Blackpool boss Neil Critchley hailed a job well done by his side after their 1-0 victory at Northampton on Tuesday.

A cagey first half at Sixfields yielded little in the way of clear-cut chances but Blackpool took control after the break, with Matt Pennington making the crucial breakthrough.

The visitors then defended well and limited Northampton to very few opportunities as they moved to within one point of the play-off places.

“I thought we played well and we looked like a good team,” said Critchley. “We played with belief and a bit of arrogance.

“They changed their shape and they changed their team and paid us a bit of respect but we had good control of the game and we said at half-time to be patient and keep doing the right things.

“If we kept passing it, they’ll tire, and to score from a set-piece was really nice because that’s something we have worked on and it’s something we highlighted that we needed to improve.

“Their goalkeeper made an unbelievable save from Marvin Ekpiteta in the first half but we felt the ball crossed the line, so to score from another set-piece in the second half was pleasing.

“After we scored, without the ball, we looked really assured and it was a composed and controlled performance.

“We’ve only lost one in six and that’s now three consecutive clean sheets so we’re in good form and we feel we’re building momentum.

“Tonight’s gone, we have eight games to go this season and now we’re focused on Wigan on Saturday.”

Northampton boss Jon Brady was not too downhearted despite his side’s toothless performance.

He said: “In my opinion it shows how far we’ve come because we feel a little bit disappointed and the fans are a little bit disappointed and we’re playing against Blackpool.

“They were tipped for automatic promotion this season and they are a team going for the play-offs and they have some very good players, but possession-wise I felt we went toe-to-toe with them.

“We couldn’t find the solutions in attack because they dropped back into shape in the second half and they were very hard to break down. They are a very good side and have destroyed a lot of good teams recently.

“I thought there were spells where we played well but they score a goal from a set-piece, a scrappy goal, and that’s disappointing because we should defend that better and it’s the key moment in the game.”

Blackpool moved to within a point of the League One play-offs with a 1-0 victory at Northampton on Tuesday.

Matt Pennington’s scrappy second-half strike was the difference as the Seasiders closed the gap on the teams above them.

The Cobblers were first to threaten at Sixfields when Kieron Bowie set his sights from the edge of the box but his shot was straight down the throat of Dan Grimshaw.

Chances were at a premium in the first half but Blackpool thought they had opened the scoring through Marvin Ekpiteta, whose effort hit the underside of the crossbar and seemingly bounced over the line only for the officials not to award a goal.

Pennington headed another chance over for the visitors but it was not until the second half when the game opened up.

After Jordan Rhodes shot into the side-netting, Blackpool made the breakthrough 10 minutes after the restart when Karamoko Dembele’s free-kick led to an almighty scramble in the box with Pennington stabbing in the loose ball.

Northampton had struggled to create anything of note all game and that continued after the goal, with the visitors comfortably seeing out victory.

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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