chance of the game with Will Aimson seeing his back post header crash off the woodwork,

Substitute Jamille Matt then flashed a header over the Rovers bar as the Seasiders rallied with a man down. Matt then found himself in a bit of space in Rovers' final third but could only blaze well over the bar.

The final few minutes of the game passed without much drama as Owen Coyle's men secured their passage through to the fifth round.

Blackburn: Steele, Greer, Williams, Lowe, Akpan (Guthrie), Nyambe, Lenihan, Bennett, Conway, Gallagher, Graham (Mahone)

Subs not used: Raya, Stokes, Tomlinson, Brown, Travis

Blackpool: Slocombe, Mellor, Aimson, Aldred, Robertson, Taylor, Payne (Yeates), Pugh, McAlister, Osayi-Samuel (Matt), Cullen (Odelusi)

Subs not used: Lyness, Nolan, Daniel, Philliskirk

Referee: Peter Bankes

Attendance: 9,327 (1,605)