FINAL-DAY WORRY AS POOL SLIP
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.”
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