‘He can’t wait to get the red card out’: Neil Critchley fumes at referee after Blackpool's cruel Boxing Day defeat to Huddersfield Town

A gutted Neil Critchley felt the referee couldn’t wait to get the red card out and send Jordan Gabriel off during Blackpool’s cruel Boxing Day defeat to Huddersfield Town.

By Matt Scrafton
Sunday, 26th December 2021, 6:15 pm
Updated Sunday, 26th December 2021, 6:18 pm

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Huddersfield Town 3-2 Blackpool: Jordan Gabriel's needless red card costs Seasid...

Official Jeremy Simpson showed the right-back a second yellow card in the 61st minute at a time when the Seasiders were leading 2-1.

The moment turned out to be a big moment in the game, as the Terriers came from behind to score twice late on to seal the points.

Prior to Gabriel’s dismissal, Critchley’s side were the better team having deservedly taken a lead thanks to goals from Jerry Yates and Gary Madine.

“We had been the better team up until that point in the game,” Critchley said, reflecting on the moment that changed the outcome of the game.

“The players had given everything and they gave everything right up until the end of the game.

“We had a difficult situation with players playing out of position, but we deserved more than what we got.

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley

“When a situation like that occurs and you have to play the last period of the game with 10 men, it’s very difficult away from home.

“I don’t want to go on about the referee, but it’s very difficult not to when it has such a big bearing on the game.

“Both bookings, in my opinion, were very harsh. Unfortunately that decision has had a massive impact on the outcome of this game.”

When it was pointed out to Critchley that Gabriel was asking for trouble going in so aggressively on Lewis O’Brien while already on a yellow, Pool’s head coach said: “I’ve seen the challenge back and he’s running forward and the ball is going out of play.

“The lad goes to kick it down the line and Jordan goes to block it and the lad jumps in the air. The lad knows, he’s an experienced player and he makes it look like Jordan has crashed into him. But he hasn’t.

“There’s little if no contact at all and that’s where you need the referee to take a breather and think about it, but he doesn’t. He can’t wait to get the red card out.

“Not every foul is a yellow card. Even the first one…I was just baffled by some of the decisions throughout the game.”

After Gabriel’s dismissal, Pool had no choice but to change things up with Richard Keogh and Dujon Sterling both arriving off the bench.

Josh Bowler and Jerry Yates, two of Pool’s standout performers going the other way, were the two sacrificed.

“Unfortunately you have to think about the shape of the team and the personnel. We don’t really want to take players off who were playing well,” Critchley said.

“Josh was a real threat, Jerry was playing fantastic and took his goal so well and we looked a good team.

“We had a couple of massive moments at 2-1 to go 3-1 up and if that happens then I’m sure the game is different.

“We decided to change the shape in the middle because of the way they play and the problems they can cause you, but other than Jordan Rhodes’ header we were comfortable, even with 10 men.

“They were just very clinical with the chances they got, but that’s where you need a bit of fortune…the lad to smash it over or one of our defenders to get their body in the way. But that didn’t happen.

“It was so difficult to take because the players deserved so much more than that.”

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