Neil Critchley disappointed as Blackpool blip goes on against Oxford

By Sports Desk February 10, 2024

Neil Critchley believes Blackpool did not switch on quickly enough in their 1-1 draw with League One play-off rivals Oxford at Bloomfield Road.

Blackpool led the game after an 18th-minute goal from Matt Pennington but conceded just three minutes later to Oxford’s Mark Harris.

The result did little for either team, with Oxford sitting seventh, a point off the top six after a five-match winless run, and Blackpool – three without a victory themselves – a further five points adrift.

Critchley said: “We’re disappointed we didn’t take the three points if I’m honest, I thought we started the game well and scored from a well-worked set piece.

“The disappointment is the goal we conceded so soon after and the manner in which we conceded it, that knocked us a little bit.

“After our goal, we didn’t switch on quickly enough, we lost ourselves for a minute or two. It’s uncharacteristic of us in set pieces this season.

“It’s hugely frustrating, Oxford are a good team with good players but we dominated the second half and pushed them back. In the last few games, we’ve not got the points that we deserve.

“We can go anywhere and win, home or away doesn’t matter to me, they’re all tough games in this league.

“I thought the game was a good standard for League One, it was two good teams on show.”

Critchley also confirmed that Jordan Rhodes is unlikely to be ready for Tuesday’s game with Cheltenham after sustaining a rib injury against Charlton.

Oxford were bolstered by returnees as Billy Bodin and Josh Murphy came from the bench to combine for a golden chance in the closing stages.

But the U’s were unable to find a winner which would have moved them into the top six.

Manager Des Buckingham said: “We had a chance at the end of the game, it was an excellent cross by Josh Murphy into Billy Bodin but somehow it’s come off the post.

“To come here, it’s a very tough place, there are not many teams that have left here this season with anything.

“The second half was a bit scrappy for both teams, it was a bit of a fight and they worked with determination.

“Overall, we did enough to have taken three but pleased equally that it was one – Jamie Cumming made a world-class save to make sure we leave here with a point.

“We’re not going to hide behind excuses or the reality of what it is, we’ve been stretched extremely thin over the last two months.

“There’s plenty to come, we are sticking in and around where we want to be because, as you’ve seen today, we are stronger.”

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