Charlton Athletic 2 Blackpool 1 - 5 Jan 2001
Last season Charlton only managed to beat non-league Dagenham & Redbridge after a replay and it looked as though another cup shock would occur as Blackpool, who had failed to win any of their last eight league games, took a shock 18th minute lead.
There was an element of offside as Hills broke clear for the visitors, but he raced 25 yards before striking the ball perfectly past Charlton goalkeeper Dean Kiely.
The goal was against the run of play, Charlton squandering good chances with Kevin Lisbie shooting at Phil Barnes and Jason Euell having a 25-yard shot saved by the goalkeeper.
Hills' goal was Blackpool's only shot of a first half in which Charlton forced nine corners but were unable to break down the stubborn visitors' defence.
In the second half it was still one-way traffic and Charlton went for broke bringing on two strikers in an effort to get themselves back into the game and Euell was unlucky to see a header crash against the post.
Charlton finally got back in the game when they were awarded a penalty after Brian Reid had handled John Robinson's shot and skipper Graham Stuart, back in the side after injury, scored from the spot although Blackpool keeper Barnes got a hand to the ball.
Within three minutes the Premiership side took the lead to shatter Blackpool's hopes of a cup upset when Barnes again did well to save Stuart's point-blank shot, but the ball ran loose for Euell to crash it home from close range for his eighth goal of the season.
With nothing to lose Blackpool pushed forward and on-loan striker Ian Marshall should have done better with a close-range header which he sent straight into Kiely's arms.
After the game Charlton boss Alan Curbishley was relieved that his side had got themselves back into the match and praised their battling qualities and he praised Blackpool for their performance, especially the way Hills took his goal.
Blackpool boss Steve McMahon was devastated at his team's defeat after they had been in front for so long and thought that they at least deserved to take their Premiership hosts back to Bloomfield Road for a replay, but he was delighted with his team's performance.
Charlton boss Curbishley feels that the FA Cup has become devalued and thinks that the eventual winners should gain a place in the Champions League.
"I think it's still as important as it used to be, and financially there is much more money involved."
At the end of the match Curbishley was the first person to embrace the Blackpool boss as the two of them are good friends and former team-mates at Aston Villa.
On the previous occasion the two sides met, back in 1951, Blackpool drew 2-2 at Charlton and won 3-0 at Bloomfield Road and went on to reach the Cup final before losing to Newcastle.
Curbishley is hoping that might be a good omen for his team.
John Seckers Match Report:
For nearly an hour at The Valley this afternoon Blackpool held the lead against constant pressure from their Premier League opponents. Just when the visiting fans were beginning to wonder if it really was possible to hold out until the end, two goals in two minutes turned the game around. Although one of these was a penalty it was not fair to blame the referee, as some of the fans tried to. Charlton were dominant for most of the game, and Blackpool can take great credit from the way in which they all worked from start to finish and kept their chances alive right to the end. The defence were particularly praiseworthy - Barnes had a great game and the back four all coped well with their highly paid opponents. With more luck Blackpool could have had a result, but you could not say the wrong team won it.
When the teams were announced this afternoon, Blackpool showed three significant changes. At the back Brian Reid was starting alongside Ian Marshall, and Danny Coid was in the team at right back. Up front with Walker, Fenton and Murphy all unavailable for various reasons, Graham Fenton got a start as the lone striker. The midfield was Bullock, Collins, Wellens, Simpson and Hills.
As you would hope, Blackpool were fired up for this big game, and in the first couple of minutes they pressed forward, though they could not get a telling cross in. However the pattern of the game soon became clear, as the players from the top division showed why they are there. All over the pitch they were faster and stronger, and generally better at passing and ball control.
Blackpool made up for this with non-stop effort, especially from the midfield, and Reid and Marshall were magnificent in dealing with everything which came at them in the air. For Blackpool, Fenton was looking lonely up front, and most of the attacking chances came up the wings, especially through Hills. Bullock worked hard up the right, supported well by Coid, but he failed to get many telling crosses over. In fact Blackpool's best early chance fell to Bullock, though it arose from the left, where Fenton did well to get up the touchline and round his man. He put a cross over to the centre where Bullock was coming running in ahead of his defender, but he could quite get his foot to the ball.
A little later Blackpool were fortunate when Jaszczun jumped with his hands raised to block a cross, and stopped it with his arm. These are often given as penalties, but the referee waved it on.
Just before twenty minutes had gone by, Blackpool broke up an attack and moved forward on the right, then the ball was played across to the left wing to Hills.
He played it inside to Simpson and set off upfield, but it looked as though Simpson had missed his chance by not playing the return ball first time. However he controlled it, then played it through to Hills who was running again.
Charlton were not downhearted, nor did they panic, and the attacks continued relentlessly. Barnes had to make a good save from a shot by Euell from outside the area; he dived to his left and turned it away. A far post ball gave Jason Euell a chance, but he could not get his header on target. Another cross from close in found a Charlton man with space, but he had to turn, and Collins nipped in quickly to get the ball away over the goal. Charlton had an excellent chance when a cross came over; it was headed up in the air, first by Coid and then by Marshall, and dropped to a Charlton player in space. He had time to pick his spot, but he blazed high over the bar. There were too many attacks to describe them all, but actual shots on target were few, and Barnes dealt with them. When they had the chance Blackpool seemed to enjoy playing on the excellent surface, and were knocking it around with some confidence. However the defenders were very good, and Blackpool often tried to take the ball past one man too many. One attack up the right was typical - Bullock had a chance to cross but tried to do too much, then Coid also declined a chance to cross, before the ball was eventually lost.
In the second half Blackpool were attacking the end where the large contingent of visiting fans were sitting, but most of the action was again in the Blackpool area. A nice move on the right gave Charlton a chance to shoot, but the ball went over. From another cross the Blackpool defence for once allowed Euell a header, and he put it against the crossbar. Blackpool's attacks were few and far between, although they were still working their socks off in midfield. Just before the hour Paul Simpson came off, replaced by O'Kane, who fitted in well enough. Soon afterwards Bullock took the ball up the right, and played it forward to Collins who got ahead of the defence and tried to slide it under the advancing keeper, but he managed to get down and block it.
Blackpool could have gone another goal down soon afterwards, when a cross came across the box, with a Charlton forward just unable to reach it. This would have been harsh, and Blackpool rallied to try to pull something back. When the keeper came out of his area and made a poor clearance Hills tried a huge lob, but it dropped just to the right of the goal. MacKenzie came on for Wellens, who was worn out, and Reece Day replaced Fenton, with Marshall moving to the front, and making some good moves. MacKenzie had a shot from the edge of the box which brought a good save from the Charlton keeper, and Marshall seemed to have a fair shout for a penalty when he was bundled over as he ran onto a cross in the area. Hills was still working hard up the left, linking well with Marshall, but they just could not get a break, and eventually time ran out.
Blackpool were certainly unlucky not to get something out of this game, but they owed a lot to their defence, and especially Barnes. Now they need to take this passion back to the weekly grind of the Second Division - and maybe spend some of the gate money too. Their first act should be to sign Marshall permanently - if they could clone him they should do that too. He was their best player yet again, both in defence and when he moved forward, and despite his age there is much that he could still offer Blackpool. It was good to see Danny Coid back in action - with him and Bullock up the right, balancing Hills and Jaszczun on the left, there are always going to be lots of attacking options.
Team (4-4-2): Barnes, Coid, Marshall (capt), Reid, Jaszczun, Bullock, Collins, Wellens (MacKenzie 79), Simpson (O'Kane 56), Hills, Fenton (Day 79)