'It was a really professional performance': Neil Critchley's verdict on Blackpool's comfortable FA Cup second round win against Harrogate Town

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley praised his side’s professionalism in remaining patient before claiming a comfortable 4-0 win against Harrogate Town in today’s FA Cup second round tie.

By Matt Scrafton
Saturday, 28th November 2020, 5:56 pm
Updated Saturday, 28th November 2020, 6:02 pm

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Harrogate Town 0-4 Blackpool: Strong second-half display sees Neil Critchley's m...

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley praised his side’s professionalism in remaining patient before claiming a comfortable 4-0 win against Harrogate Town in today’s FA Cup second round tie.

The Seasiders were frustrated in a scrappy first-half, with the game remaining goalless until the 50th minute of the encounter.

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Luke Garbutt, returning from injury to face his hometown club, saw his corner deflect home before Grant Ward doubled Pool’s lead just before the hour mark.

Critchley’s side made life more comfortable for themselves late on with Dan Kemp and Jordan Gabriel also getting in on the act, while Harrogate finished the game with 10 men following Kevin Lokko’s late red.

Critchley was pleased with his side’s display in progressing through to the third round of the FA Cup in comfortable fashion.

“I thought it was an excellent performance away at a tricky place to come to. It was difficult conditions and the pitch cut up a bit,” Pool’s head coach said.

Neil Critchley with Marvin Ekpiteta at the full-time whistle

“It was tough at times but to score four goals and keep a clean sheet, I’m highly delighted. I thought it was a really professional performance.

“We could and should have scored more than four in the end.”

Like the first round, when Blackpool saw off National League South side Eastbourne Borough, the Seasiders had to remain patient before getting their just deserts at the end.

“It was a very similar game and performance to the Eastbourne match,” Critchley admitted.

“We had chances in the first-half and didn’t take them, so we stressed the need to remain patient and keep making the right decisions in the final third and then it would be down to the quality we could produce.

“The first goal, I didn’t expect it to come like that but I’ll take it. It took a deflection, but Luke is probably claiming it. I’d argue it was an own goal but I’m sure he’s claiming it

“We obviously changed the team a bit as well with six changes in total and that brought a freshness and some energy onto the pitch. Even when the subs came on, they struggled to stop our energy and enthusiasm.

“During this period of games we’ve got, it’s important that we look to keep the players fresh but we also have to pick what we think is the right team to win the game.

“It’s also important all of the players in the squad feel they’re contributing and have a chance of playing. They’ve all contributed today, played well and won the game.

“But Portsmouth on Tuesday night will be different again.”

When asked who he wants in Monday night’s third round draw, Critchley added: “A home draw would be nice, but when you get to the third round you get excited because the Premier League teams come into it now.

“It would be nice to get a Premier League team, but we also want to progress and go as far as we can in this competition.

“I’ve said it before, but we’ll take anyone.”