FC St Helens 2 AFC Blackpool 1: Mechanics' cup loss against familiar foes

AFC Blackpool exited the Macron Cup with defeat against an FC St Helens team they had beaten in the Edward Case Cup a week earlier.
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After last week’s penalty heroics on home soil, the Mechanics had the task of facing St Helens away from home.

AFC boss Martin Baird had plenty of faces from which to choose as Conah Bishop, Tarren Moxon, Fran Donaghy and Jake Darnell all returned.

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Liam Birchall also featured and Liam Bleeker started in goal with Dan Hall absent.

Conah Bishop returned for AFC Blackpool on SaturdayConah Bishop returned for AFC Blackpool on Saturday
Conah Bishop returned for AFC Blackpool on Saturday
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The opening 10 minutes were cagey with both teams having half-chances.

AFC’s Jacob Gregory did find the net on 13 minutes, after Adama Sidibeh flicked on a forward ball by Kyle Higham, only to be deemed offside.

Chances continued to come throughout the first half and AFC took the lead just after the half-hour.

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Joe Booth clipped a free-kick into the box, where Sidibeh met it with his head and found the bottom corner for his first AFC goal.

The hosts fought back and levelled on 42 minutes, Steve Ashton tapping home following Bleeker’s initial save.

AFC started the second half well, controlling possession, and Sidibeh almost found the net for a second time but headed over.

Bleeker then made three exceptional saves in quick succession after St Helens broke through the defensive line.

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Baird made three changes on the hour as Birchall, Adam Sumner, and Josh Dolby replaced Moxon, Ben Duffield and Callum McHale.

However, he then saw Booth collect two yellow cards within three minutes and St Helens had the last word on 84 minutes.

Jack Graham’s powerful long-range effort took a deflection before creeping in off the crossbar.

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