Neil Critchley delighted to be able to share first Blackpool win with supporters



Posted Sunday, September 20, 2020 by PA

Neil Critchley delighted to be able to share first Blackpool win with supporters

Blackpool head coach Neil Critchley was delighted to be able to share his first competitive win in charge of the Seasiders with the club’s supporters, who witnessed their side’s 2-0 victory over Swindon.

The match at Bloomfield Road was one of seven across the EFL to take part in a pilot scheme to reintroduce spectators at sporting events, with around 1,000 spread around the stands.

The lucky ‘few’ were able to see Blackpool get off the mark for the new season, both in terms of points in League One and in goals, as they ended a three-match run without scoring.

That was down to CJ Hamilton scoring either side of half-time to reward what was an excellent personal performance and a team display that grew in confidence as the game wore on.

Critchley said: “It was a great feeling to have them back.

“When you look around and you see faces, you realise that people just want to come and support their team and they want to come and have their release on a Saturday afternoon.

“I think it was really important for them to be here today and share that performance with us and the three points.

“I have to say it was quite emotional, to be honest.

“It felt like it was a special atmosphere with them in the ground.

“They got right behind the team and I’m really delighted that they’ve seen a good performance and can go home happy tonight.”

On Hamilton’s match-winning display, Critchley said: “Two really good goals, different goals.

“One on the outside where he scored with his right foot and one coming back inside and scoring with his left foot.

“One v one, he’s hard to stop, so he’ll get the plaudits from the game, but I thought there were some other outstanding performances on the pitch.”

Swindon were the quickest to settle in the game and came close after 12 minutes when Jonny Smith cut inside from the right before placing a shot narrowly wide.

A mistake by Zeki Fryers in trying to play the ball out then led to a chance for Bez Lubala, but he scuffed his effort at Robins goalkeeper Matej Kovar.

But Blackpool’s first goal of the season eventually arrived four minutes before half-time when Hamilton drove at the visitors’ defence before beating Kovar at his near post.

Hamilton doubled his tally just two minutes after the restart when he chased down Ollie Turton’s pass down the right before cutting inside and slamming his shot home.

Chances for Swindon were few and far between, but Hallam Hope almost halved the deficit when he struck the inside of the post.

But Blackpool had opportunities to make the victory more emphatic, with Ethan Robson a whisker away when he hit the underside of the bar with three minutes left.

Swindon boss Richie Wellens said: “I thought up until their goal we were very good.

“We were poor on occasions in the final third when we had opportunities.

“They gave the ball away three times when we outnumbered them and we don’t even get a shot on goal, so our decision-making was very poor in the final third.

“I think for the first half an hour, I think the way we knocked the ball around was very good, but you have to have an end product, you have to work their ‘keeper and we didn’t do it enough today.

“I think when we gave the ball away in the wrong areas they were a threat and the last 15 minutes I’m not happy with at all, at times we looked shambolic.

“I know we’re getting players up to speed, but if we’re deep then the whole team needs to be deep.”

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