Neil Critchley hailed a brave Blackpool performance as the Seasiders beat promotion rivals Barnsley 3-2 to boost their League One play-off chances.

Goals from Sonny Carey, James Husband and Hayden Coulson put the hosts 3-0 up but John McAtee pulled one back for Barnsley, before Adam Phillips’ late strike set up a nervy finish.

Blackpool need to win their final game of the season away to Reading, and hope that both Lincoln and Oxford drop points in order to secure a place in the top six.

Blackpool are bang in form and have now won their last four games, with Critchley proud of their battling display.

“We don’t do things easy, but I thought we were outstanding up until they scored their first goal. Even when they scored their first goal, we had chances to make it 4-1,” he said.

“We looked a really good team. Our mentality was excellent, we played with confidence and took the game to the opposition. I’m not sure how it ended 3-2, but we won and we take it down to a very exciting and interesting last day.

“It was on par with our best of the season the first hour. We played with a calmness in possession and with an intensity without the ball. We were dangerous.

“I didn’t enjoy the end to the game, but I’m grateful we got the three points.

“We had to win this game, so we took the handbrake off and went for it. The only blot on the copybook today was the goals we conceded.”

Carey gave Blackpool the lead on 12 minutes with a curling shot from 25 yards out that found the corner, while Husband headed in Karamoko Dembele’s pinpoint free-kick before Coulson smashed one into the roof of the net just after the restart.

McAtee pulled one back for Barnsley to give them a glimmer of hope midway through the second half, steering into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Phillips then set up a nervy finish in added time when he fired into the corner, but Critchley’s side held on.

Barnsley know a win on the final day will secure them a play-off place but manager Neil Collins knows they can not relax.

“I think we just got overwhelmed at the start of the game and we created our own problems right from the start – poor clearances, poor in tackles, poor defending,” he said.

“We came out second half, and again we made poor decisions and went 3-0 down. It would have been very easy for the players to feel sorry for themselves, and were it not for some of the officiating we should be standing here with a point.

“Performance wise, it wasn’t up to standard. But the spirit the players showed was really good, and again we were on the wrong side of a couple of decisions.”

Blackpool kept their play-off hopes alive with a 3-2 win over fellow promotion chasers Barnsley.

Sonny Carey gave Blackpool the lead on 12 minutes with a curling shot from 25 yards out that found the corner.

A James Husband header from Karamoko Dembele’s pinpoint free-kick put Blackpool 2-0 up on the stroke of half-time, while Hayden Coulson smashed one into the roof of the net just after the restart.

John McAtee pulled one back for Barnsley to give them a glimmer of hope midway through the second half, steering into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Adam Phillips then set up a nervy finish in added time when he fired into the corner, but Neil Critchley’s side held on.

The Seasiders need to win their final game of the season away to Reading, and hope that both Lincoln and Oxford drop points in order to secure a place in the top six, while fifth-place Barnsley know a win will be enough.

John Mousinho hailed Portsmouth’s “remarkable achievement” after the come-from-behind 3-2 win over Barnsley at Fratton Park secured the League One title and promotion to the Championship.

Pompey looked to be missing their opportunity in front of their own fans when, needing one point to return to the second tier after a 12-year absence, they were 2-1 behind after Devante Cole and John McAtee struck either side of Kusini Yengi’s equaliser.

But the hosts hit back in the final seven minutes with Colby Bishop scoring from the penalty spot and Conor Shaughnessy heading home the winner.

Mousinho told BBC Radio Solent Sport: “I think once everything settles down it will sink in properly. I’ve never experienced anything like that, the last 15 minutes, it was absolutely incredible.

“Even at 2-1 down, to get the momentum and the crowd behind us, I am just so proud of the boys. I’m genuinely just so pleased for everyone connected to the football club. They’ve gone through so much.

“When we got it back to 3-2 I thought we have played so poor, but found a way to win somehow in a game where we really struggled. It really does sum up the boys.

“A tough night, tough conditions, but they got the job done. It’s hard for me to sum it up, but I get what’s happened over the last 15 years at the club and how difficult it was, on the brink of liquidation, to come back and have a night like this is incredible to be involved in.

“To be head coach, it is a privilege. Hopefully we can have a few more nights like this.

“I never could have imagined this happening this quickly. This was obviously the goal at some point, but didn’t think it would happen with two games to go this season. It is a remarkable achievement. That is a serious effort to be crowned champions ahead of some of the big boys in this league as well.”

