The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Sam All­sop

IT WAS a golden chance missed for Black­pool but man­ager Gary Bowyer has urged his side to learn from their mis­takes and com­plete their play-off job next week­end.

Vic­tory at Notts County would have all but se­cured a play-off spot for the Tan­ger­ines, but in­stead Richard Duffy’s goal dropped them to sev­enth in the ta­ble.

A home win against al­ready-rel­e­gated Ley­ton Ori­ent on the fi­nal day will se­cure a top-seven spot, thanks to their su­perb goal dif­fer­ence, but Bowyer is de­mand­ing a much-im­proved dis­play.

“We huffed and puffed and gave away a silly goal,” said Bowyer.

“Our foot­ball was ex­cel­lent and we cre­ated some great open­ings but it was just our de­ci­sion-mak­ing in the fi­nal third and that fi­nal pass that let us down.

“There wasn’t much in the game. We’ve just spo­ken about try­ing to find a way to get that one goal and we didn’t do enough of that and that was dis­ap­point­ing.

“It’s in our hands and that’s the po­si­tion you want to be in. What we have got to do is learn from this game and put it right dur­ing the week in train­ing and go again next Satur­day.”

Cen­tre-half Duffy’s fourth goal of the sea­son was all that sep­a­rated the two sides after he headed into an un­guarded net fol­low­ing Black­pool keeper Sam Slo­combe’s bril­liantly block on Jorge Grant’s free-kick.

The Mag­pies had the bet­ter chances over a largely dour 90 min- utes as vet­eran striker Jon Stead brought a good save from Slo­combe be­fore the break and an even bet­ter one from 20 yards after the in­ter­val fol­low­ing a bril­liant solo run.

As Kevin Nolan was do­ing his post-match press du­ties, County chair­man Alan Hardy crept up be­hind and gave him a big kiss on the cheek – a rare sight of loy­alty and af­fec­tion in mod­ern­day foot­ball.

But Hardy can be for­given for let­ting his emo­tions get the bet­ter of him as Nolan has moved the club well clear of the rel­e­ga­tion dog­fight since tak­ing over as boss in Jan­uary.

“We like to snog each other ev­ery now and then,” said a clearly ju­bi­lant Nolan.

“When we first came in there was only 2,000 or 3,000 com­ing here but to get where we are to­day is a great achieve­ment from all the lads, Alan [Hardy] and all his back­room staff be­cause he’s had one hell of a job to do but he’s given it 110 per cent. “The lads are ab­so­lutely de­lighted with what we re­ceived there, so thank you to the fans, we hope you have a good evening and a good sum­mer and come back next sea­son full of voice. “Hope­fully we can keep get­ting wins and make this ground a fortress. “The fans have shown they’ll come out in force and that makes it dif­fi­cult for any team com­ing here.”

PICTURES: ProS­ports/ Jon Hob­ley

NOTH­ING DUFF HERE: El­liott He­witt cel­e­brates with Richard Duffy after he notched the only goal of the game

TURN: Shola Ameobi cuts in­side de­fender Tom Al­dred

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