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Sunday, 24 March, 2002, 16:00 GMT
Blackpool lift LDV Vans Trophy
Blackpool 4-1 Cambridge
By Paul Fletcher at the Millennium Stadium
Blackpool won their first domestic trophy since 1953 when they convincingly lifted the LDV Vans Trophy.
It is almost 50 years since Stanley Matthews inspired the Tangerines to FA Cup victory, but under Steve McMahon Blackpool have now tasted two big wins at Cardiff's Millenium Stadium in ten months.
McMahon led Blackpool to victory in last season's Third Division play-off final against Orient, and returned to engrave Blackpool's name on the trophy for the first time.
All Cambridge have to look forward to is almost certain relegatlion.
Unlike their last visit to the Millenium Stadium when they fell behind after five minutes against Orient last Spring, Blackpool swept into an early lead with a goal from the training ground.
Suffered a blow
A well-rehearsed short-corner routine saw Lee Collins cross for John Murphy to beat Cambridge's offside trap and place his header past Lionel Perez.
The Tangerines had two good chances to double their lead.
First, Richie Wellens broke clear into the left of the Cambridge penalty area and fired wide with Murphy unmarked in the middle.
Then, former Barnsley midfielder Martin Bullock worked his way to the bye-line where he pulled the ball back for Scott Taylor, only for Perez to drop to his right to save.
Cambridge made Blackpool pay for their profligacy in front of goal with a 27th minute equalizer.
Tom Youngs was clipped three yeards inside the penalty area by Tommy Jaszczun, earning the former Aston Villa defender a yellow card.
Cambridge had missed seven penalties during their woeful League campaign but skipper Paul Wanless stepped up to coolly send Barnes the wrong way from the spot.
Blackpool suffered a blow when veteran defender Ian Marshall limped off with a hamstring injury on 38 minutes, and as Blackpool reorganised, Cambridge should have taken the lead.
Dave Kitson was played through by Youngs' astute flick but his finish was unconvincing, leaving Barnes with a comfortable save.
At the other end, Taylor was so surprised to beat Cambridge's offside trap that he stopped twice in his run on goal, giving Perez the chance to narrow the angle and save.
Blackpool made a bright start to the second-half, with Hills forcing a sharp save from Perez.
But the former Sunderland keeper was furious with his defenders on 53 minutes when Blackpool regained the lead.
Hills whipped in a free-kick from the left and a flick-on at the near post set the ball up perfectly for Chris Clarke to power in as the defence stood still and bullet home his header.
Perez almost single-handedly kept Blackpool at bay, with three superb saves, twice beating away shots from Taylor and then sticking out a leg to deny Murphy from point-blank range.
But Blackpool would not be denied and they scored a third on 77 minutes, when Murphy played in Hills and his shot took a wicked deflection off the luckless Adam Tann to wrong-foot Perez.
Cambridge were forced to throw caution to the wind and on 80 minutes, Scott Taylor confirmed the destination of the trophy when he sprung Cambridge's offside trap and ran on to fire his shot through Perez's legs.
Blackpool: Barnes, Jaszczun, Marshall, Clarke, O'Kane, Collins, Hills, Wellens, Bullock, John Murphy, Taylor. Subs: Hughes, Simpson, Pullen, Fenton, Walker.
Cambridge: Perez, Angus, Murray, Tann, Duncan, Guttridge, Wanless, Tudor, Ashbee, Kitson, Youngs. Subs: Fleming, Marshall, Jackman, One, Goodhind.
Referee: R Furnandiz (Doncaster)
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