Blackpool skipper's mixed memories of play-off semi-final win against Oxford United

The second leg of Blackpool’s play-off semi-final against Oxford United was an occasion that will live long in the memory – but Chris Maxwell admits he never wants to see it back.

Saturday, 29th May 2021, 8:00 am

Leading 3-0 from the first leg, the Seasiders completed the job with 4,000 fans back at Bloomfield Road to cheer the team on to Wembley.

It was a night of anguish for Maxwell, having picked up an early booking for remonstrating over an offside call that had gone against the Seasiders.

For the remainder of the tie, Maxwell was panicking about the prospect of picking up a second yellow card that would have ruled him out of tomorrow’s final against Lincoln City.

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Blackpool captain Chris Maxwell

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“In the main we were excellent over the two legs,” Maxwell said.

“The first leg was obviously going to be a difficult game for us going away from home and with Oxford having their fans back for the first time.

“A couple of our boys had never even played in front of fans before, or at least that many, so it was always going to be difficult. But the performance we showed was fantastic.

“In terms of the second game, the fans who came back to the stadium were phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal.

“I was lucky enough to experience it last season for a brief period, but for the lads that have never played in front of Blackpool fans before, that night will live long in the memory.

“For me though, it was a tough, tough evening getting booked so early on. Having such a large lead on aggregate, with almost one foot in the final, it was a very, very difficult game for myself.

“It was a game I’d certainly never want to see again in terms of not really playing my normal game with that feeling at the back of my mind of potentially being suspended as a result of a refereeing mistake, a rush of blood or an altercation, which happens in football.

“It was certainly a very negative performance from myself in terms of keeping myself involved for the final.

“I’ve been sent off before for two yellows, but it was a normal league game and it was just three points at stake and you’d just miss another game, it wouldn’t have been too bad. I don’t think it would have played on my mind at all.

“I was thinking ‘if I get sent off in this game and I’m not involved in the final, then I can’t help my team out’. If that was the case, then I’ll never be able to forgive myself.

“It probably would have been one of the worst moments of my career.

“Thankfully we got through it, and when the referee blew the final whistle, it was a massive sigh of relief for myself and now it’s all focus on this game.”

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