Errea Cup: Blackpool beaten, Bideford out

THE Errea South West Challenge Cup continued last night (Wednesday) with a surprise defeat for Championship side Blackpool at the hands of Rushden and Diamonds from the Blue Square Premier. The sides drew 1-1 before the Diamonds won through 4-2 in a penal

THE Errea South West Challenge Cup continued last night (Wednesday) with a surprise defeat for Championship side Blackpool at the hands of Rushden and Diamonds from the Blue Square Premier.

The sides drew 1-1 before the Diamonds won through 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out.

After a goalless opening half Aaron O'Connor put the Diamonds ahead on 50 minutes, with Ben Burgess equalising just seven minutes later.

The shoot-out started badly for Blackpool as Burgess put their first shot wide.


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Diamonds keeper Dale Roberts then came into his own, not only netting from the spot, but also saving a Blackpool attempt by Danny Mitchley. Further successes by Craig Farrell, Michael Corcoran and Sam Smith gave them victory.

Bideford crashed out of the cup after a 3-0 defeat by an impressive Luton Town, despite some brave defending and goalkeeping.

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The Blue Square Conference National side came firing out of the starting blocks and were relentless in their attacks. For 23 minutes Bideford held out, until an off-target shot by George Pilkington from the edge of the area luckily found its way through a crowd of Bideford defenders and into the path of Luton forward Tom Craddock, who knocked it into the net.

Luton's second came after 36 minutes, when Liam Hatch found space down the right and crossed in a perfect ball for Tom Craddock to head home his second.

Luton picked up where they left off in the second half, forcing Bideford deep. A great save from keeper Draper early in the half and a brave block by Nick Barker denied the tally increasing.

Both teams were reduced to 10 men following a clash off the ball between Jamie Densham and Alan White, who both received red cards.

The Hatters then gained their third goal courtesy of Drew Taylor, who fired the ball over Draper's head and in off the crossbar.

The Robins' defeat follows their brave effort against League One opponents Wycombe Wanderers, in which they were defeated only by the odd goal in a penalty shoot-out. But two defeats mean they are out of the competition.

Ilfracombe are also out after their second defeat, 1-0 at the hands of last year's winners Eastleigh from the Blue Square south league.

The goal came in the opening half when the Ilfracombe defence failed to clear a cross and an incoming Eastleigh forward was able to run on to the ball and score. The Bluebirds defended well during what was actually quite a close game and also created chances of their own, but were unable to find an equaliser.

Belgian visitors Royal Racing FC Montegnee also suffered their second defeat, beaten 1-0 by Grimsby.

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