Opposition view: Critchley admits 'lethargic' Blackpool were below their best in shock defeat to Cobblers

Blackpool 1 Northampton Town 2
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Blackpool manager Neil Critchley feared Tuesday’s visit of Northampton would be an ‘awkward game’ for his side and so it proved as he admitted they were far from their best in the surprise 2-1 defeat at Bloomfield Road.

The Seasiders were eyeing a spot in the play-off places having demolished former league leaders Portsmouth 4-0 on Saturday, but they were in for a shock and found themselves trailing at the break after Kieron Bowie’s well-taken opener.

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Jordan Rhodes headed the home side level midway through the second half, but Cobblers pinched all three points when Sam Hoskins pounced on James Husband’s under-hit back pass 15 minutes from full-time.

Neil CritchleyNeil Critchley
Neil Critchley

"This game has a habit of reminding you how difficult it is," said Critchley. "I thought this would be an awkward game tonight.

"I knew Northampton would come here and challenge us and they did. Unfortunately we've not been good enough to find the solutions to the problems that they gave us.

"We weren't at our best all evening, it was a little bit lethargic in everything that we did. The players gave their all but we probably looked a little bit leggy at times and there was a little bit of mental fatigue.

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"That's where sometimes you have to hopefully grind out the result and be mistake-free, but unfortunately we weren't and our quality wasn't good enough all evening when we got into the final third as well.

"You know the first goal is important in any game and we had a couple of opportunities to go 1-0 up and we didn't take them. You know when you're up against a team that has come to frustrate and take their time, if they get the first goal it becomes even more difficult.

"Second half I thought we were playing a little bit more aggressively without creating many opportunities. But you know that, as the game goes on, there's always a chance that you can create a chance to score and we did.

"They produced a bit of quality to score their goal and we did the same to equalise with a fantastic cross and header, and at 1-1, you think we can go on and possibly win the game because I thought we were comfortable at that moment in time when we equalised. Then of course we've made a mistake, but that can happen.

"James Husband has been fantastic all season for us and we could've got a draw right at the death. Unfortunately we haven't got anything in the end."