Neil Critchley left with feeling of déjà vu after Blackpool's play-off hopes are dealt a major blow with a second consecutive defeat

Neil Critchley was left with a feeling of déjà vu after his Blackpool side slumped to a second straight 1-0 defeat in just five days.

Saturday, 24th April 2021, 6:12 pm
Updated Saturday, 24th April 2021, 6:24 pm

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Matt Pennington’s second-half header for Shrewsbury Town made it back-to-back defeats for the Seasiders, who were also beaten by the same scoreline at Rochdale in midweek.

That loss at Spotland ended Pool’s 16-game unbeaten run, while this defeat brought about their first defeat at Bloomfield Road in over six months - a streak that stretched back 18 games in all competitions.

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Neil Critchley's Blackpool remain in the play-offs, but only on goal difference

Pool were well below-par once again and struggled to break down a side that were happy to sit back and frustrate, something the Seasiders have often performed poorly against this season.

Despite the setback, Critchley’s side remain in the League One play-offs, although they drop down to sixth with their buffer being wiped out ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Sunderland.

Portsmouth, who sit in seventh, are now level on points with Blackpool whose goal difference is superior by three.

“It feels a bit like déjà vu, really,” Critchley said.

“Teams are obviously looking at how to beat us. Shrewsbury have changed their shape today, they’ve made it very difficult for us and put everyone behind the ball.

“I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but we got into some very good areas, remained patient and passed the ball well, but the final bits let us down.

“I would say we created better chances than we did against Rochdale on Tuesday night, especially after half-time.

“You need to take one of those chances and change the game, to force a team that has come to frustrate and maybe get a point or pick up three from a set-piece or a breakaway. Unfortunately that’s what has cost us.

“A big disappointment though is the goal we conceded, because the worst that game should be is 0-0.

“It’s a really poor goal, just as it was against Rochdale on Tuesday night.

“We started the second-half well, had a couple of chances and didn’t take them. We’re in their half in a really good attacking situation, we turn the ball over too cheaply and we then end up defending a corner and we’ve not defended it well enough.

“That was probably the only time they got out of their own half in the second-half, so to lose in that manner is even more frustrating than the whole game.”

Try as they might, the Seasiders struggled to create any more meaningful opportunities, as they failed to break down a stubborn backline for the second game running.

“The last two games would suggest we’re struggling a little bit (against teams that set out to stop us),” Critchley added.

“I can’t fault the honesty and the commitment of the players though, they’re pushing right until the end and they’ve given everything.

“It wasn’t a fatigue thing, our intensity was there, we weren’t flat, we gave it everything we got, we were pushing forward…

“I thought we could have created a bit more chaos in the penalty area. We only did that with the last sort of two, three or four forays of play where we forced a corner and Ethan (Robson) has got a shot off. But we could have done that a bit sooner. We didn’t get the ball into the box often enough.

“We never said it was going to be easy though and it isn’t. But we’ve got time and we’ve got four games to put it right.”

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