Boss blasts Blackpool players who ‘switched off’

Neil McDonald
Neil McDonald
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Neil McDonald blasted the referee after Blackpool’s defeat by Port Vale ... and his players for switching off.

Pool were left livid after ref Seb Stockbridge waved away a huge claim for a penalty on 48 minutes, when Jim McAlister’s header struck the arm of Vale defender Richard Duffy.

To make matters worse, as Pool’s players stopped to complain, Vale ran to the other end of the field and Ajay Leitch-Smith fired the only goal in a game desperately short of quality.

This third successive defeat kept Pool in League One’s bottom four and manager McDonald was less than impressed.

“It was disappointing,” he said. “I don’t think there was much in the game.

“We had a definite penalty. I had a look at it afterwards and it was a definite handball in my opinion. I can’t believe the referee didn’t see it.”

While the official bore the brunt of the Pool boss’ frustration, he also blamed his players for taking their eye off the ball to protest.

McDonald said: “We had a clear penalty, which wasn’t given. They went up the other end and punished us.

“The referee didn’t give it, and we went to complain and switched off. It was probably their only big chance of the game.

“We can make excuses and say it should have been a penalty but he didn’t give it. We shouldn’t have switched off.

“The players’ reaction tells you it should have been a penalty. They thought it was a blatant handball.

“They thought it should have been a corner to us too, which is probably why they ran towards the referee.

“But it caused our players to switch off and we were heavily punished for that.”

Pool struggled to create chances yet again, having only two shots on target all game despite giving debuts to striker Danny Philliskirk and winger Mark Yeates.

But it was loan striker Andy Little who had Pool’s best chance, turning brilliantly before shooting wide after just five minutes.

McDonald said: “I think that was the best chance in the whole of the game. He should have put the ball in the back of the net.

“He has to score. We have brought him here to score those sort of chances.”