Loan watch: FA Cup delight for Dan Kemp
West Ham United loanee Dan Kemp’s memorable debut FA Cup campaign continued on Saturday afternoon, the winger playing a key role in League One side Blackpool’s third-round victory over Premier League club West Bromwich Albion.
Wearing the Tangerines’ No19 shirt, Kemp – who got his first FA Cup assist in the first round against Eastbourne, and his first goal in the second round against Harrogate Town – was once again in the thick of the action as his team overcame the odds at Bloomfield Road.
Kemp – who turns 22 today (Monday) – was handed his first-ever FA Cup start against the Baggies, and duly made his presence known.
While an entertaining game, opportunities were initially limited for both sides in the first half – Conor Gallagher and Matheus Pereira coming close from range for West Brom, with Arsenal loanee Dan Ballard’s acrobatic effort coming close for Blackpool at the other end.
Yet Blackpool were showing more than enough quality on the ball to match their opponents, 38 places higher than them in the current Football League pyramid.
It was therefore little surprise when the home team took the lead on the counter-attack five minutes before the break, Gary Madine laying off on the edge of the area for Bez Lubala to drive towards the byline.
When the left-back drilled in a low pull-back, Kemp – sprinting forwards to join the move – darted towards the near post and, while not making clean contact with the ball, diverted its path sufficiently towards Jerry Yates, who could not miss at the back post.
The chance could have yielded Kemp a goal on another day, but the loanee can be delighted to have recorded another assist, his third goal contribution in three rounds for his adopted club.
Sam Allardyce and West Brom turned up the heat in the second half and hauled themselves level soon after the break through Semi Ajayi’s glancing header.
But a classic Cup tie saw momentum continue to swing, and Yates subsequently missed a glorious opportunity to retake the lead, following combination play involving Kemp and Ollie Turton on the right flank.
Blackpool continued to threaten on the counter, and retook the lead when Kemp carried the ball over the halfway line and played a well-weighted pass inside for Yates, whose precise through ball saw Madine go through on goal, the striker finishing superbly first-time.
As the home team looked to hold out, West Brom found another equaliser with ten minutes to go when Pereira blasted home a penalty after Turton had been called out for handball.
Looking to reshuffle his pack for extra-time, Blackpool manager Neil Critchley then replaced Kemp with Matty Virtue – but the West Ham loanee can take plenty of pride in his shift.
With the scores locked at 2-2, West Brom had the better of the chances in 30 minutes of extra-time, but were denied by Blackpool keeper Chris Maxwell.
And it was Maxwell who came up trumps in the dramatic subsequent shoot-out, making three saves to settle the tie in his team’s favour, 3-2 on penalties following a 2-2 draw and extra-time.
Kemp will now be looking to make another big impact in this prestigious competition as Blackpool’s FA Cup run stretches to a fourth game this season.
In Primeira Liga, fellow West Ham loanee Felipe Anderson was an unused substitute for FC Porto as they overcame Famalicao 4-1 on Friday evening to stay second in the table.
Olatunji Akinola, meanwhile, was not in action as Leyton Orient were without a game in League Two due to the FA Cup’s scheduling.