RANGERS had a welcome break from First Division action as they travelled north to Blackpool in the FA Cup.
Rangers had a welcome break from First Division action as they travelled north to Blackpool in the FA Cup.
Teams: Blackpool v Queens Park Rangers
Date: Saturday February 18, 1990
Competition: FA Cup – Fifth Round
Venue: Bloomfield Road, Blackpool
Trevor Francis’ Rangers entered the new season with great prosperity after a positive ninth placed finish last time out, and indeed an opening day win over Crystal Palace did little to quell ambition.
Then the wheels rapidly start to come loose on the Rangers bandwagon as only one win in eleven saw players victimised and player unrest come to the fore.
Nigel Spackman, acting as the club’s PFA representative publicly, voiced his concerns about the way manager Francis handled training and before long was given the short shrift by the R’s boss.
Meanwhile supporters singled out striker Colin Clarke for treatment after only three goals were yielded in 13 starts for the front-man – indeed Loftus Road was not a happy place to be.
Third Division Blackpool were Rangers’ opponents in the cup and they had replaced Sam Ellis with former Sheffield Wednesday and Cardiff City defender Jimmy Mullen prior to the start of the season.
Pool’s saving grace was in fact at Bloomfield Road with their form on their travels proving disappointing. Their cup exploits for the present season owed much to home comfort as Mullen’s men continued to belie their league form in the cup.
Rangers’ path to the Fifth Round was eventful, initially dispatching of Third Division Cardiff City after a replay – Ray Wilkins and Roy Wegerle finishing the tie off at Loftus Road.
Then came a sterner test of the R’s cup credentials as Arsenal were the opponents. Holding Arsenal to a draw at Highbury, Rangers went on to win the replay courtesy of a strike by former Gunner Kenny Sansom and winger Andy Sinton.
The 1953 winners welcomed Rangers off the back of a good set of cup results, dispatching of Bolton Wanderers (2-1), Burnley (3-0), Chester City (1-0) and Torquay United (1-0) on their way to the Fifth Round.
The R’s remained unchanged from the side that were defeated by Derby County in the league with Colin Clarke partnering Roy Wegerle in attack.
On a crisp February afternoon in Blackpool matters certainly heated up quickly when the hosts took a deserved early lead.
Paul Groves, signed from Leicester City for £60,000 in January, latched onto a teasing cross from David Eyres to prod home past David Seaman who proved hesitant in the Rangers goalmouth.
Indeed Blackpool continued to press the hosts, with only some excellent defending from Paul Parker keeping the Seasiders at bay for the time being.
Rangers were soon on level terms however when winger Andy Sinton cleverly fed striker Colin Clarke, and the maligned forward has the easiest of tasks to side foot home from close range.
One quickly become two as Rangers had the lead with just over ten minutes remaining of the first period. Former Blackpool man David Bardsley sent a scything ball for Clarke down the right.
The Northern-Irish international tricked his way past defender Ian Gore before dispatching the ball into the far post, and the neutral in the crowd would have expected Rangers to go on and take the game.
Not so, as Blackpool came roaring back in an entertaining first half. On 37 minutes former Ford assembly line worker Eyres struck an important goal as the game finished all square.
Indeed Paul Parker was quick to praise the Tangerines following the game, he said: ‘They gave us more problems than Arsenal.
‘We’ll have to be careful in the replay because they’re a good side on the break.
Rangers gave Pool the credit and respect they deserved, and after another goalless draw at Loftus Road the game went to a second replay.
Eventually the R’s managed to overcome their Third Division counterparts in a 3-0 win. Sinton, Sansom and Simon Barker scoring the all important goals that saw the R’s progress to the Sixth Round.
Rangers drew Liverpool and true to form the game was a stunner, with a 2-2 draw at Loftus Road sending the tie into a replay. The R’s went on to lose the replay at Anfield after a positive FA Cup run.
In the league Francis managed to steer his men to an 11th placed finish, with his side rallying after the turn of the new year.
Blackpool meanwhile took their eye off the ball in league action as they went on to be relegated to the Fourth Division – 46 points coming in as many games as the Tangerines were left to contemplate the cost of their cup exploits.
Final Score: Blackpool 2-2 Queens Park Rangers
Blackpool: McIlhargey, Wright, Morgan, Coughlin, Methven, Bradshaw, Gore, Groves, Brook, Garner, Eyres.
Queens Park Rangers: Seaman, Bardsley, Sansom, Parker, McDonald, Maddix, Wilkins, Barker, Clarke, Wegerle, Sinton
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