Bay watch fantasy frustrated

Blackpool 2 (Preece 52, Quinn 64 )Colwyn Bay 0 Attendance:4,5 81
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The Independent Online
TWO second-half goals decided an FA Cup tie redolent of those televised contests between holiday towns that paved the way for It's A Knockout, but it was never a case of the Endsleigh League side being able to coast.

Colwyn Bay, from halfway up the Unibond League, are accustomed to fighting battles of a different kind; for the very right to remain part of English football's pyramid structure.

For much of this match at Bloomfield Road, they showed the same stubborn determination which, for the time being, has them ahead in their legal tussle with the Welsh FA.

Financially drained by that struggle and disrupted by two years in exile at Northwich and Ellesmere Port before returning to the North Wales coast, the Bay have done well this season to get further in the FA Cup than at any time in their 110-year history.

In the early stages yesterday, they even looked to have a player with "Cup upset" written all over him. The ungainly Graham Roberts bore an unnerving resemblance to those generations of goalscorers for non-League clubs who have sat, stunned by the TV lights, with Des Lynam to be hailed as the unlikely hero of the round.

Roberts, far more effective and dangerous than his awkward appearance suggested, deserved to put Colwyn Bay ahead with a shot that Steve Banks saved by pure instinct from close range. It would have been a fair reflection of a thoroughly lively and spirited start from the Welsh side.

It could have been very sticky for a Blackpool club still automatically linked in Cup mythology with an afternoon at Wembley 42 years ago. Blackpool have been through plenty of hard times since then and their ground has probably had the same peeling paint and steelwork corroded by the sea breezes since Matthews and Mortensen were in their pomp. But they now have planning permission for a move a full 100 yards up the coast to a custom-built stadium and there are the makings of a team worthy of a better setting.

No colour in the world of football carries such vivid and specific associations as Blackpool's tangerine. It also makes them the only team in the league who have a colour clash with their stewards, which could have gone some way towards explaining some wild distribution before they were booed off by their own fans at half-time.

In 12 minutes of the second half, however, they ensured that, of these two, they would be the last resort in this year's Cup. Mark Bonner's run and deft pass set up Andy Preece, the transfer-listed former Crystal Palace striker, for the first goal, and the second soon followed from one of the club's brightest young prospects, James Quinn.

A beautifully balanced runner who has played for the Northern Ireland B side, Quinn scored from a couple of yards out after Richie Roberts had saved Preece's header from Andy Barlow's cross. There was never any doubt after that second goal that a famous FA Cup name would be in the third- round draw for the first time in five years tomorrow night.

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