Play-off chasing Barnsley, having lost three of their last four games, are four points above seventh-placed Lincoln.

Boss Neill Collins told the club’s official website: “There are a lot of positives. But the biggest frustration is that all those positives didn’t add up to what I thought would be a deserved victory.

“We perform like that, we’ll be fine. We’ll win games. It’s just the fine margins. For me, it’s the fine margins that have gone against us the past four or five games.

“Tonight again, it’s some of our doing. But that’s what we need to concentrate on. That’s what the Football League is all about.”

Conor Shaughnessy struck late on as Portsmouth secured the League One title and promotion to the Championship with a 3-2 win over Barnsley at Fratton Park.

Pompey knew one point would return them to the second tier following a 12-year absence, but they were up against it after Devante Cole and John McAtee scored for the play-off chasing Tykes either side of Kusini Yengi’s equaliser.

However, the hosts got the job done courtesy of Colby Bishop’s 83rd-minute penalty and Shaughnessy’s last-gasp effort.

Barnsley head coach Neill Collins praised the resilience of his side as they came from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Reading.

Sam Smith and Lewis Wing netted for the visitors, with Adam Phillips and Fabio Jalo providing equalisers.

Collins said: “Ultimately, we gave ourselves a chance to win the game. But equally, we didn’t give ourselves enough of a chance with some of the mistakes we made.

“I thought the players’ effort, attitude, resilience was fantastic and they gave everything right to the last minute.

“I think in the last 10-15 minutes we were the team that looked most like winning.”

On his side’s start to the game, Collins said: “I think we started the game really well. We created opportunities, but then a little bit of nervousness crept in. There were moments in the first half that were poor.

“But there was equally good play at the other end. There were aspects of it I was disappointed with, but it wasn’t a really poor first-half performance.

“It was just moments where poor decision-making and poor execution led to chances.

“We caused them equal amount of problems going the other way and it was just one of those games in terms of the open nature of it.”

On his side coming back from behind twice, Collins said: “To score quick helped us a lot. I think it got the stadium up and then Fabio (Jalo) nearly just took the roof off two minutes later with his shot that blasted off the post.”

Reading head coach Ruben felt his side should have won. He said: “I don’t consider it a very good point. I think we deserved the three points.

“I think we had chances to go and win the game. We didn’t take our chances to do it and in the end, we suffer a little bit.

“I don’t like the point; I prefer to take three. I think we deserve more.

“I think it’s a signal of where we are moving and how we are moving as a team. We can come here, we can compete, we can use our principles and now we need to make one more step and finish the chances when we have them.

“Today I think we should make it and get at least one more goal. I want to believe it’s part of the process.

“There’s still a couple of games to go and we need to continue growing.”

On the amount of chances his side were creating, Selles said: “I’m pleased with the way that we play, the personality we have.

“We have ambitions to be better and the team needs to be better and I need to push them to the limits. I think we are still in process.”

Barnsley had to come from behind twice to draw 2-2 draw with Reading.

The Reds are yet to confirm a play-off spot, whilst Reading have all-but ensured Sky Bet League One safety.

Sam Smith and Lewis Wing netted for the visitors, with Adam Phillips and Fabio Jalo providing equalisers.

The Royals opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Smith nodded home from Femi Azeez’s corner.

Barnsley levelled in the 29th minute when John McAtee dinked a cross from the left for Phillips to head in for his 10th goal of the season.

Smith wasted a guilt-edge chance to give Reading the lead in the 69th minute when he rolled an effort wide inside the six yard box from Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan’s cut back.

Ruben Selles’ side regained the lead with nine minutes to play when Wing smashed one home from 25 yards out.

Barnsley responded well though and equalised two minutes later through 18-year-old Jalo, who headed beyond substitute goalkeeper David Button.

Jalo almost won it for the hosts two minutes later when he broke free inside the box, but his laced effort struck the left-hand post.

Neill Collins is confident play-off chasing Barnsley can overcome their recent struggles after a 2-1 defeat to Stevenage leaves them looking over their shoulder at a crucial time in the season.

Goals from Jamie Reid and Dan Butler either side of the break earned Boro victory and they now sit within three points of sixth-placed Oxford, albeit having played a game more.

Barnsley, who had taken the lead through Adam Phillips’ 30th-minute strike, are precariously in fifth having taken just eight points from their last eight games, hitting a difficult patch of form at a crucial stage.

But Collins assured supporters it is only a matter of small margins to get them back on track.

