'I hope they enjoy their night': Neil Critchley dedicates Blackpool's derby win against Preston to the fans

Neil Critchley hopes the Blackpool fans celebrate long into the night after masterminding a derby victory against fierce rivals Preston North End.

Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 6:30 pm
Updated Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 6:32 pm

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Goals in either half from Keshi Anderson and Gary Madine secured a relatively routine victory against a powder-puff Preston side, who barely laid a glove on them.

The Seasiders never really hit top gear, but neither did they need to, as they beat Preston for the first time since 2010.

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The derby win is yet another shot in the arm for Critchley in overseeing Blackpool’s first win against Preston at Bloomfield Road in 24 years.

Amazingly, the win sees Pool move up to 11th and level points with the play-off spots, having won for the sixth time in their last nine games.

“It’s a strange day in a way, because there’s so much anticipation and emotion around the game. Sometimes you’re not sure what you’re going to get,” Critchley said post-match.

“In the first-half I thought we were very good, we controlled the game, played some really good football and forced them to change their shape.

Neil Critchley celebrates with the Blackpool fans at the full-time whistle

“We got a bit of fortune with the first goal, I’m not sure how it went in but it did.

“In the second-half, they’ve thrown a lot of balls forward, they’ve had a few corners and long throw-ins but I thought we defended them very well.

“Obviously there’s the big miss from Ben Whiteman which came at an important stage in the game.

“We then score the second, a fantastic goal, a really good goal, and then we saw the game out fairly comfortably in the end.

“It’s a great win, it’s three points and these days are for the supporters, so they can go and enjoy their night and I’m delighted for them.”

The only time Preston really threatened was when Ben Whiteman missed a gilt-edged chance to level when the game was at 1-0.

The visitors worked the ball well from back to front, putting it on a plate for Whiteman who surprisingly fired wide.

Aside from that, the Seasiders were relatively comfortable and were able to keep the Lilywhites at arm’s length.

“We’re solid at the back, which is something we pride ourselves on,” Critchley added.

“We had a really good defensive record last season, but it’s not quite been the same this season and we need to get back to that. But today we were because we limited them to very few chances really.

“They put a lot of balls into the box, but we defended the goal really well in numbers, bodies on the line and the goalkeeper has had very little to do.

“But if Whiteman takes that chance at that stage of the game, then the game might change so that’s the fine margins of this division.

“Prior to the Whiteman chance, we had a little breakaway and Keshi (Anderson) goes to ground. At first I thought it might have been a penalty because he gets Keshi first and then the ball. But it was probably the right decision.

“It’s our corner and we should put the ball back in the box, but we try to play it short so of course we’ve committed a lot of men forward and it gives them the chance to counter-attack and break.

“To be honest, when you put Ben Whiteman with his quality in front of goal you expect him to score, so it was a big miss and an important moment within the game.

“But Preston have got good players, they’re a good team and have a good manager.

“There was nothing in-between the teams at that stage of the game, but I felt we were the better team in the first-half.”

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