Football: Mellon on the spot to see Blackpool through

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The Independent Online


Manchester City's poor start to the season hit new depths at Maine Road last night when they were knocked out of the Coca-Cola Cup by Blackpool. City won the second leg of their first-round tie 1-0 to level the scores on aggregate at 1-1, but Blackpool won a dramatic penalty shoot-out.

Yesterday marked the anniversary of Alan Ball's departure as City manager and it must be doubted whether any progress has been made in the subsequent 12 months. A year ago City went out of the Coca-Cola Cup when they lost 5-1 on aggregate to Lincoln City.

Blackpool started last night's game nervously but the Second Division side, managed by Nigel Worthington, steadily grew in confidence and often looked the more accomplished team. City's prospects looked bleak when Georgi Kinkladze was carried off 10 minutes from time after a tackle from Gary Brabin, but Kevin Horlock took the tie into extra time with an 88th minute goal.

City had the better of the extra 30 minutes, but when it came to the penalty shoot-out they were undone by misses from Horlock and Lee Bradbury, who has failed to score in five games since his club record pounds 3m move from Portsmouth. Micky Mellon kept his nerve to hit Blackpool's winner.

Two goals from the Barnet striker, Sean Devine, completed a fine recovery by the Third Division side as they sent Norwich City out of the competition. Barnet won 3-1 on the night for a 4-3 aggregate victory.

Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, Barnet fell further behind when Iwan Roberts put Norwich ahead 38 seconds into the second half. Greg Heald headed Barnet back into the game in the 68th minute and 60 seconds later Devine ended a fine solo effort by driving the ball into the far corner from 18 yards. His winner came in the 80th minute when he turned Tarkan Mustafa's cross home.

The Norwich manager, Mike Walker, said: "I just don't believe we lost it out there. I've no idea how it happened."

Jimmy Quinn, the veteran former Northern Ireland international striker, scored the second-half winner as Peterborough knocked Portsmouth out at Fratton Park. The sides were level after a heated first leg, but, after Mathias Svensson had scored from close range, Peterborough struck twice. David Farrell scored in injury time at the end of the first half and Quinn's 56th- minute header earned the Third Division side victory.

Sheffield United left it late against Wrexham at Bramall Lane. The First Division team needed goals by Dane Whitehouse (74 minutes) and Jan-Age Fjortoft (82) to earn a 4-2 aggregate win - 3-1 on the night.

There were goals galore at Craven Cottage, where Fulham drew 4-4 with Wycombe to go through 6-5 on aggregate. Aidan Newhouse scored twice, with Richard Carpenter and Mike Conroy also getting in on the act for Fulham, and Keith Scott (two), Keith Ryan and Mo Harkin replying for the visitors.

A topsy-turvy scoring game at Plymouth saw Oxford win 5-3 to go through 7-3 on aggregate. Plymouth went 3-0 up with goals from Paddy Wilson, Richard Logan and a David Smith own goal, but the visitors hit back with goals from Joey Beauchamp (two), Nigel Jemson, Darren Purse and Matthew Murphy.

A goal two minutes into injury time by Kevin Cooper gave Stockport, last season's Coca-Cola Cup semi-finalists, a heart-stopping 8-7 win on aggregate - 6-3 on the night - over Mansfield.

The York captain, Tony Barras, hit his side's only goal after 37 minutes to earn a 3-2 aggregate victory over Port Vale.

In the Bristol derby Junior Bent struck in the 118th minute to send City through 2-1 after extra time against Rovers.