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MATCH REPORT: Blackpool 2-0 QPR

Armand Gnanduillet celebrates putting Blackpool in front
Armand Gnanduillet celebrates putting Blackpool in front

Blackpool progressed to the fourth round of the League Cup for the first time in over a decade with a fully deserved win against QPR.

Goals in either half from Armand Gnanduillet and Jay Spearing proved to be the difference as they saw off Steve McClaren’s Championship outfit.

It looked as though one goal would be enough after Armand Gnanduillet had slammed home from close range after a corner had been flicked into his path.

In truth the game should have been put to bed by half time, but it wasn’t to matter as Spearing sealed Pool’s progression to the next round with a second in the last minute of normal time.

QPR never got going but that was down to Blackpool’s constant high pressing, giving Steve McClaren’s men no time on the ball and Mark Howard was never seriously tested.

The win, which sees Pool extend their unbeaten run to 11 games, means the Seasiders are into the last 16 of the League Cup for the first time since 2007, when they lost 2-0 to Tottenham Hotspurs.

As promised, Terry McPhillips opted to make a few changes but still named a strong line-up.

Michael Nottingham came into the side at right back, replacing Ollie Turton, which was the only change to Blackpool's back five from Saturday's 0-0 draw against Luton Town.

Callum Guy, who impressed off the bench at the weekend, started in midfield alongside Jay Spearing and Jordan Thompson - replacing John O'Sullivan.

There was a new-look front three, with Ryan McLaughlin, Joe Dodoo and Armand Gnanduillet replacing Nathan Delfouneso, Liam Feeney and Mark Cullen.

Meanwhile former Blackpool men Bright Osayi-Samuel, Grant Hall and Alex Baptiste were starters for QPR, but there was no place in Steve McClaren's squad for Joe Lumley.

The Hoops, who are 16th in the Championship, made nine changes to their side from Saturday's 1-0 defeat at home to Norwich City.

Blackpool almost made the perfect start as Guy picked out Curtis Tilt at the back post with a pinpoint cross, but the defender’s stretched toe poked effort was straight at Matt Ingram in the QPR goal.

The Seasiders continued their strong start, with Jordan Thompson going close three minutes later with a fizzed effort which flew just wide of goal.

Ingram was the first keeper to be seriously tested as he got across his goal well to palm Jay Spearing’s free kick away from danger, before getting down to save from a downward Ben Heneghan header.

The game was momentarily stopped as Callum Guy was hooked down by Josh Scowen, who was already on a booking.

The QPR midfielder was given a stern talking-to by referee Tim Robinson, but seconds later was hauled off and substituted - before appearing to lash out at McPhillips as he stormed down the tunnel.

With the game restarting with Guy back on the pitch, Blackpool soon took a deserved lead as Armand Gnanduillet lashed home from close range after Heneghan had flicked a header into the six-yard box.

Blackpool continued to dominate as they pressed QPR high up the pitch, giving them no time on the ball whatsoever.

Spearing was the next Pool player to have an effort on goal, just five minutes before the interval, as he curled over after being set up by Michael Nottingham who had beaten his man with a powerful run down the right.

The manner of QPR’s struggles was highlighted by the half-time stats, which showed McClaren’s men had committed 18 fouls in the opening 45 minutes - receiving four bookings in the process.

Blackpool started the second half just as they had ended the first, on the front foot. Ryan McLaughlin fired over at the near post after connecting with Joe Dodoo’s smart pullback.

Eight minutes into the second period, QPR produced their first meaningful effort on goal as Osman Kakay cut inside before unleashing a weak effort that bobbled into the grateful arms of Mark Howard.

But this marked the beginning of a spell of pressure from the visitors, as Sean Goss whipped in a dangerous looking cross from the right which Howard just about managed to claim at the back post under pressure.

But Pool were still a threat themselves, as the game became a lot more even, with Dodoo bringing a smart save out of Ingram as he tried to pick out the bottom corner after cutting inside his marker.

QPR’s chances of a comeback were given a big hit when Jordan Cousins was given his second yellow of the game with just 20 minutes left to play.

Cousins, who had already been booked in the first half, was shown his marching orders after shoving a Blackpool player after conceding yet another foul.

Despite being a man down, the visitors rallied towards the end as they threw everything forward in search of that equaliser.

In fact, McClaren’s men showed more attacking endeavour in the 20 minutes after the dismissal than they did in the previous 70.

But Blackpool wound the clock down well, and ended up getting a second to seal the win in the final minute of normal time.

It came from skipper Spearing, who lashed home high into the net after being teed up on the edge of the box by Dodoo.

The draw for the fourth round takes place at 9pm on Saturday, September 29.

TEAMS

Blackpool: Howard, Nottingham, Heneghan, Tilt, Bola, Spearing, Guy (Turton), Thompson, McLaughlin (O'Sullivan), Dodoo, Gnanduillet (Delfouneso)

Subs not used: Mafoumbi, O'Connor, Feeney, Cullen

QPR: Ingram, Hall, Cousins, Scowen (Goss), Baptiste, Smith, Chair (Smyth), Osayi-Samuel (Oteh), Wszolek, Kakay, Hamalainen

Subs not used: Brzozowski, Owens, Dalling, Omar

Referee: Tim Robinson

Attendance: 1,910 (496 QPR)