Wil­lock sees off toxic Tan­ger­ines

The Observer - Sport - - Football Emirates Fa Cup Third Round - PA

Unai Emery’s fi rst taste of the FA Cup be­gan with a dis­grun­tled Black­pool fan sit­ting on top of the Arse­nal team coach but ended with a com­fort­able jour­ney into round four. The teenage midfi elder Joe Wil­lock scored twice as Arse­nal made light of Black­pool protests off the pitch and their de­ter­mi­na­tion on it .

Wil­lock, the 19- year- old Eng­land un­der- 20 in­ter­na­tional, gave Emery’s side a com­fort­able in­ter­val lead be­fore Alex Iwobi pro­vided the cush­ion of a third late on. Terry McPhillips’ team were by no means over­awed but an upset never ap­peared likely.

The toxic own­er­ship of Owen Oys­ton sul­lied what should have been a show­piece oc­ca­sion for the League One club. Only two sides of Bloomfi eld Road were oc­cu­pied by out­num­bered home sup­port­ers, and swathes of empty or­ange seats coloured those as the Black­pool fans’ boy­cott of home games held fi rm.

The late ar­rival of the Arse­nal team bus due to the fan protest had no im­pact on their per­for­mance, and nei­ther did the late with­drawal from the start­ing lineup of Lau­rent Ko­scielny. Emery’s changed team were quickly in con­trol and could have been two goals ahead be­fore tak­ing the lead in the 11th minute. The teenage striker Ed­die Nke­tiah had two clear open­ings in the early ex­changes but dragged a poor fi nish wide when sent clear by Ains­ley Mait­land- Niles and was also off- tar­get when con­nect­ing at full stretch with a low cross from Carl Jenk­in­son, Ko­scielny’s re­place­ment .

De­spite their clear su­pe­ri­or­ity Arse­nal were vul­ner­a­ble de­fen­sively through­out the fi rst half and Petr Cech saved well from Ar­mand Gnan­duil­let when the pow­er­ful for­ward burst through a crowded penalty area.

Arse­nal de­served ly took the lead af­ter Nke­tiah, a quick and dan­ger­ous pres­ence, was fouled yards out­side the Black­pool area. Aaron Ram­sey’s re­sult­ing free- kick struck the in­side of Mark Howard’s post via a slight defl ec­tion off the Black­pool wall and Wil­lock was on hand to head the re­bound in to the un­guarded goal from close range. It was the midfi elder’s sec­ond goal in three se­nior ap­pear­ances for Arse­nal this sea­son and he made it three from three be­fore the in­ter­val.

Jenk­in­son broke down the right wing and ex­changed passes with Alex Iwobi, who ap­peared to han­dle in the build up. Nke­tiah met his low cross at the near post but was un­able to con­vert. His shot squirmed across goal for Wil­lock who, ar­riv­ing un­marked at the back post, man­aged to squeeze his fi nish past the de­spair­ing lunges of Michael Not­ting­ham and Howard. It should have been three be­fore half­time but the Black­pool goal­keeper pro­duced a fi ne save to deny Nke­tiah from close range in first- half stop­page- time.

The young striker may have lacked a clin­i­cal touch but his tire­less ef­fort and in­tel­li­gent move­ment earned him strong back­ing from the 5,218 trav­el­ling sup­port­ers. The Arse­nal con­tin­gent had some anx­ious mo­ments in the sec­ond half as Black­pool de­liv­ered a far more threat­en­ing dis­play that should have re­duced the defi cit.

McPhillips’ side squan­dered an ex­cel­lent chance when their cap­tain and for­mer Liver­pool midfi elder Jay Spear­ing re­leased Marc Bola down the left. His low cross evaded ev­ery­one in­side the penalty area but fell per­fectly for his fel­low full- back Not­ting­ham who, un­marked and with time to pick his spot, side- footed high over Cech’s cross­bar. Gnan­duil­let al­most cap­i­talised on a slip by the Arse­nal keeper, Liam Feeney pro­duced an air- shot when shap­ing to vol­ley home and Paudie O’Con­nor headed well wide from a cor­ner.

Black­pool were made to pay for their profli­gacy. Wil­lock had been de­nied a mem­o­rable fi rst hat- trick by an off­side de­ci­sion against Sead Ko­lasinac when the de­fender teed him up for an­other close- range fi nish. Sec­onds later Iwobi sealed vic­tory with a tap- in when sub­sti­tute goal­keeper Christof­fer Mafoumbi, on for the in­jured Howard, saved well from Ram­sey’s an­gled drive only for the re­bound to spill into the path of the winger.

Black­pool 4- 2- 3- 1

Arse­nal 4- 3- 2- 1 Gary Rowett’s triple sub­sti­tu­tion paid off as Pe­ter Crouch’s equaliser kept Stoke in the FA Cup. Crouch was in­tro­duced from the bench along with Tyrese Camp­bell and Mame Diouf as Stoke left it late to can­cel out Ol­lie Nor­burn’s penalty that had given the League One side the lead on the stroke of half- time.

Crouch forced a re­play 12 min­utes from the end when Diouf helped on a left- wing cross from Camp­bell and the for­mer Eng­land striker fi nished off at the far post.

Rowett said: “We knew we had some dif­fer­ent op­tions on the bench, a bit more phys­i­cal­ity. I think Tyrese knows he’s quick and pow­er­ful, and he just uses that rather than tries to be clever.

“Crouchy and Mam are go­ing to get in the box like they did for the goal. Mam gets across the front, Crouchy round the back in a po­si­tion where he’s been so of­ten and scored so many goals over his ca­reer .”

Shrews­bury edged ahead in fi rsthalf stop­page time as Nor­burn confi dently con­verted a penalty af­ter Aaron Amadi- Holloway was brought down by Tom Ed­wards . AmadiHol­loway then headed a chance over the bar early in the sec­ond half as Shrews­bury chased vic­tory against their Cham­pi­onship op­po­nents.

“It was a diffi cult game,” Rowett said. “I felt it was al­ways go­ing to be diffi cult be­cause of the last three games for us and, of course, the neg­a­tiv­ity sur­round­ing our re­cent run of form. ”

Shrews­bury must now pre­pare for a re­play at the Bet365 Sta­dium . Their man­ager, Sam Rick­etts, said: “It’s some­thing to look for­ward to, some­thing to rel­ish and we’ll be ready when we get there. We’ll be ready to give it our all and see what hap­pens.”

En­cour­aged by his side’s dis­play, Rick­etts added: “I’m re­ally pleased with the stan­dard of the per­for­mance. We’re set­ting stan­dards that I want to main­tain and we need to hit. We can’t hit them ev­ery game but I want to hit them more games than not and we did it again to­day.

“The last lit­tle piece miss­ing off that was to get through to the next round and we were so close. I think we had the bet­ter chances. We had a re­ally good chance to go 2- 0 up . Our goal­keeper’s had one save to make all game.”

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