McDonald blasts ref as Pool hit rock bottom

Boyce was fouled for first goal, says McDonald

Boyce was fouled for first goal, says McDonald

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Neil McDonald blasted referee Darren Deadman after watching his Blackpool side crash to the bottom of League One with a 2-0 defeat at Sheffield United.

Second-half goals from Billy Sharp and Marc McNulty condemned the Seasiders to their fourth straight loss as the reality of McDonald’s plight well and truly hit home.

Pool’s defence held firm for an hour at Bramall Lane but then Sharp put the home side ahead from a smart set-play.

The move saw former Pool player Chris Basham block off defender Emmerson Boyce to create space for Sharp to strike from the edge of the area.

And Seasiders manager McDonald was less than impressed. He said: “They had a lot of help with the first goal. It should have been a free-kick because Boyce was barged off the ball.

“I’d hope the referee would be able to see that was a foul. It was clever from them but a foul in my opinion.

“The referee had a free view and should have seen it. The second goal was just a quality finish.”

McDonald opted for a 4-5-1 formation in an attempt to counter the threat of a much-fancied Sheffield United side.

He explained: “I thought our game plan frustrated them well and they only managed one chance in the whole of the first half.

“We had a couple of chances ourselves on the counter-attack which was good, something we’d worked on in the week.

“We wanted to stifle Sheffield United at their own place and we did decently enough.

“That was a harsh lesson. I thought we defended much better and passed the ball much better.

“It was a good response from the second half against Burton.

“But it’s the same outcome – no points – and that’s a frustrating thing.”

The defeat means the Seasiders remain without a win since January, having last won away from Bloomfield Road in April 2014.

But the manager remains positive, adding: “We are showing signs of improvement, and we just need that bit of luck now to get some points and that first win. The performance on Saturday was much better, I thought.”

While McDonald was fuming over the opening goal, Blades boss Nigel Adkins was delighted, revealing the run-and-block is a tactic his players have worked on.

Adkins said: “I’m delighted with the set-play. It was one from the training ground, so we are really pleased. Three points, two goals and a clean sheet – we have to be pleased.

“Blackpool came to sit in and just hit us on the counter-attack. We had to work hard to break them down. I made changes which opened up the game.”