Tom is just Cham­pion to sink the Seasiders

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP FIRST ROUND - By An­drew Brook

BLACK­POOL man­ager Neil McDon­ald in­sisted he had re­spected the FA Cup, de­spite his much-changed side de­liv­er­ing a list­less per­for­mance.

League Two Bar­net dumped the Seasiders out of the com­pe­ti­tion thanks to two goals in five first-half min­utes from Tom Cham­pion and Michael Gash.

McDon­ald, who made six changes, said: “I don’t re­gret the changes. We’ve got a very thin squad and I needed to pro­tect the team.

“We wanted to win the game.The ut­most re­spect for the FA Cup and for Bar­net was given, but we didn’t per­form.

“When you don’t win your in­di­vid­ual bat­tles and each per­son on the team doesn’t play to their full po­ten­tial you get noth­ing out of the game.

“We never won the ball, we never passed the ball, we never stopped them from play­ing.

“We didn’t win an in­di­vid­ual bat­tle – and I’m not say­ing one or two, it was all 11 play­ers.

“I can’t find one pos­i­tive. There’s been plenty of in­di­vid­u­als knock­ing on my door say­ing they should be in the team and they’ve given me the to­tal wrong an­swer.

“Not one per­son has taken their chance out there.”

Black­pool went be­hind af­ter an in­jury to their goal­keeper and cap­tain Colin Doyle.

His re­place­ment Kyle Letheren failed to deal with a fourth con­sec­u­tive cor­ner and Cham­pion bun­dled home the ball.

Black­pool had been slowly mov­ing the burly arm-wres­tle of the open­ing stages in their favour when they con­ceded, but five min­utes later the lead dou­bled, as Letheren again failed to deal with a cross in his prox­im­ity.

Sam Mug­gle­ton pro­duced the game’s only piece of qual­ity, jink­ing splen­didly into the box and plac­ing a per­fect cross onto Gash’s fore­head one yard out.

Af­ter the break the slow­mo­tion arm-wres­tle re­turned with Black­pool never threat­en­ing a come­back. It was a tor­pid, desul­tory show­ing from the Seasiders, treat­ing their first round one ap­pear­ance since 2006 with min­i­mal re­gard.

Only in the 87th minute did they pro­duce a chance, when Mark Cullen’s shot hit the cross­bar. Bar­net boss Martin Allen said: “I don’t think any­one who watched the game will say we didn’t de­serve it. Our play­ers were ex­cel­lent from start to fin­ish.

“The play­ers have dealt this sea­son with a step-up in every­thing we do. They are all look­ing sharp and as though they can play.

“It was only five months ago that there were three di­vi­sions be­tween our two clubs – they were in the Cham­pi­onship and we were in the Con­fer­ence.

“That shows how far we’ve come. In the 18 months I’ve been here the play­ers have come on im­mensely. I have faith in all of them.”



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