FA Cup: Wednesday 0-3 Blackpool
7/2/12 - 7.45pm
Wednesday bowed out of the FA Cup with a whimper on Tuesday night as Blackpool eased through to a fifth round clash with Everton on a night to forget for Owls fans at Hillsborough.
Highly-rated Matt Phillips, who enjoyed a spell on-loan at Sheffield United earlier in the season, set the tone for the night just seven minutes in when he struck the visitors' opener from the edge of the box. Lomana LuaLua produced a superb finish to double Blackpool's lead and Ludovic Sylvestre ensured their progression early in the second half.
The understrength Owls huffed and puffed for a way back into the clash but Ian Holloway's men showed why they're a league above Wednesday and pushing for promotion back to the Premier League.
Holloway rested players of his own for the match but Wednesday had more regular first team players either sitting on the bench or out of the squad altogether through choice or through being cup-tied.
It was no surprise, therefore, that the Seasiders left with progression comfortably secured.
Wednesday did however have a golden opportunity to take the lead - and it could have changed the way the game panned out. Ryan Lowe, in an offside position, found himself through on goal but he struck his effort straight at Blackpool stopper Matt Gilks.
Chris Lines also had a half chance for the hosts before the visitors struck the front through that man Matt Phillips on his return to the Steel City. Owls goalkeeper Stephen Bywater will perhaps feel he should have done better as Phillips's effort trickly slowly beyond him and into the bottom corner.
The visitors looked a threat every time they swooped forward against a fragile Owls defence and it was 2-0 not long after.
Danny Batth seemed to have won the foot race with former Newcastle United man LuaLua but the hitman swivelled and curled a sublime effort over Bywater and into the back of the net to double Blackpool's lead.
At this point Owls fans may have seen an unwanted scoreline coming their way but, thanks to a desire to keep the game alive and some wasteful passing when it mattered for the visitors, Wednesday stayed in the game.
LuaLua came inches from doubling his tally but Wednesday, to their credit, looked for a way back into the game and Reda Johnson came close to halving the deficit when he headed Chris Sedgwick's cross off-target.
The Owls' best chance came just minutes before the break when, after a series of threatening set-pieces, Wednesday skipper Rob Jones rose high to power a header at goal from a Sedgwick corner only to see Gilks make a brilliant reflex save to keep his side's two-goal cushion intact going into the interval.
Half-Time: Wednesday 0-2 Blackpool
The visitors very much deserved their lead at the interval and, with Megson looking to strengthen his midfield, Jose Semedo was brought on for Johnson for the start of the second half.
It did little to change the flow of the game, however, and as Wednesday struggled to carve out chances at one end, the visitors took their first real opportunity since the restart to all-but secure their success.
A fine, flowing move saw 'Pool progress towards goal, and their travelling band of fans behind the Leppings Lane goal, and Sylvestre got on the end of it to turn inside his men and launch a sweet effort beyond Bywater and into the back of the net for 3-0.
The goal ended the game as a contest but things could have got worse for Megson's men when Matt Phillips wasted a great chance to double his tally and add the icing to the cake of an impressive attacking display from the Seasiders.
Wednesday were poor but Megson's team selection was nothing like the starting eleven that will take to the pitch for the crucial league game at Exeter City at the weekend.
Hopefully tonight's disappointment will be lifted with three points when they matter in the question for promotion from npower League One.
Full-Time: Wednesday 0-3 Blackpool
Wednesday: Bywater, Bennett, Batth, Jones, Otsemobor, R Johnson (Semedo 46), Palmer, Lines, Sedgwick, Lowe, Morrison. Substitutes: Weaver, Buxton, Beevers, Prutton, Madine, O'Grady.
Blackpool: Gilks, Eardley, M Phillips (Bruna 76), Sylvestre, Baptiste, Martinez, Harris (Dicko 86), Ince, Wilson, LuaLua, K Phillips (Fleck 64). Substitutes: Halstead, Taylor-Fletcher, Basham.