Mark Howard: Blackpool made extra quality count in FA Cup
Blackpool goalkeeper Mark Howard believes the Seasiders' extra quality secured them their FA Cup clash with Arsenal.
The Seasiders had raced into a two-goal lead thanks to early goals from Armand Gnanduillet and Joe Dodoo only to be pegged back by Adi Yussuf’s double.
But Pool improved and got the job done in the extra half-hour, and Howard believes that bit of quality at the end proved the difference.
He said: “It was a tough game. They made it really difficult for us and they made it into a really scrappy game.
“Obviously we’re delighted to get through and that bit of quality Jay has got showed through at the end.
“We put in a big shift. It was never going to be a nice game, especially after the first game, because they just make it difficult for you. But it’s obviously an exciting game to look forward to.
“We knew the quality we’ve got could show through and we just had to wear them down a bit more.
“I think we stopped doing that in the second half, so in extra-time we just said we had to move the ball a bit more and obviously that led to us winning the penalty.”
Solihull put Howard under all sorts of pressure with their aerial bombardment of Blackpool’s goal, but the 32-year-old helped relieve pressure by claiming a number of their high crosses.
He also made a vital save to deny Yussuf after the Solihull striker looked certain to find the back of the net from just six yards out.
Howard added: “I just had to close the angle down and make it as difficult as possible for him.
“It’s just one of those things – when I’m called upon hopefully I can make the save.
“You get used to it (the long balls). I think in the first half they tested the water and put a lot of crosses on top of me.
“They stopped after that for a bit and then towards the end of the game picked up again a little bit.
“But we’ve got some great defenders, who make some massive clearances and blocks, so it makes my job a lot easier when they’re winning their headers.
Having gone two goals down, Solihull got themselves back on level terms thanks to a controversial penalty at the start of the second half.
Spearing was adjudged to have brought down Alex Gudger in the box, despite appearing to make a clean tackle.
“I think Jay won the ball,” Howard said. “I know they’re saying he took the man after but he’s got to make that challenge inside the box, otherwise their man has a free hit.”