Neil Critchley delivers his verdict on Blackpool's New Year's Day victory against Hull City

Neil Critchley believes it would have been a “travesty” if his Blackpool side had emerged empty-handed from their three games over the festive period.

By Matt Scrafton
Saturday, 1st January 2022, 6:31 pm
Updated Saturday, 1st January 2022, 6:32 pm

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Blackpool 1-0 Hull City: Gary Madine penalty and late Dan Grimshaw heroics ensur...

The Seasiders got back to winning ways today with a hard-earned 1-0 win against Hull City thanks to Gary Madine’s first-half penalty.

The win also owed a great deal to goalkeeper Dan Grimshaw, who made five excellent saves including two deep into stoppage-time.

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After gut-wrenching back-to-back defeats against Huddersfield Town and Middlesbrough, Critchley was delighted to see his side claim a richly deserved win.

“If they had scored at the end I’m not sure what I would have done, to be honest with you,” he said.

“We don’t make things easy for ourselves, do we? We had to do everything we could to win that game.

“It’s so hard to win a game of football in this division and you have to get it right at both ends of the pitch.

Neil Critchley celebrates the win at full-time

“We didn’t play out the last few minutes any better than the other night, so we had to rely on our goalkeeper to produce two moments of real brilliance to win us the game.

“I have to say, I’m not saying we deserved it today, but over the course of the week if we had come away with no points from those three games, or maybe even one, that would have been a travesty.”

While Critchley was understandably relieved to get over the line, he still has concerns over his side’s inability to put sides to bed.

The Seasiders had multiple chances to extend their lead, but were left to rue some poor decision-making in the final third.

“After we’ve taken a few days and cleared our heads and have a little bit of a welcome breather, that will be my message to the players,” Critchley added.

“We only want to improve and we want to be looking up in this division, but this game really should have been 2 or 3-0.

“At 1-0 we were comfortable in the game because they never really got near our goal in the second-half.

“We kept them at bay and we had numerous opportunities to score and numerous counter-attacking opportunities with three-vs-twos or four-vs-threes and our final pass let us down.

“They opened up quite early in the game and we should have finished the game off, but we didn’t.

“When it’s 1-0, you know the opposition can change their shape and throw on loads of attackers, which is what they did, and throw men forwards - which is what they did.

“It was a crazy end to the game but it shouldn’t have got to that stage.”

Once the full-time whistle blew, the majority of Blackpool’s players headed straight over to Grimshaw to congratulate the shot stopper for his late brilliance.

“We’re indebted to him at the end because those saves have won us the game, but I wouldn’t want to single him out because the whole team have given us everything,” Critchley said.

“We’ve had to put up with so much this week. We’re one of only two teams in the Championship who have faced our schedule this week of three games in seven days.

“There are games being called off left, right and centre, but we haven’t. We’ve carried on playing and the whole group deserved that moment.

“They deserved that feeling in the dressing room and they deserved the three points.”

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