uper-sub John Herron came off the bench in extra time to help fuel Blackpool’s 4-2 win over Bolton and end their EFL League Cup first round hoodoo.
It is the first time the Seasiders have progressed into the second round of the cup since 2009 and they did it in thrilling fashion at Bloomfield Road on a cold and blustery summer night.
The quest to end their dismal EFL Cup run did have the best start as Bolton’s Jamie Proctor nodded home Liam Trotter’s cross just before the half-time whistle.
The Seasiders withstood a wave of Bolton attacks and turned the game around in a blistering five minute spell as Colin Daniel teed-up his fellow wing-back Kelvin Mellor to rifle in at the back stick in the 72nd minute and the tireless Brad Potts popped up at the back stick to make it 2-1 in the 77th minute.
Gary Bowyer’s men survived a number of late Bolton attacks but substitute Kaiyne Woolery delivered an injury time equaliser as he rounded Sam Slocombe and drilled the ball home from an angle to take the tie to extra time.
After conceding twice in added time you could have forgiven Bowyer’s men for letting their heads drop and believing it was not to be their day, especially with the loss of their fourth striker Jamille Matt, who limped off to join Jack Redshaw, Danny Philliskirk and Kyle Vassell on the treatment bench.
But Bowyer had held back one of his substitutes until the second-half of extra time and unleashed Herron on Bolton’s fatigued back line to devastating effect.
On-loan Leicester City star Michael Cain released one of the balls of the game to send Herron steaming in on the right of the box and he unselfishly squared the ball to stand-in captain Jim McAlister to slot home from close range.
Herron put the icing on the cake as the on-fire Potts raced out of his own third, drew the remaining blue shirts and lifted the ball to the fresh legs of Herron to glide through on goal and chip the ball over Ben Amos.
It was a slow start to proceedings with both managers making seven changes apiece to the starting XIs that featured in both clubs’ opening day wins.
Bowyer’s hand was forced with two changes after striker Danny Philliskirk picked up an ankle injury in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Exeter City at Bloomfield Road and forward Kyle Vassell was not risked ahead of Saturday’s League Two game at Morecambe after picking up a knock to his hip after scoring the opening goal against Exeter.
Captain Danny Pugh, centre-half Tom Aldred and Andy Taylor were all rested and Brad Potts and Bright Osayi-Samuel, who pulled up with cramp in the Exeter game, started on the bench.
After coming off the bench to make their debuts on Saturday Matt, Mark Yeates and Colin Daniel were all handed their first starts for the club.
Former York City player Eddie Nolan and on-loan Leicester City player Michael Cain made their debuts and Mark Cullen made his first appearance of the season as the Seasiders attempted to get into the second round for the first time since 2009.
Only keeper Sam Slocombe, Kelvin Mellor, Jim McAlister and Will Aimson remained from Saturday’s starting line-up in a 5-3-2 formation with Daniel and Mellor playing as wing-backs.
Bolton make seven changes to the side that beat Sheffield United 1-0 on Saturday in League One.
No.1 Ben Amos replaced Mark Howard in goal with goalscorer Proctor, Derik Osede, Mark Davies, Trotter, Tom Walker and Alex Finney coming in for Gary Madine, Jay Spearing, Darren Pratley, Josh Vela, Lewis Buxton and David Wheater.
Howard, Buxton, Vela, Spearing and Madine all moved to the bench with Wheater and the injured Pratley not included in the squad.
Only Dean Moxey, Mark Beevers, Chris Taylor and Laurie Wilson remained from Saturday’s starting line-up.
With injuries to strike duo Vassell (hip knock) and Philliskirk (ankle) the sight of Jamille Matt pulling up with what looked like a knee injury just 15 minutes into the game was not what boss Bowyer would have wished for.
It was Matt’s first start for the Seasiders after joining from Fleetwood in the summer but he could not shake off the knock and Bowyer’s hand was forced once again due to injury as he sent Brad Potts on in the 17th minute.
Potts impressed on the wing on Saturday but due to Matt’s injury and a lack of strikers on the bench due to the current injuries the winger was pushed into an advanced role playing just behind Cullen.
Slocombe just scrambled across his line to stop Trotter’s deflected strike and up the other end Yeates’ effort was just held by Amos.