He said: “People might make more of it than it is. We are disappointed with some of the recent results but I don’t think it will take a lot to turn it around.

“This is the first time we have lost two consecutive games since the third and fourth game of the season. The players have been really resilient and it was going to be tough tonight.

“There is no getting away that the recent run of results we have had, especially with the fixtures we have had, it’s not been good enough.

“I think we have been very consistent prior to that and I think we will get that back. At times we have been victims of our own mistakes but I think we need to not blow everything about proportion.

“We need to concentrate on getting the small margins back in our favour because I think that’s all it is.”

Victory for Stevenage brought an eight-game winless streak to an end. And with Steve Evans’ side playing Oxford next and the U’s also playing seventh-placed Lincoln, he believes Boro are still in with a chance of breaking back into the play-off spots.

He said: “Not often do I say that I’m prepared to lose, but I’m prepared to lose in a major way to try and win.

“The players just knew the mission for tonight was to get the three points and they got them and have gone in quietly. We will regroup and freshen up for Saturday.

“We have to win every game. We have been on the wrong end of some tough stuff and I said to them at half-time we can play eight up front tonight because that will be the way it will be.

“The managers that fail at this level continuously are not prepared to lose, but you have to be prepared to lose to win games.

“Neil Harris and Neil Warnock are specialists at it because in their heart they try to win and that is in me.”

Dan Butler’s second-half goal helped Stevenage reignite their play-off hopes with a 2-1 comeback victory against promotion-hopefuls Barnsley.

Boro were initially left to rue missed chances when Adam Phillips hit a lofted shot to put the Tykes ahead, but Jamie Reid levelled as the break approached and Butler secured victory with a powerful free-kick.

Stevenage find themselves three points off the play-off places, while Barnsley remain firmly in fifth position with three games left to play.

Barnsley’s Liam Roberts had an impact at both ends of the pitch as he stopped shots from Aaron Pressley and Elliott List.

The Tykes’ goalkeeper then punished Boro’s profligacy by finding Phillips behind Stevenage’s static defence and the midfielder fired past Craig MacGillivray to open the scoring on the half-hour mark.

Boro levelled in first-half stoppage time when Reid skipped past Phillips and drilled a shot home to score their first goal in 317 minutes.

And their second quickly followed after the break when Butler’s free-kick crept through Barnsley’s wall. Reid cannoned a shot against a post late on as Stevenage edged to an important victory.

Barnsley manager Neill Collins was frustrated with the performance of the referee in a controversial 2-1 loss at Charlton as the Tykes were defeated on the road for the first time since November.

After two excellent goals from Alfie May had twice given Charlton the lead either side of an Adam Phillips penalty, a feisty second period saw a Fabio Jalo volley ruled out for a tight offside.

“We should have been sitting here with a point,” said Collins. “But we’re not because of a poor decision at the end of the game. He’s a yard onside, so I’m really disappointed with that.”

The visitors also had a shout for a penalty before the one they were awarded in the first half, when Devante Cole and Michael Hector tangled legs.

“It’s a stonewall penalty,” Collins added. “Devante goes through, he’s about to shoot, he gets bundled over. How he didn’t get that, I’m not quite sure.”

The Barnsley boss did concede that his side had the chances to win the game: “At half-time we should have been in the lead. But we weren’t because of missed opportunities.

“(Cole) is going through a little period right now. I’m sure it will be a matter of time before he’s putting them in the back of the net.

“Alfie May showed why he’s the top goalscorer in the league, with two great finishes. We’ve got players who are capable of doing that, but today we probably passed up too many good opportunities, and Charlton were pretty clinical.”

Charlton manager Nathan Jones was also quick to praise his forward.

“Alfie took his chances really well,” he said. “On the counter we were a constant threat and could have had more.”

“It’s an absolutely massive three points for us. A really good performance.

“They’re in the play-offs, they score goals freely, they’ve got one of the best away records. So for us to win the game, we’re delighted.”

After a winter spent just above the relegation zone, Jones has steadied the ship.

“I never take anything for granted but we’re not looking at that. All we want to do is keep moving forward,” he said.

Asked about what it takes to turn a club’s fortunes around so quickly, Jones gave a remarkably honest answer.

“Every part of your life. Literally every part of your life,” he said. “I live away from family. Anyone who works at the football club knows the hours we do, knows what we watch, knows how we prepare, knows how meticulous we are on every aspect of what we do.

