Sam Allardyce’s wait for a first win in charge of West Brom continues after the Baggies were dumped out of the FA Cup by Blackpool of League One on penalties.
Blackpool’s captain, Chris Maxwell – playing his first game since 19 December after testing positive for Covid-19 – saved spot‑kicks from Kyle Edwards, Darnell Furlong and Matheus Pereira to give the Seasiders a first FA Cup win over top-flight opposition since they beat Burnley 45 years ago.
The match had finished 2-2 after 90 minutes, with West Brom needing a slightly fortunate penalty from Pereira with 10 minutes remaining to extend the contest after Jerry Yates and Gary Madine struck either side of Semi Ajayi’s equaliser.
Though Yates missed the opening penalty to hand West Brom the advantage, they could not take it as Maxwell saw his side through to the fourth round.
“It was Maxi’s day today, he was the hero,” said Blackpool’s manager, Neil Critchley. “He made a magnificent save in extra time and then the penalties. I’m delighted for Maxi but I wouldn’t want to single anyone out. To a man, the team performance was outstanding.”
Given West Brom’s dire position in the Premier League, Allardyce may not mourn their exit from the Cup for long but it was another disappointing performance for a team in need of a spark.
“I expected us to play better,” Allardyce said. “I was disappointed, not with the effort of commitment but with the result and with the quality in the final third.
“We should not have lost on penalties. I’m hugely disappointed in the penalty takers that missed.”
It is nearly 25 years since Allardyce was abruptly sacked by the Seasiders after narrowly missing promotion, and he will have felt little better on his way out of Bloomfield Road this time around after seeing his Premier League strugglers outfought by a side mid‑table in the third tier.
Having said he wanted his fringe players to state their case for more playing time, Allardyce made seven changes but still named an experienced side, with Branislav Ivanovic in defence and Jake Livermore returning as captain after a three-match ban.
Blackpool, now a decade removed from their own stint in the top flight, did not look overawed, however, and few could argue they were not worthy of the lead when Yates sidefooted home an inviting low ball from Bez Lubula five minutes before the break.
West Brom were playing without a recognised striker, asking Filip Krovinovic to lead the line the best he could, but he and his teammates struggled to test Maxwell.
The Baggies pushed forward in greater numbers after the break and levelled when Ajayi headed in Kamil Grosicki’s cross from a short corner.
Grosicki and Conor Gallagher passed up clear opportunities to give West Brom the lead and it proved costly as Blackpool struck again in the 66th minute, Madine sweeping home to finish a fine counterattack.
Pereira fired a first-time effort over in response but the Baggies lacked a real cutting edge.
Instead they were gifted an equaliser as Grosicki’s cross struck the arm of Ollie Turton and the referee, John Brooks, after a pause, pointed to the spot from where Pereira brought them level.
Both sides had chances in extra time, with David Button denying Madine early on, but the additional half an hour could not separate the sides. It would take Maxwell to do that instead.