Potts managed to slip into the gap between Bolton’s midfield and defence to engineer a fine attacking move.
He steamed at the Wanderers defence from the half way line before eventually sliding the ball to Daniel on the right.
Daniel took the ball into the box and slid the ball across the six-yard box where Cullen just sliced the ball off target.
Bolton dominated possession for most of the half but only started to look a threat on the attack, especially from set-pieces and in the air, as the half wore on.
Blackpool just survived a goal mouth scramble thanks to a last-ditch goal line clearance and the woodwork in the 35th minute.
Tom Walker whipped in a corner, Mark Beevers got to the ball first but his looping header was cleared off the line by Daniel, the rebound fell to Alex Finney but he could only nod the ball onto the bar as Blackpool eventually managed to snuff out the danger.
Former Fleetwood man Proctor’s acrobatic effort was just deflected off Aimson into Slocombe’s welcoming arms just before the linesman signalled two minutes added time.
Just seconds later the hosts carved out a chance as Yeates floated the ball in from the left and Cullen just nodded over.
But Bolton finally broke the deadlock moments later as Trotter pumped the ball into the mix from the left wing and Proctor beat the offside trap to drift beyond ‘Pool’s back line and deftly nod the ball over Slocombe just before the half-time whistle.
Bolton were straight out of the blocks in the second half and a host of blue shirts and the mass of travelling Bolton fans behind the goal roared for a penalty after a strike appeared to hit Aimson but the referee waved play on.
Trotter found space in the box but his bobbling strike rolled straight through to Slocombe as Bolton launched numerous attacks but failed to find a clinical touch in front of goal.
Blackpool’s back five withstood their waves of attacks and Bowyer’s men grew in confidence as the half wore on.
Cain was tripped as he tried to find a way through the sea of blue shirts outside the box and Yeates stepped up to curl the ball towards the bottom left-hand corner but Amos just managed to tip the ball round the post.
Potts was booked for a bad challenge on Beevers deep in Bolton’s half as the Seasiders continued to push up.
Blackpool’s wing backs bombed forward and combined to level in the 73rd minute.
Daniel powered down the left wing and whipped the ball over to the back stick where Mellor steamed in to arrow the ball home.
And they were ahead five minutes later as Potts popped up at the back stick to smash the ball home.
But Bolton were not dead and buried and the woodwork came to ‘Pool’s rescue once again as Finney’s header crashed into the left stick before ballooning out to Taylor on the edge of the box but his goalbound effort was blocked by his own man in the six-yard box.
And the visitors finally equalised in added time as substitute Kaiyne Woolery rounded Slocombe on the right but as the recovering tangerine shirts helplessly sprinted to get back they could not stop his angled effort and the tie went to extra time.
It was an uneventful first 15 with the main highlights being Amos coming out to collect and thwart Blackpool substitute Henry Cameron who nearly latched on to a long ball to run one-on-one and Taylor just blasting the ball past the woodwork up the other end.
Bowyer took Yeates off at half-time and threw Herron on and the midfielder was instrumental in Blackpool’s third as he found himself through on goal before unselfishly slipping the ball to McAlister who smashed the ball home in the 109th minute.
Potts could have put the game to bed moments later as he got ahead of the Bolton defence but his fierce, low strike crashed into the legs of Amos.
But the Seasiders did seal it in the 116th minute with a sublime counter-attacking move with no recognised striker on the pitch.
A Bolton attack was cleared to Potts on the left who drew in the remaining Bolton defenders, stormed out of his own third before whipping the ball over to Herron to coolly lift the ball over Amos and send Phil Parkinson’s League One side crashing out of the EFL Cup.
Blackpool: Slocombe, Mellor, McAlister, Robertson, Aimson, Cullen (Cameron, 90), Nolan, Yeates (Herron, 105), Matt (Potts, 17), Daniel, Cain. Subs not used: Letheren, Herron, Osayi-Samuel, Higham.
Bolton: Amos, Moxey, Beevers, Taylor, Proctor (Madine, 63), Osede (Vela, 25), Davies, Trotter, Wilson, Walker (Woolery, 79) Finney. Subs: Howard, Buxton, Vela, Spearing, Madine, Wilkinson.
Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire)
Attendance 3633 (Bolton 2261)