Five-star Blackpool too good for Barnstaple
BLACKPOOL predictably brushed Barnstaple Town aside at Mill Road tonight — but the hosts can be proud of their performance.
Ian Holloway's Coca-Cola Championship players were too quick and too skilful for their opponents from the Toolstation Premier Division.
But Barum kept their shape, Darren Hawkings and Jamie Frickleton were strong at the heart of defence and the midfield made Blackpool work for every pass.
At 3-0 down within 17 minutes, many in a crowd of about 500 would have been fearing for Barnstaple in the Errea South West Challenge Cup Group D tie.
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But through their well-organised approach and Blackpool's greater interest in building fitness and patterns of play, only two more goals were added.
Ben Burgess nodded in the first from a right-wing cross in the fifth minute.
In the 12th it was 2-0, new Brett Ormerod spreading the ball to the left wing and then heading Billy Clarke's cross into the bottom corner.
The third came five minutes later, new signing Clarke breaking through the middle and finishing calmly past Barum keeper Jamie Pow.
Powerful striker Burgess was the biggest threat and had one shot deflected just wide before curling another over the bar.
Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Ormerod went close as Blackpool continued to thread passes together.
The nearest thing for Barnstaple came in the last minute of the 40-minute half. Blackpool keeper Mark Halstead misjudged Kevin Darch's long free-kick to the edge of the area and when he could only chest the ball up in the air, new Barum signing Shane Tolley hooked a volley wide of the open goal.
Blackpool made nine substitutions at half-time but it did little to change their flow.
This time it took them eight minutes to break through. A short corner gave Danny Nardiello the chance to cross from the left, Burgess headed the ball back across goal and Eric De Freitas nodded in.
Barnstaple boss Owen Pickard made a flurry of substitutions in the middle part of the second half, but his side on the whole kept their shape despite the quick movement of Blackpool's attackers.
Frickleton made a handful of excellent blocks to deny the visitors.
Pow's last act was to tip a Lewis Almond shot round the post. Pow's replacement, Jimmy Thorne, picked up where he left off, making a great double save on 72 minutes to keep out Nardiello and Richard Langley.
Thorne could not stop the fifth goal two minutes later, though. Nardiello played a one-two with Danny Mitchly and slotted the ball home.
Thorne denied Blackpool a sixth goal in the last minute when he pushed away Stephen Crainey's 25-yard free-kick.
Pow was named man of the match.
Blackpool, who meet Rushden and Diamonds at Ilfracombe's Marlborough Park on Wednesday (8pm), take three points from the game. Barnstaple have one point and go to Marlborough Park for their clash with Rushden on Friday (8pm).
Barnstaple Town: Jamie Pow (Jimmy Thorne 70), Taro Bishop (Phil Adam 53), Kevin Darch (Dan Found 70), Jamie Frickleton (Mark Thorne 70), Darren Hawkings, Steve Shore (James Galliford 70), Ross Middleton (Luke Austen 53), Robbie Gough (Aiden Harper-Penman 70), Tom Rossiter (Cory Roach 70), Shane Tolley (Joe Crush 70), Jake Crush (Matt Deakin 53).
Blackpool — 1st half: Mark Halstead, Alex Baptiste, Rob Edwards, Ian Evatt, Joe Martin, Keith Southern, David Vaughan, Brett Ormerod, Ben Burgess, Billy Clarke, Gary Taylor-Fletcher.
2nd half: Matt Gilles, Danny Ford, Stephen Crainey, Shaun Barker, Ben Burgess (Lewis Almond 36), David Vaughan, Danny Mitchly, Ashley Eastham, Danny Nardiello, Richard Langley, Eric De Freitas.
See Thursday’s Journal for a full report, reaction and photos.