'It's hard to take': Neil Critchley questions officiating for Coventry City's contentious winner as Blackpool slump to second straight defeat

Neil Critchley admits the manner in which Coventry City scored their winning goal against Blackpool is “hard to take”.

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 11:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 11:06 pm

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The Sky Blues claimed a slender 1-0 win courtesy of Viktor Gyokeres’ contentious goal in first-half stoppage time.

On first viewing it appeared the ball had rebounded off Gyokeres’ hand before bobbling into the back of the net, but TV replays showed it came off the striker’s face.

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Nevertheless, Critchley claimed the Coventry player was offside and the goal - which condemned his side to a second consecutive defeat - came after the allotted amount of stoppage time had already been played.

“The game’s are following a bit of a familiar pattern at the moment. The two home games at least,” he said.

“We were second best for 25 minutes to half an hour of the game and their shape and the way they played caused us problems.

“But we grew into the game and we’ve had some good opportunities ourselves. Ultimately we’ve lost the game because of a lapse in concentration right on half-time.

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley

“Having seen the goal back, he’s offside and it’s after the time. He’s only put a minute up and it’s after 46 minutes, so it’s hard to take.

“I thought we were excellent in the second-half, I can’t fault the players because they gave everything.

“We’ve created a lot of chances tonight and we didn’t take them. Ultimately, if you don’t take your chances and you concede at the other end, you lose games of football.”

When pressed if the ball came off Gyokeres’ arm or face, Critchley told The Gazette: “I think it’s come off his head.

“It’s really difficult, but when you see the player cross the ball he’s a yard in front. It’s tough for the linesman to keep up.

“The fourth official also puts up a minute, so when the goalkeeper kicks it I’m expecting the referee to blow his whistle but he doesn’t.

“We should defend it better, we’ve switched off and they’ve scored. Ultimately, that’s what’s decided the game.”

Blackpool are still yet to taste victory on their return to the Championship, taking just one point from their opening three games.

It’s been a tough start to life back in the second tier for Critchley’s side, who are still coming to terms with the step-up in quality.

“You feel that on the side of the pitch, there’s a big difference between League One and the Championship,” Critchley said.

“Just the quality of the play, the physicality, the speed, the way they move the ball. You have to think quicker both on the ball and without it. You get tested all over the pitch.

“We struggled to stay with them early in the game, but that was a little bit due to how they were playing and their shape, but when we got to grips with it I thought we were excellent.

“We created a lot of opportunities. The effort was there and the application was there, we played on the front foot with plenty of energy.

“The atmosphere was unbelievable. You won’t find a better atmosphere in the country than Bloomfield Road tonight.

“It’s just really disappointing we can’t give the supporters a goal to cheer.”

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