ONE or two were delighted when the draw for the Carling Cup was made back in June, whilst it rekindled memories of the 4-1 battering in 2004 for some, for me it gave me the chance to sample the infamous Gresty Road chippy!
With the impending trip to the finest Chippy in Cheshire, yours truly opted not to join the players in tucking into the pasta, boiled chicken and scrambled egg that was served at the luxurious pre-match hotel in favour of pudding chips and gravy and I have to admit I was not left disappointed, whilst the pudding wasn't one of those gable end rag puddings that my mother used to make it hardly touched the sides and made the trip enjoyable.
On the field, Ian Holloway with one eye on the next two Championship fixtures made a staggering seven changes for the game with only Alex Baptiste, Ian Evatt, Gary Taylor-Fletcher and skipper Rob Edwards remaining from Saturday's energy sapping draw at QPR. The non contract pair of Mark Hudson and Adam Nowland came straight in to the midfield engine room, Billy Clarke made his first full start following his summer move from Ipswich whilst Matt GIlks, Joe Martin, Daniel Nardiello and Brett Ormerod were all given a chance to impress Ian Holloway
Many of the travelling Tangerine Army also sampled the chippy and they were in full (literally) voice when Pool got things underway and their vocal support and better drumming skills spurred Pool on and in the opening stages, the Seasiders forced an early corner but Ian Evatt at the far post couldn't direct his header back into the mix and Crewe cleared.
The hosts backed by a choir of lads celebrating no school in the morning, looked dangerous on the counter attack and on five minutes Byron Moore fired just over following a slick move, at the other end Ian Evatt sporting some blonde streaks nodded wide a Daniel Nardiello cross after Crewe had only half cleared Nardiello's teasing free kick.
The best chance of the opening quarter hour fell to Luke Murphy who dispossessed Brett Ormerod before sprinting forward and unleashing a shot just wide of Gilks right hand post.
Daniel Nardiello fired a free kick into the wall on 18 minutes before moments later witnessing Billy Clarke fire into the train station behind Legzdins goal after he had cut in from the right wing, but it was the Alex who were enjoying the better of the chances, Calvin Zola fired wide twice in quick succession.
Alex Baptiste who once again impressed at right back almost got on the scoresheet for only the second time as a Pool player, the likeable defender picked up the ball on the edge of the Crewe and curled one just wide with the keeper scrambling to his right.
As the interval and a complimentary Bovril approached, Billy Jones forced Matt Gilks into a decent save low to his right with a free kick from 20 yards.
Half Time Crewe Alex 0 Blackpool 0
The interval saw Crewe make a change with Amari Verma replacing James Bailey.
With the Bovril still too hot to drink Daniel Nardiello smacked a free kick high and wide, but less than a minute later Pool were awarded another free kick in an almost identical position less than a minute later, this time ADAM NOWLAND stepped up and curled an unstoppable strike beyond the despairing Legzdins from 20 yards, Nowland then sprinted from one side of the ground to the other to celebrate with the jubilant Pool supporters.
Crewe came close to snatching an equaliser on two occasions with Westwood seeing a shot deflected wide before Gary Taylor-Fletcher picked up his first booking of the season.
Ishmel Demontagnac was given his Pool debut on the hour when came off the bench to replace Brett Ormerod.
Byron Moore did well to wriggle free of Demontagnac, the livewire winger then cut in from the left and fired just wide with Gilks full stretch to his left.
Crewe made their second change of the night when the much travelled Anthony Elding replaced Joel Grant on 65 minutes, less than two minutes later Pool were denied a second goal by a fine save from Legzdins, the former Birmingham stopper reacted brilliantly to flick Daniel Nardiello's fantastic effort behind for a corner.
Second year scholar Louis Almond made his first team debut with 20 minutes remaining when he replaced Gary Taylor-Fletcher, the 17-year-old striker hadn't touched the ball when Crewe netted an equaliser, CALVIN ZOLA made the most of a defensive slip to squeeze the ball under Matt Gilks.
Pool restored their lead on 80 minutes when DANIEL NARDIELLO fired home, Ishmel Demontagnac won the ball wide out on the right and showed a great turn pace and skill to beat three men before sliding the ball to Nardiello who showed great technique to put Pool into the hat for the second round.
Louis Almond did well as the stoppage time approached, the product of the Pool youth department held off the attention of his man, before seeing his shot on the turn blocked, to his credit, Almond won the ball back and threaded a ball to Nardiello who crashed a shot just wide.
In a staggering five minutes of stoppage time, Crewe threw everything at the Seasiders, however, Pool dealt with the succession of corners whilst Gilks had to deal with a long range snap shot.
The full time whistle was met by gracious applause from the home supporters, whilst the Seasiders will be dreaming of a Premier League club at Bloomfield Road in the next round and their Dominos pizza on the way home!
POOL: Gilks, Baptiste, Edwards, Evatt, Martin, Nardiello, Hudson, Nowland, Clarke, Ormerod (Demontagnac 60), Taylor-Fletcher (Almond 70) Subs Not Used: Halstead, Crainey, Vaughan, Mitchely, Adam
CREWE: Legzdins, Brayford, Jones, Ada, Zola, Mitchel-King, Moore, Bailey (Verma 45), Murphy (Donaldson 82), Westwood, Grant (Elding 65)Subs Not Used: Collis, Schumacher, Tootle, Davis
Referee: Mr P N Gibbs (W Midlands)