Memory Match: Accrington knock Blackpool out of cup on penalties after 4-4 thriller

Blackpool lost 4-2 on penalties after drawing 4-4 during normal time
Blackpool lost 4-2 on penalties after drawing 4-4 during normal time
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Matt Scrafton trawls through the archives to take a look back at Blackpool's Johnstone Paint Trophy penalty shootout exit to Accrington Stanley on October 31, 2006.

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Blackpool exited the Johnstone Paint Trophy via a penalty shoot-out defeat to Accrington Stanley after drawing an eight-goal thriller.

Pool fans certainly can’t complain about a lack of entertainment.

But what they can complain about is the Seasiders’ back four, or – more accurately – back five as you have to include goalkeeper Rhys Evans.

That defence as a whole will not look back on the evening with any particular fondness.

There was some terribly sloppy stuff as manager Simon Grayson was quick to point out afterwards, but it’s difficult to be too critical.

After all, the backline has been magnificent all season and this was an uncharacteristically bad night, perhaps not helped by the absence of rested captain Michael Jackson.

It appears his leadership and organisational skills were sorely missed.

Grayson – who, as a former winner of this competition, had vowed to take the competition seriously – made sure he obeyed the competition’s new rules... but only just.

He selected six players who had started in the league the previous weekend – as the Football League now say you must – but brought in Marc Joseph, Matthew Blinkhorn, Claus Jorgensen and Marcus Bean for rare starts.

Simon Gillett also returned, back after suspension for his penultimate game before his loan spell expires and he returns to Southampton.

With a much-changed team, it was perhaps no surprise that it took time for the starting 11 to gel and it resulted in a scrappy, though lively, opening half hour.

Accrington, with only three alterations to their weekend team, had the best chances with striker Ian Craney particularly lively.

He twice fired narrowly over and then had the ball in the net direct from a corner.

It was ruled out by referee Paul Robinson for a near-post shove on Rhys Evans but the fact the ball ended in the goal was no fluke.

Apparently it’s Craney’s party piece and he’s scored from corners three times already this season.

Pool, meanwhile, looked handy in patches, Marcus Bean forcing keeper Robert Elliott into a smart save with his diving header. It was a rare bright spot in a bleak night for Bean.

On what was only his second start of the season, he was clattered from pillar to post in midfield and limped off after only 38 minutes.

On came Ciaran Donnelly for his first taste of first-team action all season and a decent, solid job he did too.

By that stage the Seasiders were a goal to the good and a belter it was too.

Keigan Parker delivered a cross from the right which bounced once, sat up nicely and was rammed in by Gillett, heading perfectly into the top corner with power from 12 yards.

That put Grayson’s team in the driving seat, a fact emphasised by a good run and shot by Parker which whistled over the bar and smashed into the face of an unsuspecting and rather surprised Accrington fan.

If ever there was a lesson to be learned about talking to your mate and taking your eye off the action, that was it.

But the aforementioned gentleman, now with bent nose, soon cheered up when the home side hit back.

For what seems about the 100th time in recent seasons, Pool conceded right on the stroke of half-time.

The Seasiders only had themselves to blame, winning possession in their own half then promptly losing it allowing the home side to press forward.

Sean Doherty rammed in a sharp shot from the left, Paul Mullin intelligently laid the ball off via his bottom and it fell to dangerman Cranwy who slotted home from inside the six-yard box.

It was 1-1 at the break but it gave no clue to the entertainment that was to follow, for in the second period it was so frantic it was hard to keep up.

Skipper for the night Shaun Barker headed in Gillett’s corner on 53 minutes to regain the lead for Pool, but Accrington roared back again six minutes later when Andrew Todd fired home a fine, angled drive.

On 64 minutes, the hosts went ahead for the first time. It was truly shocking defending, both Ian Evatt and Rhys Evans appearing to leave a harmless looking free-kick into the area, allowing Mullin to glance a header into the net from 18 yards.

Then Ben Burgess, who had replaced Adrian Forbes, on the hour, made a dream comeback from his hamstring injury.

After Parker had won a penalty, latching onto a glorious touch from Burgess, the big centre forward took it and cooly dispatched it to register his first goal for the club.

With six minutes left, Burgess appeared to have wrapped up victory, rising above a crowd of players to head home another Gillett corner.

But, with the game in stoppage time, Accrington midfielder Robbie Williams volleyed in from the edge of the box after more dodgy defending.

Evans got a hand to the ball but couldn’t stop it.

With no extra time, it was straight to penalties, and Pool exited the competition losing 4-2 on spot kicks.

Burgess failed to repeat his conversion in normal time and Parker also missed, though Accy keeper Elliott deserves credit for producing good saves to stop both kicks.

It meant the successful penalties of Gillett and Carl Dickinson counted for little as Accrington scored all four of their penalties.

TEAMS

Accrington: Elliot, Richardson, Williams, Welch (Edwards), Cavanagh, Craney, Doherty (Mangan), Harris, Procter, Mullin (Brown), Todd

Blackpool: Evans, Barker, Joseph, Evatt, Dickinson, Bean (Donnelly), Forbes (Burgess), Gillett, Jorgensen, Blinkhorn, Parker

Attendance: 1,344