Bromley 0-2 Blackpool: League One side ease into round two of the FA Cup

Blackpool's Karamoko Dembele scoring his side's second goal past Bromley's goalkeeper Grant Smith during the Emirates FA Cup First Round match between Bromley and Blackpool at Hayes Lane on November 4, 2023 in Bromley, England
Karamoko Dembele slid his shot between the legs of Bromley goalkeeper Grant Smith

League One Blackpool struck twice in the first half to crush Bromley's hopes of an FA Cup upset at Hayes Road.

The National League promotion hopefuls, seeking to reach the second round for the first time in 78 years, found the Seasiders too clinical in front of goal.

The ambitious Kent club are third in the National League after reaching the play-offs last season and on their synthetic pitch, in driving rain, hopes were high they could unnerve a side from two divisions above them.

Shayne Lavery dented those hopes with a fine finish after just five minutes and Karamoko Dembele gave a glimpse of his talent with a second to virtually seal the tie by half-time.

The hosts improved after the break and Michael Cheek missed a glorious chance late on but they were unable to mount a comeback.

Bromley had won their last eight home games, and lost just once in their last 16 going into the match but they found Blackpool in no mood to be on the end of a shock.

The 1953 winners stamped their authority on the game from the start as Kylian Kouassi slid a pass through for Lavery, who raced clear and curved his shot over Bromley goalkeeper Grant Smith and into the top corner.

Bromley tried to rally and were claiming a penalty kick when Josh Passley went down in the box after being clipped by Owen Dale, but the visitors were still creating the sharper chances.

Dembele was a teenage prodigy at Celtic, playing for their under-20 side when he was 13, and making his Europa League bow at only 16, but is now on loan at Blackpool from French club Brest in a bid to get his career back on its stellar track.

He showed the talent that excited coaches at Celtic with a brilliant solo goal, running into the heart of the Bromley defence and half-volleying an expert finish through the legs of Smith after playing a one-two with Kouassi.

Bromley manager Andy Woodman made a couple of substitutions and tactical tweaks at half-time in a bid to get back in the game, and his team pinned the league side back for much of the second half.

They found Blackpool defender Marvin Ekpiteta in resolute mood as he snuffed out the challenge of striker Michael Cheek, who had scored seven goals in his previous 17 games, and came up with a marvellous point-blank block to keep out Deji Elerewe's shot.

Cheek had a late chance to get Bromley back into it when Blackpool goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell superbly parried Chin Okoli's header at his feet, with the goal gaping, but screwed his shot wide.

Bromley boss Andy Woodman:

"We had a good go but we just couldn't find that finish you need against opposition like this. If we could have got one goal, and got this place rocking, then who knows?

"We huffed and puffed overall, but Blackpool showed much more quality when they needed it.

"We've just got to dust ourselves down now and get this good league form going again. We're creating something exciting here and we're in a great position in the league table."

Blackpool manager Neil Critchley told BBC Radio Lancashire:

"Bromley were excellent, particularly in the second half, and caused us a lot of problems.

"Scoring early, although you want to do it, sometimes lulls you into a false sense of security and I thought we played some good football in the first half.

"In the second half there were maybe some tired bodies and tired minds but if Bromley had scored … they were excellent and pinned us right back. They created chances and if they had taken one of them, then who knows what would have happened."