We dominated second half – Neil Critchley felt Blackpool deserved point at Wigan

By Sports Desk March 16, 2024

Neil Critchley felt his Blackpool side deserved a point at Wigan after suffering a 1-0 defeat that dented their Sky Bet League One play-off aspirations.

An away win would have seen Blackpool climb to sixth in the table on goal difference ahead of the international break.

But Scott Smith’s 26th-minute goal – his first in senior football – proved to be the difference at the DW Stadium, as Wigan climbed to the 50-point mark.

Blackpool had chances to go home with a point, but England Under-21 goalkeeper Sam Tickle denied Shayne Lavery in the first half, before Wigan Academy product Kyle Joseph headed just wide for the visitors after the break.

“Yes, it was a fine line today, and we knew it was going to be like that,” said Critchley. “Looking at some of their recent results, most of them have been low-scoring games, and we knew the first goal would be decisive.

“They got it, from a really great cross but, from our point of view, a poor goal to concede.

“In the second half we were by far the more dominant team, we pinned them back, and it’s not easy to break down 11 men, but we created some decent chances.

“When you do that, you have to take one of them, and we couldn’t do that.

“You’re not going to come here and dominate for 90 minutes, they’re a good team with some good players.

“They play a really good brand of possession football, they overload the middle of the pitch, and they make it really difficult for you.

“I’ve watched a lot of them this season, and they cause a lot of teams a lot of problems with how they play.

“But there was nothing in the game…they got the first goal, and we dominated the second half.

“Overall I thought we deserved to get a point from the game, but it wasn’t to be.”

Wigan boss Shaun Maloney said: “It was two very different halves.

“Blackpool are one of the better teams in the league without the ball, and when you don’t get your build-up play right, they can quickly create chances.

“I really enjoyed the first half, but the second half was the complete opposite.

“We had to defend, and they had a couple of good chances, one a header and one that hit the side-netting.

“But I get just as much pleasure from watching that second-half performance as the first half.

“In the first half, we went very aggressive with the line-up, but we had to play under great pressure – and we did.

“Blackpool are a very good side, they’re going for the play-offs, and the more attacking they went in the second half, the more we had to defend.

“We’ve had to rely on Sam Tickle a lot in these kinds of matches, but I thought we defended pretty well.

“We gave up two chances in that second half, but in other matches we’ve given up a few more.

“In that sense, it was pleasing that we restricted them to that number of chances.”

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