Bowen revels in ‘professional’ showing
Mark Bowen might well be in for a selection headache after his hybrid Reading side booked an FA Cup fourth-round ticket with a 2-0 win at Blackpool.
Lucas Boye got the Royals on the board three minutes before the break with Jordan Obita wrapping things up in the 82nd minute, setting up a fourth-round tie at home to either Carlisle or Cardiff.
But Bowen refused to single out his goalscorers for praise, believing that his team – a mix of of youth and experience – were all deserving of equal credit.
“There wasn’t anybody really that I could say was struggling with today,” he said.
“They all stood up and not just stood up, but they looked like players, proper players.
“I’m delighted because I made my mind up to play senior guys who had waited for games, but youngsters as well.
“Coming to a place like this with the ammunition they’ve got, the big lad up front (Armand Gnanduillet) can cause you problems and I knew it was going to be a battle.
“But in a funny way, it never became that battle because our decisions on the ball were really clever and sharp at times.
“I thought we just handled the game well right throughout, professional. I thought Tom McIntyre was absolutely awesome at the back.
“They made good decisions on the ball, good passing at times, and creating problems. We hit the bar twice, hit the post once as well, so it’s a really accomplished performance from a young side.”
An even game saw chances for both teams before the break, but it was the visiting Championship side who proved ruthless when Boye poked home.
Though Blackpool created chances for Gnanduillet and Nathan Delfouneso, Obita killed the game with a header in the 82nd minute.
And Blackpool boss Simon Grayson believes it is that clinical edge that separated the sides.
“I think their keeper’s made two or three good saves from us, but I think I sound like a broken record at times,” he said.
“I can’t fault the players with the work-rate that they’ve put in and their attitude has been good, but it’s just the quality sometimes.
“When we’re under no pressure, we give it away too cheaply, we make the wrong decisions and if you give the ball away to good Championship players, they’re going to punish you.
“Tonight we didn’t really get punished too much and we were our own downfall, with the goals we conceded, but we’ve got to do better with the ball.
“Too many times we’ve given it away too easily and too cheaply, not enough care and not enough pride in it.”