Neil Critchley rues start to the second half as Hartlepool beat 'unrecognisable' Blackpool in the FA Cup third round

Neil Critchley described his Blackpool side as 'unrecognisable' as they surrendered a one goal lead to lose 2-1 to Hartlepool United in the third round of the FA Cup.

Saturday, 8th January 2022, 3:48 pm
Updated Saturday, 8th January 2022, 3:50 pm

Keshi Anderson had given the Seasiders the lead in the first half but goals from David Ferguson and Joe Grey saw the Pools into the hat for the next round.

Taking the lead into the break was no less than Blackpool deserved after controlling proceedings for the opening 45 minutes, Shane Lavery also missed two golden opportunities to extend the visitors' lead further.

The home side fought back in the second half however and were a goal up by the hour mark.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Blackpool boss Neil Critchley during his side's 2-1 defeat to Hartlepool in the third round of the FA Cup.

After taking the lead just eight minutes into the game, Blackpool boss Critchley felt their early success actually played against them and was disappointed with the way his side came out after half time.

He said : "We've had a real taste of what FA Cup football is all about today. Unfortunately we're on the receiving end of the low of the FA Cup.

"We scored early which was maybe one of the worst things we could have done in the game. At 1-0 we had control of the game and had some big opportunities to go two and 3-0 up.

"What has cost us is our start to the second half - a 15, 20 minute period where we were not at it at all.

"We were totally unrecognisable of a Blackpool team since I have been in charge here.

"They had a little bit of fortune with their first goal with a deflection then they score not long after. I think the first goal affected us, we lost control of the game, we turned the ball over and gave the ball away.

"Our defending for both goals was really poor and then you're left chasing the game, we still created some good chances we just haven't taken them. Ultimately, at both ends of the football pitch, we weren't good enough and that's why we've been beaten."

It is a missed opportunity for Blackpool who faced a side 52 places below them, though Hartlepool have previous already in this year's competition, knocking out both Wycombe Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday who are both higher ranked than the Pools.

As the Seasiders continued to squander chance after chance and the home side grew into the game, Crtichley bemoaned the missed opportunities whilst also admitting the day belonged to Hartlepool.

He said: "Missing the chances gives the opposition a lift, they're thinking this should be over but we're still in it. Whilst it's 1-0 they're always in with a chance.

"We had some real guilt-edged opportunities to go 2-0 up and the game would have been different.

"The start of the second half was unacceptable for us. I wouldn't want to use the word complacency but the players did give me that feeling.

"After the second goal we did get going again but it was too little too late and Hartlepool have already shown this season that they can be teams higher up in the league pyramid.

"They have a good home record and they're hard to beat on their home pitch.

"Fair play to them, good luck. I hope they get a really good draw in the next round now, this is their day."

Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 per month for the first two months. Try us today by clicking here.