Neil Critchley's verdict on Blackpool's frustrating draw against promotion rivals Lincoln City
Neil Critchley admits Blackpool’s failure to fully capitalise on their dominance was the reason behind their frustrating 2-2 draw with promotion rivals Lincoln City.
With 15 minutes to play at Sincil Bank the Seasiders were coasting towards a richly deserved sixth straight away victory thanks to a two-goal lead given to them by Ellis Simms and Sullay Kaikai.
Critchley’s men, who had been completely dominant until this point, wasted a host of golden opportunities to stretch their lead.
They were eventually made to pay for that wastefulness in front of goal when the Imps, who sit one point behind them in the table, fired in two quickfire goals to leave the visitors shell-shocked.
Despite the late disappointment, Pool extend their unbeaten run to 14 games and remain in the play-off places with eight games to go.
“We’re guilty of not taking our chances at 2-0 to finish the game. We could have quite easily gone 3 or 4-0 up at that point,” Critchley said.
“For a team that has been very good defensively away from home, we’ve not defended two moments well enough and we’ve given them a lifeline they should never have had.
“We looked a very good football team for large periods of the game, so to come away drawing 2-2 is very disappointing to say the least.
“At 2-0, the way we’ve been away from home in recent weeks, you’d expect us to see the game out.
“But sometimes it’s football. You have to give credit to Lincoln as well because they’ve got some good attacking players and they brought on some dangerous options off the bench.
“I never thought our goal was under massive pressure though, I wasn’t standing there thinking they were going to score in a minute or we were defending corner after corner and they’re getting a lot of shots in.
“It was just two isolated moments that we haven’t defended well enough. If we had scored at the other end when we should have done, then that would never have happened.
“The third goal in any game is key. As soon as they get it back to 2-1 they have got momentum and they can go for it.
“At the end of the season we’re going to face moments like that and we’re going to have to learn to see those games out and defend the goal better than that.”
Pool fans were left frustrated with the performance of referee Marc Edwards, who they felt should have shown a red card to Callum Morton for his late challenge on Chris Maxwell in the first minute of the game.
The Seasiders were then denied a penalty in stoppage-time when a Lincoln player appeared to clearly handle the ball.
“I’d have to see the Maxi incident again. It was very early in the game but I thought it was a bad challenge. He was late,” Critchley said.
“My initial reaction at the time was that he was very late and got nowhere near the ball. You could say it was a typical centre forward’s challenge.
“Would it have been different had it been at the other end of the pitch? Who knows.
“Could we have had a possible penalty at the end as well with the handball? That’s the bit of luck you need and we didn’t get it.
“But that’s not the reason why we’ve drawn today, we have to look at the things we can do better.
“These moments will happen again between now and the end of the season in certain games, hopefully in some big games coming up. So we have to learn from this experience.”
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