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Memory Match: MK Dons 0-2 Blackpool, 2006

Keigan Parker put in a fine display
Keigan Parker put in a fine display

Matt Scrafton trawls through the archives to look back at Blackpool's FA Cup win at MK Dons on December 6, 2006.

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David Fox in action against MK Dons

David Fox in action against MK Dons

On the face of it, Milton Keynes seems a bit of a bland town but Blackpool’s visit to the area proved highly enjoyable for the 500 or so supporters who made the trek to witness their FA Cup victory.

On their previous two trips to Milton Keynes, Blackpool had been heavily beaten.

But on this occasion they never looked like losing and it is yet another indication of how much Simon Grayson’s team has improved as they eased into the third round.

On paper, a meeting with a big, physical side currently flying in League Two and managed by the always fired-up Martin Allen seemed a very tricky assignment.

In the end it was remarkably comfortable and, although the home team did have opportunities to score, by the same token if the Seasiders had taken all their chances they could have reached double figures.Keigan Parker alone squandered three one-on-one openings, which probably makes it seem as though he had a bad game.

He didn’t. He was excellent and the catalyst behind the victory.

Parker scored a lovely goal, beating the offside trap and curling the ball past keeper Lee Harper with the outside of his foot.

Then he wrapped the game up by creating the crucial second: chasing a David Fox through ball, showing great strength to hold off a defender and putting the ball on a plate for his strike partner Andy Morrell who couldn’t miss.

It was a brilliant piece of play by Parker, who once again showed his worth to the side with an unstoppable display against an admittedly slow MK Dons defence.

Yes, he could have scored more. But he deserves credit for what he did and his partnership with Morrell is looking more potent by the week.

Despite suggesting he’d shuffle his pack for the game, Grayson made just one change and an enforced one at that – Claus Jorgensen in for the suspended Wes Hoolahan.

Concerns that Jorgensen, a central midfielder, might struggle on the flank proved unfounded.

He produced a disciplined and professional performance.

In truth it was an odd match, because it wasn’t particularly entertaining and yet there was a hatful of gilt-edged chances, mainly for Blackpool but four for the home side as well.

After a slow and cagey opening quarter, Jon-Paul McGovern should have done better but got the ball stuck under his feet when six yards out and in bags of space.

Adrian Forbes twice went close and that burst of energy got Pool going.

The terrific David Fox threaded a beauty of a ball through the Dons defence and sent Parker scampering clear, but the Scot dragged his shot wide.

Any thoughts that the miss might be costly didn’t last long as two minutes later, Rhys Evans booted a long goal kick forward, Forbes produced a terrific flick on and this time Parker made no mistake to give Pool the lead.

The home fans thought it was offside - it did look borderline - but it led to a bizarre intervention from the MK Dons announcer at the break.

He stormed onto the pitch and said: “If I stand here, am I on or offside?”

Fox put a left foot shot wide after breaking into the box via a lovely exchange of passes with Jorgensen and then Scott Taylor, the former Blackpool man, missed a sitter on the stroke of half time - volleying over from eight yards.

That particular miss summed up Taylor’s season. At Bloomfield Road he was prolific but he’s having a bad time of it at the moment and has not scored in his last 19 appearances.

However, that chance illustrated the home side were still a threat, which made the next goal crucial.

Pool got it. Parker crossed for Morrell just four minutes after the break and from then on they were on cruise control.

Parker twice more sprinted clear but missed the target, and then broke once again and unselfishly chipped a sideways ball to Keith Southern, who poked a left-foot volley over the bar with the net gaping.

In Southern’s defence, the chance wasn’t as easy as it perhaps appeared. Parker’s pass was waist high and difficult to control.

As Pool started to wind down and relax a little - apart from the tireless Morrell, who continued to close down defenders as if his life depended on it - the home side had a couple of good openings but the close-range finishing of Sean O’Hanlon and Lloyd Dyer left much to be desired.

From six yards out, the latter fired not only over the bar but over the top of the stand too – the ball landing in the car park of the nearby Staples superstore.

Substitute Marcus Bean fizzed a good effort wide late on and on-loan Nottingham Forest defender Vincent Fernandez made his debut off the bench in the final minute.

Grayson shook the hand of each of his players at the final whistle, applauding the travelling fans and praised his side’s professional performance.

MK Dons: Harper, Crooks, O’Hanlon, Butler, Lewington, McGovern, Wilbraham, Andrews, Dyer, Platt (Edds), Taylor (Hastings)

Subs not used: Baines, Diallo, Mitchell

Blackpool: Evans, Barker, Evatt, Jackson, Dickinson, Jorgensen, Fox (Bean), Southern, Forbes, Morrell (Fernandez), Parker

Subs not used: Vernon, Burgess, Farrelly

Attendance: 3,837