Neil Critchley on Blackpool's goalless draw against Accrington Stanley, the 'ludicrous' penalty decision and Chris Maxwell's late heroics

Neil Critchley insists he was pleased with Blackpool’s performance during their goalless draw against Accrington Stanley.

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 9:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 10:02 pm

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Blackpool 0-0 Accrington Stanley: Chris Maxwell makes vital late penalty save to...

Neil Critchley insists he was pleased with Blackpool’s performance during their goalless draw against Accrington Stanley.

The Seasiders were reliant on Chris Maxwell’s penalty save two minutes from time to maintain their unbeaten run, which now stretches back 15 games.

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Blackpool didn’t quite hit the heights of some of their displays in recent weeks having been successfully stifled by John Coleman’s side, but Critchley wasn’t too downbeat.

“I’m not disappointed with the performance, I thought it was two good teams on the pitch tonight,” Pool’s head coach said.

“We started the game very well, for the first 20 minutes we were in the ascendancy and had a very good chance to score.

“I felt we were going to score in that spell, it felt like a goal was coming. But it didn’t and then they start to come into it a little bit.

Neil Critchley cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines

“They had some throw-ins and corners which we dealt with well, so it became a type of game they would have wanted.

“Second-half, we had control of the game without threatening the goal enough but there were very few chances at either end.

“I don’t remember Maxi having a save to make all evening, other than the penalty save and we’ve had the best, clearest opportunities but we’ve not taken one. If we take one, then goals change games and it would have changed for us.

“I’ve got no complaints with how we played though, the effort was there, our intensity was there and we played some really good football as well.

“Great credit to Accrington though. It seems to happen that when they get beat heavily they go and draw the next game 0-0, because the same happened when they conceded seven against Peterborough.

“That’s why I was wary of playing a team that has just been beaten heavily because you know they’re going to come and make sure they do everything to stay in the game, stay resolute and well-organised.

“I thought we had some good moments and some good play around the box, I have to give them credit, it just wasn’t our night.”

Jordan Gabriel was the man penalised for a foul in Blackpool’s penalty area in the 88th minute, bringing down Sean McConville.

Colby Bishop was the man to step up from 12 yards, but Maxwell stood firm to make what could turn out to be a vital stop.

“I thought it was a ludicrous decision,” Critchley said, on the referee’s decision to award Stanley a spot kick.

“Sean McConville has great experience, he’s a clever player. He got his foot to the ball and knew exactly what he was doing.

“I have to say Accrington could have had a penalty before that, it looked more like a penalty to me because someone kicked Cameron Burgess’ foot and he went over.

“Maybe the referee knew he had made a mistake on the first one and wanted to even it up with the second one, but he shouldn’t make that decision. Just because you get the first one wrong doesn’t mean you have to even it up, you have to judge every incident on its own.

“If we had lost the game, that would have been extremely cruel on us.”

Critchley added: “It was a brilliant save though. Big players produce big moments.

“I’ll have to ask him, I haven’t yet, if he thought he was going to go down the middle because he stood still. It was very brave if he did.

“I actually thought the ball had gone underneath his body, but it was a great save and an important save because it keeps our unbeaten run going, it gives us a clean sheet and it’s another point.

“That point could be very important in seven games’ time.”

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