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Match report: Pools go through to the fourth round!

8 January 2022

JOE Grey fired Hartlepool United into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 61st-minute winner to beat Blackpool 2-1.

The teenager had been on the field for just over a minute when he produced a sublime finish at the Rink End from Tom Crawford’s through ball.

It was a great comeback from Graeme Lee’s team who trailed early on to Keshi Anderson’s eighth-minute goal with Blackpool having a host of first-half chances.

David Ferguson brought Pools level in the 48th minute with a goal against the club he used to captain before Grey produced a piece of cup magic.

Pools, rather than Pool, were the team first out of the blocks with the recalled Tom Crawford free-kick skimming off the wall for a corner and an overhead Gavan Holohan attempt going wide.

But it was Blackpool who went ahead in the eighth minute through Anderson.

Josh Bowler produced some trickery down the by-line before pulling the ball back, where Gary Madine's shot was saved well by Ben Killip.

But Pools could not clear and Anderson tucked it away into the bottom corner despite Gary Liddle’s vain attempt on the line.

Blackpool had the ball in the home net again through Callum Connolly four minutes late following a great cross from the right but the flag was up for offside.

The Tangerines blew a golden chance on 24 minutes after Shane Lavery stabbed wide from an Anderson cross.

Blackpool continued to threaten and it needed some good defensive work by Timi Odusina to keep them out before David Ferguson cleared off the line from a Madine header.

Pools had little joy with Nicky Featherstone floating a free-kick wide of the far post with Mark Cullen having a header easily held by the keeper from a Ferguson free-kick.

At the end of the half, Holohan and Cullen combined nicely but could not threaten Dan Grimshaw’s goal.

It should have been 2-0 in injury time but Lavery blazed over the bar from sub CJ Hamilton’s cross.

Pools were in need of a bit of magic after the break and it came from the right foot of Ferguson, rather than his trusty left.

The wing-back got the better of right-back Dujon Sterling before letting fly with his right. It took a healthy deflection, but the 4,000-plus Poolies inside the Suit didn’t care as the ball nestled in the Rink End net.

It brought a buzz in the crowd and sparked the best Pools period of the tie.

Bowler fired wide with his left foot at the other end for the Tangerines before the match was turned on its head by Grey.

Blackpool could not get clear of their own half, allowing Crawford to break forward and play a delightful ball in to the teenager who finished beautifully from 14 yards.

The visitors responded and Hamilton fired wide on the break and put an even better chance wide seconds later though the flag was up for offside anyway.

Pools had to survive a desperate late Blackpool assault.

Lavery headed wide from Hamilton cross two minutes from time with the Tangerines winning three corners at the death, but Pools put their bodies on the line.

They even had a chance to seal it in the third minute of added time when Mike Fondop, at least a yard offside, was put clear but the sub’s tame shot did not threaten the goal.

Pools: Killip; Byrne, Liddle, Odusina; Sterry, Featherstone, Crawford, Holohan, Ferguson; Molyneux (Fondop 90), Culllen (Grey 59)

Subs (not used): Boyes, Francis-Angol, Ogle, Daly, Shelton, Smith, Grey, Olomolo

Goals: Ferguson 48, Gre7 61

Blackpool: Grimshaw; Sterling, Keogh, Ekpiteta (Yates 78), Husband (Garbutt 42); Anderson (Hamilton 33), Connolly, Dougall, Bowler (Mitchell 78), Madine, Lavery 

Subs (not used): Gabriel, Yates, Moore, Mitchell, Casey, Mariette, Monks

Goal: Anderson 8

Referee: Matthew Donohue 

Attendance: 4,942 (away 583)


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