Neil Critchley was delighted to win one for the fans as Blackpool earned Lancashire bragging rights with a 2-0 victory over Preston.
Keshi Anderson opened the scoring in slightly fortuitous fashion after 27 minutes as his shot found the bottom corner when the ball cannoned off his standing leg before Gary Madine finished smartly a little over 20 minutes from time to seal the three points.
Blackpool have steadily been on the up ever since the Oystons were removed as owners in early 2019 and are now sitting in the top half of the Championship, with boss Critchley claiming victory over their rivals was just reward for the vocal supporters.
“These wins are for the supporters – the three points is for them,” he said. “It was an unbelievable atmosphere, it always is, but today it went up another level.
“The supporters will enjoy their night – and rightly so.
“We’re finding different ways of winning football matches. We’ve had to battle and scrap but also play some good football in the first half.
“In the second half I felt we were quite comfortable, there was not a lot in the game.”
Preston could have equalised early in the second half when Ben Whiteman inexplicably shot wide with just the goalkeeper to beat and they were punished as Madine finished after great work from strike partner Jerry Yates soon after.
And Critchley believes it was no less than his side deserved as he reserved praise for his attacking duo.
“We maybe had a little bit of luck with the first goal, but I thought the second goal was really good,” he added. “I thought Gary and Jerry linked up really well.
“It was a lovely bit of skill from Jerry on the edge of the box, he passes it through the defender’s legs on purpose, and Gary then gets in there with a lovely little touch and it creeps into the far corner.
“After that I felt we were quite comfortable in the end.”
Preston recorded an impressive 2-1 victory over Coventry in midweek but failed to back that up, with their day being summed up by skipper Alan Browne being sent off in injury-time for a second yellow card after getting involved in an ugly melee.
And boss Frankie McAvoy admitted Whiteman missing the glorious opportunity to make the game 1-1 proved decisive.
“I’m disappointed with the score. I felt first half Blackpool were better, but I changed our shape and we got better,” he said.
“We had a chat at half-time and said we needed to be a wee bit more aggressive, like we were the other night against Coventry.
“We got our wing-backs higher up the pitch and really tried to make it as difficult as we could for them, which I felt we did on the main in the second half.
“But goals change games and I felt the difference was when Ben missed a fantastic opportunity to equalise. I felt we were the team in the ascendancy, but unfortunately we conceded the second goal.
“I don’t think we were carved open at any time barring a few mistakes which happen in a derby game.
“Blackpool have won 2-0, but I don’t think there was a great deal in the game. I’m bitterly disappointed for the fans. I know what it means to everybody and as a group we know we need to be better.”
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