'We weren't at our best': Neil Critchley on Blackpool's draw against Crewe and contentious offside appeals
Neil Critchley admitted his Blackpool side weren’t at their best during tonight’s 1-1 draw with his former club Crewe.
The Railwaymen scored four minutes from time to deny Blackpool a fourth straight victory on the first anniversary of Critchley’s appointment.
Substitute Stephen Walker fired past Chris Maxwell to deal a blow to Blackpool’s hopes of cutting the gap to the League One play-offs.
The goal, the first the Seasiders had conceded in almost six hours of football, levelled matters after Dan Ballard had given Critchley’s men a first-half lead with his first goal for the club.
Dave Artell’s side had dominated the opening period, but Pool defended resolutely and took their chance from a set-piece when it came.
A fourth straight victory and a sixth win in seven looked on the cards after an uneventful second-half, but Walker struck to put an end to Blackpool’s hot streak.
Nevertheless, the Seasiders continue their unbeaten home run which stretches back to October.
“The end result is probably about right,” Critchley said.
“I didn’t think we were at our best tonight, I’ve got to be honest. I thought Crewe started the game well in the first 20 minutes. We just weren’t at it, we weren’t up to the speed of the game.
“We grew into the half and got better, scored a really good goal from a corner and I thought we started the second-half much better.
“We spoke about a few things at half-time that we wanted to do better and we did that.
“We had one or two opportunities to go 2-0 up but we’ve not taken them. If we did, then I’d fancy us to go and win the game.
“The longer the game stays 1-0, they can obviously commit more men forward which they did and scored a goal that was avoidable.
“I’m sure they’ll say it was something they were looking for all night and early on it gave us a problem, that type of ball. But for the rest of the game we dealt with it well, apart from that one moment.
“We showed a good response to the setback, but so did they and it was really end-to-end near the end, no-one was settling for a point.”
A number of Blackpool players appealed for offside as Walker ran through on goal late on, but the linesman, who changed midway through the second-half when the fourth official replaced the original official, who picked up an injury, kept his flag down.
“I haven’t seen it back, so it’s hard to say from where I was on the side,” Critchley added.
“I’m not sure it was, it looked like he ran from a deep position to me.
“The one I want to see back is the one we had when Jerry Yates got down the middle of the pitch and he’s 1v1 with the goalkeeper.
“That, to me, I’m looking across the line and it looked borderline. I’d like to see it back because if they’ve got that one wrong, then it’s a ball straight down the middle of the pitch and our centre forward is through on goal against the goalkeeper when it’s 1-0. So that’s a huge decision.”
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