Midfielder Jim McAlister praised Jamille Matt after the striker’s first goal for Blackpool set them on course for FA Cup victory over Kidderminster and for a second-round tie at home to Gillingham or Brackley Town.
The 27-year-old opened the scoring against his former club in Sunday’s first-round home tie, which Pool won 2-0. And they could face another National League North club at Bloomfield Road in the second round if Brackley can overcome the League One Gills in their replay, having drawn 2-2 in Kent last weekend.
Matt’s stooping header, his first goal since a brace on loan for Plymouth against Portsmouth in the League Two play-off semi-finals in May, came at a cost as he was forced off with a hip injury, which isn’t believed to be serious.
Matt scored on his 11th Pool appearance after his summer switch from Fleetwood and McAlister said: “The boys have been crying out for the big man to score. It was a good move and a fantastic leap. He’s managed to control the header and put it in the corner. Everyone is delighted for him.
“It’s just unfortunate he had to go off after he scored.
McAlister, who came into the side to partner the impressive Michael Cain in midfield, praised Blackpool’s professionalism last weekend.
He added: “I know from past experience that these kind of cup ties are lose-lose situations, so it was a good professional job from the boys.
“You find that non-league sides tend to start well in the first 10 or 15 minutes because they’re playing on adrenaline.
“We just told ourselves to keep it tight and take the first chance when it came. Thankfully Jamille did that and it killed the game.”
McAlister also stressed the importance of Pool’s first clean sheet in 11 games – their last was in the 3-0 win at Yeovil at the start of September.
He added: “We knew Kidderminster would have a spell in the second half. We expected them to make some changes and throw bodies up front, but the boys at the back were excellent and made some last-ditch blocks.
“I felt we were pretty comfortable and we could have added to the score with some chances on the break.
“The manager made some changes but it didn’t upset the rhythm, which is important.”
Blackpool head to Goodison Park tonight (7.30pm) to face a young Everton side in their final group game in the Checkatrade Trophy.