Date: 28th January 2007 at 11:16am
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Another sell-out crowd at Bloomfield Road saw a highly eventful and traditional FA Cup tie as Blackpool took on higher-league opposition in the form of former Premiership side, Norwich City.

City came into the game with leading scorer Robert Earnshaw ruled out with a groin injury and they handed debuts to David Marshall in goal and Chris Brown in attack as they set out to avoid a cup upset – which would further add to the troubles down at Carrow Road!

The first chance of the game fell to the Seasiders – unbeaten in their last 14 home games – in the form of Andy Morrell. Southern and Fox linked up well and found Adrian Forbes on the right wing, he then crossed the ball onto the head of Andy Morrell who saw his header unfortunately fly wide of the post.

Norwich’s extra man in midfield in their 4-5-1 formation eventually began to make a difference with Dickson Ethuhu drilling a shot just wide 11 minutes in. Shortly after, last week’s hero Keith Southern had a bouncing shot from distance saved comfortably by the on loan Celtic ‘keeper.

‘Pool’s best move of the game so far resulted in Scott Vernon having his shot saved by the legs of the goalkeeper with the ball bouncing out for a corner. Shaun Barker, Keith Southern and David Fox linked together with Andy Morrell who neatly dummied the ball into the path of Vernon – through the defender’s leg – resulting in the chance for the club’s top scorer.

Norwich continued to threaten on the counter attack, Rhys Evans had to punch a cross off the head of debutant Chris Brown and the danger was eventually cleared by Shaun Barker.

The Tangerines were then denied a blatant penalty on 20minutes as Andy Morrell broke free of the defence, he was held back by Jurgen Colin – who was leaning down on his left arm and making no attempt to play the ball. Premiership official, Chris Foy dubiously waved play-on and Norwich broke and nearly forced an opening goal through Darren Huckerby – much to the dismay of the Blackpool players and fans alike.

Rhys Evans was once again called into action as he made a fantastic save to deny Carl Robinson after yet another counter-attack from the visitors. A couple of minutes later, Norwich had yet another chance with Darren Huckerby firing just wide.

With only 4 minutes to be played before the end of the first half Scott Vernon fired just over after a good pull-back from Shaun Barker on the right hand edge of the area.

In the first minute of injury time, Chris Foy made another dubious decision by denying ‘Pool another penalty appeal and booking Wes Hoolahan for simulation! Hoolahan broke into the opposition’s area in between two defenders, weaving around about 12 yards out and appeared to be tripped by Adam Drury. The fans were furious once again and voiced their opinions for Mr. Foy to hear.

A minute later, the deadlock was finally broken by the visitors. Adrian Forbes’ hopeful punt clear was charged down by a Norwich midfielder with the ball bouncing back to the edge of the 18 yard box. Under pressure, Ian Evatt – usually a strong presence at the heart of the defence – produced a total air-shot and let in Darren Huckerby who blasted home underneath Rhys Evans’ left arm to send the away side in with the advantage.

8 minutes after the break, ‘Pool were awarded a freekick 20 yards outside the area which David Fox stepped up to take. He swung the ball in towards the back post where Ian Evatt rose above the defender and powered a header down into the bottom left hand corner of the goal with Marshall at full-stretch.

Wes Hoolahan had a superb freekick saved in style just 3 minutes later as ‘Pool piled on the pressure. Marshall was at full-stretch once again and plucked the ball from the top left hand corner of the goal and held onto the ball.

Keith Southern was caught dallying on the ball on 64 minutes and Norwich nearly restored their lead and would have done had it not have been for a combination of Michael Jackson and brave goalkeeping from Rhys Evans.

Ben Burgess and Keigan Parker replaced Scott Vernon and Adrian Forbes in a change that saw Andy Morrell switch to the right side of midfield. Burgess almost made an immediate impact getting onto the end of a ball after some David Fox/Wes Hoolahan link-up play but could only see his shot balloon well over the bar when it looked easier for him to score.

Keith Southern then picked up his 5th yellow card of the season following a foul on Drury.

Ben Burgess was denied by a save from Marshall on 78 minutes as Parker broke down the left, swung in a left-footed cross onto the big striker’s head only for him to see it pushed wide for a corner.

Chris Foy was once again in the spotlight on 80 minutes, sending off Norwich debutant Chris Brown for a second yellow card, following a rather needless handball. At least he was consistent in his decisions, booking Darren Huckerby for diving in the area – much like he did with Hoolahan in the first 45 minutes.

Parker had the opportunity to win it for the Seasiders in the final minute, latching onto a Ben Burgess flick-on, his shot was saved by Marshall. With not long remaining, influential playmaker David Fox was replaced by Claus Jorgensen.

Only seconds were remaining and Blackpool threw everything at the 10-man visitors. Kaspars Gorkss had the chance to win it following a neat pull-back from Andy Morrell into the path of Ian Evatt who crossed towards the back post onto Gorkss’ head. Marshall pulled off a fantastic save to tip the header over the bar and force a corner with seconds to go. From the resulting corner, Ben Burgess got his head to Andy Morrell’s cross but could only look on as it flew agonisingly wide of the top left hand corner of the net.

That would turn out to be the final act of the game and ‘Pool are forced to settle for a replay at Carrow Road on the 13th February.


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