Reading 2-2 Blackpool: Armand Gnanduillet misses penalty as Seasiders' forced into FA Cup third round replay

Nathan Delfouneso scored for the third round running
Nathan Delfouneso scored for the third round running
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Blackpool will face a FA Cup third round replay with Reading after the two sides played out a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Madejski Stadium.

READ MORE: Reading v Blackpool as it happened

The Seasiders will get a second chance to upset their Championship opponents after squandering the chance to do it at the first opportunity.

Simon Grayson’s men edged ahead against the run of the play during the first half, Nathan Delfouneso continuing his fine FA Cup scoring run with a close-range effort.

The Seasiders were the better side after their breakthrough but they were pegged back at the start of the second half, Sam Baldock arrowing a powerful shot into the top corner.

But Pool took just four minutes to restore their lead, Armand Gnanduillet getting in on the act with a powerful finish.

But the hosts weren’t to be denied, levelling for a second time through Danny Loader’s clever finish.

The Seasiders had the chance to edge ahead for a third time when they were awarded a penalty just two minutes later.

But Gnanduillet squandered the opportunity, striking the crossbar after opting to chop his spot kick.

Pool, who will now face Reading in their replay on Tuesday, January 14, could potentially come face-to-face with fans’ favourite Charlie Adam in what promises to be a memorable Bloomfield Road homecoming.

The 34-year-old was left out of the Reading squad altogether for this tie, as Mark Bowen made 11 changes to his side.

Meanwhile there were four changes to the Blackpool line-up from the New Year’s Day defeat at Rotherham United.

In came Curtis Tilt, Calum Macdonald, Callum Guy and Liam Feeney with Ryan Edwards, James Husband and Sullay Kaikai all dropping down to the bench.

Jordan Thompson, meanwhile, didn’t travel due to picking up an injury.

Ben Heneghan started potentially his last game for the club ahead of his return to Sheffield United on January 14.

New signing Grant Ward was named among the substitutes but Jordan Thorniley wasn’t included in the 18 despite travelling with the squad.

There was also a rare spot on the bench for Ryan Hardie, who hasn’t featured since the EFL Trophy defeat to Scunthorpe United in November.

The home supporters were singing the praises of midfielder Gareth McCleary in the early stages, comparing him to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.

But those comparisons were made to look foolish five minutes in when he blazed the first shot of the game high and wide.

But it was the home side who were well on top in the early stages, Mark Howard forced to get down low to save Sam Baldock’s curling effort before captain Matt Miazga headed over from a corner.

The Seasiders continued to look nervy and struggled to keep hold of possession, with the home side keen to close, press and harry.

Pool’s first attempt of the afternoon came from Callum Guy on 17 minutes, the midfielder failing to control his long-range effort which flew well over Sam Walker’s bar.

Just as the Seasiders looked to be growing into the game, the hosts came inches away from taking the lead through the dangerous Sam Baldock.

The forward got across Curtis Tilt at the near post to flick a clever effort towards goal that beat Mark Howard but ricocheted off the post.

Pool continued to live dangerously, with Jordan Obita flashing a first-time effort narrowly wide of Howard’s top corner.

But, against the run of play, the Seasiders took the lead on 28 minutes through Nathan Delfouneso.

The forward stooped low to head home from close range after strike partner Armand Gnanduillet had nodded the ball down into his path.

It was Delfouneso’s sixth goal of the season and his fourth in the FA Cup, the forward now able to boast scoring in every round of the competition having also netted in the games against Morecambe and Maidstone United.

It led to chants of “Charlie, what’s the score” from the away end before the Pool fans changed tact, singing “Charlie is tangerine”.

Reading offered very little after Pool’s breakthrough. In fact, the Seasiders looked the more threatening and almost doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time, Guy seeing his low strike deflect agonisingly wide with the keeper well beaten.

Delfouneso squandered a priceless chance to double his tally at the start of the second half, shooting weakly at Walker after doing well to carve some space for himself inside the Reading box.

Pool were made to pay for that miss as less than 10 minutes later they were pegged back, Baldock levelling for the hosts.

It was a sublime finish from the striker, picking out the top corner despite Howard’s best efforts after beating Heneghan to the ball.

Bizarrely, Baldock was brought off just three minutes later and replaced by Danny Loader, a 19-year-old forward.

Reading were level for just four minutes, Gnanduillet edging the Seasiders ahead for a second time with an emphatic finish.

The striker, scoring his 15th of the season, latched onto a ball over the top before brushing off his marker and hitting the roof of the net with a powerful finish.

The goal kicked sparked a crazy few minutes of action, the Royals levelling for a second time just six minutes later.

Loader, the man to replace Baldock, got the goal, cleverly flicking an effort beyond the desperate reach of Howard and into the bottom corner.

Which it was a cute finish, Howard will have been left frustrated not to have kept out the effort.

Pool were gifted the opportunity to make it 3-2 just two minutes later when they were awarded a penalty when Gnanduillet was brought to ground inside the box.

The striker lifted himself off the turf to take the spot kick, only to be left red-faced after hitting the crossbar with an ambitious panenka penalty.

Pool wasted another glorious chance to edge ahead for the third time in the game, but this time they were denied by a stunning save from Walker.

The keeper somehow managed to keep out Delfouneso’s close-range effort after the forward had poked Matty Virtue’s cross towards goal.

Grayson handed a late debut to new signing Grant Ward, who replaced Feeney in the 89th minute of proceedings.

But the winger had no time to leave a lasting impact as the game fizzled out into a draw, leaving both sides to settle for a replay to determine who will progress into the fourth round.

TEAMS

Reading: Walker, Miazga, Rinomhota, Boye (Aluko), Olise, Howe, Richards, Burley (Medford-Smith), McCleary, Obita, Baldock (Loader)

Subs not used: Blackett, East, Barrett, Southwood

Blackpool: Howard, Turton, Heneghan, Tilt, Macdonald (Husband), Spearing, Guy, Virtue, Feeney (Ward), Delfouneso, Gnanduillet

Subs not used: Sims, Edwards, Kaikai, Hardie, Nuttall

Referee: John Brooks

Attendance: 10,181 (874 Blackpool)