Football: Posh lifted by Bradshaw

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The Independent Online
Peterborough United. . .2

Blackpool. . . . . . . .1

DARREN BRADSHAW'S first goal for Peterborough since his free transfer from Newcastle United 15 months ago switched off Blackpool's lights in the Coca-Cola Cup at London Road last night.

The Seasiders, who had illuminated the competition by extinguishing Premier Division Sheffield United in the previous round, had been favourites for a place in the last 16 at home to Portsmouth on 30 November. Instead they paid the price for not concluding this third-round business a fortnight ago when they missed numerous chances in allowing Posh, third from bottom of the First Division, to force a replay with a 2-2 draw.

This time the Lancashire coast club even allowed their their opponents a fourth- minute lead with the kind of slack defending not associated with a team fifth in the Second Division and keyed up for a cup tie. David Rush, on loan from Sunderland, volleyed emphatically home when a cross was allowed to drop invitingly at his feet on the penalty spot.

Blackpool needed help and they got it 11 minutes later from one of their former apprentices, Lee Howarth, who firmly headed James Quinn's searching but by no means threatening cross into his own goal.

The Posh penchant for perilous play was not shared by Bradshaw. His target was the Blackpool goal and when Bryan Griffiths handled needlessly on the edge of the area in the 31st minute, the 26-year-old midfielder crashed the free-kick through the wall, the ball skidding off the wet pitch past the goalkeeper Lee Martin.

Posh came under the cosh towards the end while still having opportunities to wrap up the game. Their greatest escape came when Andy Watson, Blackpool's leading scorer, lifted a lofted pass from Quinn on to the bar.

To Posh the prize, but Blackpool may not have been relishing Portsmouth anyway - last season the South Coast club thumped them 6-0 on aggregate in the same competition.

Peterborough United (4-4-2): Bennett; Greenman, McDonald, Bradshaw, Howarth, Welsh, Adcock, Hackett, Rush, McGlashan, Brissett (Barnes, 70). Substitutes not used: Cooper, Barber (gk).

Blackpool (4-4-2): Martin; Davies, Cook, Horner, Briggs, Gouck (Mitchell, 82), Watson, Bonner, Rodwell, Quinn, Griffiths. Substitutes not used: Stoneman, McIlhargey (gk).

Referee: M Pierce (Portsmouth).