Neil McDonald hailed Blackpool’s “ugly” 1-0 home win over high-flying Gillingham on Saturday, writes WILLIAM WATT.
Jack Redshaw’s first-half penalty settled a scrappy clash, in which only two shots were on target – both from the home side.
The Seasiders were good value for their victory on a day their defenders took all the glory for protecting the lead throughout the second half.
McDonald said: “We won ugly. You have to be able to do that sometimes.
“At times you have to grind a result out, although I don’t think we necessarily did that on Saturday. In the first half I thought we were excellent and defended very well.
“In the second half we had to defend for long periods but we counter-attacked well.
“It is extra-special to beat a team who have been in the top-two all season.
“They are usually a free-scoring side, from either set- plays or from the midfield, but we kept them very quiet. They didn’t really bother us.”
That the Gills didn’t test Pool keeper Colin Doyle all game was mainly down to superb displays, and some key blocks, by Will Aimson and Tom Aldred but McDonald praised his entire team for keeping the back door shut.
He said: “The fact they didn’t manage a shot on target was credit to my whole team.
“It was nice to see Colin Doyle not doing much – it’s a change from recent weeks.
“For the last half-hour I introduced a third defender in Clark Robertson. I just thought that in the first 15 minutes of the second half they went very long, trying to play off the front two.
“I wanted to give us that bit of height. The three of them were able to attack the ball and I thought they did that very well.”
Pool were solid throughout, despite losing Hayden White and Jim McAlister to illness that morning
McDonald added: “The last three games have been tough (all against top-seven clubs) and we came away with five points – an excellent return.
“It’s about keeping this run going now as the confidence is really there with our players.
“When you are full of confidence you get results and the players are getting their just rewards now.
“Hayden has had a bad cold for the last few days and Jim McAlister was up all Friday night with a sickness bug.
“We made a couple of changes and they certainly didn’t make us any weaker.”