Blackpool believed their struggles in the Championship to dump Premier League visitors Nottingham Forest out of the FA Cup.
The Seasiders, languishing in the relegation zone after a nine-game winless run, led at half-time through Marvin Ekpiteta’s close-range finish. Michael Appleton’s side soaked up Forest’s second-half pressure and added further goals through Ian Poveda, CJ Hamilton and substitute Jerry Yates before Ryan Yates headed a late consolation for the visitors.
Forest boss Steve Cooper made 11 changes for the third round tie and was left stunned as his new-look lineup failed to convert a host of chances before being punished on the counterattack.
“I think we have got ourselves to blame,” Cooper told the BBC. “We can have no excuses for the result. You can’t give away the chances we did and miss the chances we had and expect to get a positive result.
“It’s unacceptable. It’s not good enough. I’ve said exactly the same thing to the players. We fell short in every way, shape and form. Even when we went 2-0 down I thought we were still in the game but we didn’t show enough fight. We went down too easily and that was just as disappointing as the chances we missed and the ones we gave away.”
Blackpool were first to threaten when James Husband fired narrowly wide, while Nico Williams went close at the other end for Forest, dragging his low effort just off target after a mazy run to the edge of the area.
But it was the Championship side who drew first blood. Forest midfielder Lewis O’Brien misdirected a headed clearance in the box and Ekpiteta fired home from eight yards.
Forest were stung into action and were a whisker away from equalizing when Emmanuel Dennis curled a shot against the crossbar. Brazilian midfielder Gustavo Scarpa, making his first start for Forest, forced Blackpool goalkeeper Chris Maxwell into a low save and Sam Surridge blazed into the side-netting after beating his man in the box, then Maxwell made a brilliant low save to keep out Neco Williams effort.
Forest went straight back on the offensive at the start of the second half. Surridge spurned another good chance and O’Brien sliced wide from Harry Toffolo’s cross. Maxwell came to Blackpool’s rescue again to deny Dennis in a one-on-one and O’Brien’s follow-up was amused by Ekpiteta.
Blackpool continued to chase and harry and the tireless Poveda went close with a long-range effort before the visitors were punished for a lapse in concentration. Williams’ misplaced pass sent Jerry Yates scampering clear down the left and his low cross was converted by Poveda from six yards.
Surridge wasted another chance for Forest by shooting high and wide from in front of goal before the Seasiders hit them on the break again to go 3-0 up. Poveda was this time the provider as he supplied the cross from the left and Hamilton produced an emphatic left-foot finish to kill the tie.
Jerry Yates should have added to the scoreline when firing wide from another Poveda cross. But the same pairing combined again and this time Yates got it right, scoring to make it 4-0 and complete Forest’s misery in the 87th minute before substitute Ryan Yates headed a consolation for the visitors in the closing moments.
“This is a fantastic competition,” Appleton told the BBC. “I have been quite fortunate to experience fantastic days in [the FA Cup] and this was one of them.
“We knew it would be difficult at times against top opposition regardless of the changes they made. We knew Nottingham Forest would have their chances and Chris Maxwell would have to make good saves.
“We rode the storm out at 1-0 and once we scored the second we showed more freedom. I think probably the biggest thing was how clinical we were.”