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The BBC's Steve Wilson reports
"Blackpool fully deserved their standing ovation"
 real 28k

Monday, 13 December, 1999, 22:38 GMT
Hard going at Highbury

Grimandi: A third goal in as many games for the Frenchman

Arsenal 3-1 Blackpool

Arsenal are through to a fourth round cup meeting with Leicester or Hereford.

But the second division visitors' determined performance, and the Gunners' own poor finishing made it a harder task than it should have been.

Match facts
23 mins: Grimandi fires long distance opener
38: A scare as Clarkson slots home
65: Adams ends agonising wait
89: Overmars drives home
Not until a minute from time did Marc Overmars give them a two-goal cushion, with the Dutchman making up for missing more chances than anyone else.

A Gilles Grimandi piledriver midway through the first half had made a home victory seem inevitable.

But Blackpool's Phil Clarkson equalised after getting past Tony Adams seven minutes before half time.

The Arsenal skipper made up for it by scoring his side's second goal with 25 minutes to go.

From the start Arsenal were on the attack, with Thierry Henry and Marc Overmars testing Blackpool keeper Tony Caig, although for the Dutchman it was a rare shot on target.

Silvinho played at left back for Arsenal
He wasted two more opportunities in the opening 15 minutes, while Davor Suker somehow missed from five yards with his legendary left foot.

Perhaps it was surprising that it was Grimandi who finally thrashed the ball home from 30 yards.

But this was the Frenchman's third goal in as many games, and the fourth of his two-year Highbury career.

Directly after going behind, Blackpool almost had a sight of goal themselves when Adam Nowland twisted and turned in the box.

But brave keeper Caig was soon in the action again, stopping former England international David Bardsley from scoring an own goal by bravely diving in a crowded goalmouth.

Clarkson's goal briefly scared Highbury
When Blackpool scored, it was completely against the run of play as former Leeds defender Paul Beesley's left wing cross was met by Clarkson.

He nipped in front of Adams and neatly turned the ball into the far corner.

Arsenal came out after the break with fresh determination to take the lead, but it was to take them almost half of the second period.

Caig twice saved from Henry, who also sidefooted over the crossbar before Overmars shot wide again.

The second Arsenal goal finally came from a Petit corner on the right, which was scrambled away for Overmars to have a go.

His cross-shot might have been another missed chance, but Adams was on hand to make up for his defensive error and put it away from close range.

Standing ovation

Substitutes Kanu and Stephen Hughes were introduced and Blackpool continued to perform in a manner which was to earn them a standing ovation from the home fans.

They were offered a rare opportunity when Luzhby conceded a free kick, which was then cleared for a corner.

And Overmars, who just two minutes earlier had appeared to be in agony on the turf, shot home from the edge of the box with his left foot.

It was a more difficult opportunity than some of the ones he had wasted, but all that will be forgotten if the 1998 FA Cup final scorer gets another shot at glory in May.


Arsenal: Manninger, Dixon, Adams, Luzhny, Silvinho, Ljungberg, Grimandi, Petit, Overmars, Suker, Henry. Subs: Hughes, Lukic, Kanu, Vernazza, Weston.

Blackpool: Caig, Bardsley, Carlisle, Hughes, Hills, Clarkson, Bushell, Beesley, Lee, Nowland, Murphy. Subs: Couzens, Bent, Forsyth, Barnes, Lambert.

Referee: U Rennie (Sheffield)

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See also:
13 Dec 99 |  FA Cup
Richards sends Saints through
12 Dec 99 |  FA Cup
Giant-killers offered further chances
13 Dec 99 |  FA Cup
Gunners and Saints begin cup trail
Links to other FA Cup stories are at the foot of the page.