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Neil Critchley says Blackpool had to ‘work hard’ to beat Forest Green in FA Cup

SoccerNews in FA Cup 19 Dec 2023

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Blackpool boss Neil Critchley hailed his side’s determination after a 3-0 win against struggling Forest Green Rovers set up a third-round FA Cup clash with Nottingham Forest.

The Seasiders were without several players in the rescheduled fixture, with Kylian Kouassi and Shayne Lavery among those sidelined through injury.

Thanks to goals from Owen Dale in the first half and Jordan Gabriel and Marvin Ekpiteta in the second, Blackpool cruised to victory at Bloomfield Road.

Critchley hoped for better injury fortune over the festive period as his side prepare to face Bristol Rovers.

He said: “We had to work hard for it until the last 15 minutes. I always felt we were the dominant team, we were comfortable.

“But whilst it’s 1-0, you’re always mindful of them getting a breakaway or set-piece or something.

“Until we got the second goal, although we were pretty dominant, you’re never quite sure that you’re going to win the game.

“Hopefully we have a clean bill of health and we can move on to Bristol Rovers on Saturday now.

“You look across the team, some players haven’t played for a bit so it’s not going to be easy. There was an element of risk doing that – a calculated one but the players equipped themselves well and we’re into the next round.”

The Seasiders dominated for much of the game against their League Two opponents, as David Horseman’s second-half triple substitution did little to trouble Blackpool’s defence.

Horseman admitted goalkeeper Luke Daniels’ 18th-minute error made it an “uphill battle” after Dale pounced on a loose ball to tap home for the first.

He insisted 3-0 was a flattering scoreline for Blackpool and rued soft goals that led to their second-round exit.

He said: “They were bigger, quicker and stronger all over the pitch and won every duel.

“We were OK and organised. Luke hasn’t had many saves to make, but to give the first goal away makes it an uphill challenge.

“The second one is a 60-yard ball diagonal from the wide man that splits two players and goes through and at the end it’s a free header. We gave away three really soft goals.

“It’s a marker we need to do much better.

“The goals were really bad individual errors. We knew when we made the changes and bring the boys on, we give the second goal away.

“The three goals were really, really bad. The 3-0 I think flatters them, they deserved to win but it flatters them. It leaves a really bad taste.”

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