“How we eat, how we sleep. If you want to raise standards then you have to set those standards, you have to live those standards.”

Alfie May’s double for Charlton secured a 2-1 win over play-off hopefuls Barnsley at The Valley.

May broke the deadlock with a tremendous free-kick in the 20th minute to fire Charlton ahead.

Adam Phillips grabbed an equaliser for Barnsley eight minutes later from the penalty spot following a handball by Kayne Ramsay.

But, after a dreadful miss from inside the six-yard box by Devante Cole, the Addicks regained the lead in the 40th minute when May curled in a shot from the left corner of the box following a clever dummy by George Dobson.

Chuks Aneke missed a 94th-minute penalty for Charlton after Liam Roberts fouled Tyreece Campbell, and Barnsley assistant coach Jon Stead was sent off for dissent a minute later.

Defeat left Barnsley with two wins from seven matches and Cole wihtout a goal in 12. But the Tykes still only need seven points from their last five games to guarantee a play-off spot.

The Addicks have now gone 11 games without defeat.

Cambridge head coach Garry Monk was full of praise for his players after the 2-0 win at Barnsley which earned him his first win since taking charge.

An own goal from Mael de Gevigney gave struggling Cambridge the lead before Gassan Ahadme sealed a crucial three points.

Monk said: “We’ve had two weeks to work on stuff, for this particular game, and I was interested to see the level of fight that goes with it and I thought we got all of that.

“I was really pleased because the last two weeks we’ve worked extremely hard and when you’re in a moment of low confidence you need something like this, you need a performance like this.

“You need certain things in games to go for you and obviously you need a result, something to build on. In terms of the level of performance, it was much more in the realms of what we were looking for.

“Delighted for the players, obviously the travelling fans. Giving them a good trip home is obviously important, compared to the last couple. So overall, a pleasing day. But we need more. We’ve got a game on Monday, we’ve set the standard today and we need to back this up.”

Barnsley head coach Neill Collins felt his side’s performance did not match with a disappointing defeat for his play-off chasing side.

He said: “The first goal was a freak incident, I think that maybe happens one in a million.

“A misplaced back-pass – I won’t go into too much detail but ultimately it’s a freak. Normally it goes back to the goalkeeper and you play it up the field, you play it out, just today we got punished pretty brutally and it was the last thing we needed.

“Then we went on and we really should really have just put the ball in the net. We missed good chances and when you do that, then you end up with what we got. We got punished again.

“They took the second goal, made it really difficult, so I’m so bitterly disappointed with the result but I think there’s parts of our performances that need to be better.

“Would we have liked to create a little bit more? Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s where we can just do a little bit better individually and collectively – that last ball, that final delivery.

“That’s where we’ve got to be really careful because you can’t say we created any less today than we have in a lot of other victories this year.

“But in the victories we punished those chances, today we didn’t and we got pretty brutally punished at the other end.”

Barnsley head coach Neill Collins was left frustrated as his promotion-chasing side were held to a 0-0 draw by League One strugglers Cheltenham.

The Tykes had numerous chances to break the deadlock but could not find a way through a resilient Cheltenham side who are fighting for survival.

The draw prevented Barnsley from moving up to fourth and they now sit seven points behind the automatic promotion places.

Collins said: “I don’t think the players did an awful lot wrong. We’re really frustrated because obviously it’s a game at home that we expect to win.

“It felt right up until the 96th minute that we could score.

“It’s hard to be too critical because I think on another day we get that first goal and we go on and win the game.

“(We’ve got) a couple of lessons to learn. We’re all frustrated but I think what probably makes it feel worse is we just had that disappointment here last week (a 5-1 home defeat to Lincoln) and we wanted to put it right today.”

On regular captain Jordan Williams dropping to the bench, Collins said: “Jordan’s played more football than anyone in our team.

“I felt today we needed the extra height at the back to deal with aerial balls. Then (at) right wing-back, I felt Corey (O’Keefe) deserved the opportunity because I think he’s been good.”

Cheltenham head coach Darrell Clarke was pleased with the result, which edged his side to within four points of safety.

“Clean sheet, point at a tough, top-six team to come up against,” Clarke said.

“They ask you a lot of questions in different variations of the game and we defended our box well at times. We had a couple of opportunities as well.

“We’ve had a lot of illness, a lot of injury in the camp and the boys dug in well to gain that point.

“It wasn’t pretty on the eye at times. We didn’t have enough control, for me.

“We had to dig in, we had to defend. But like I said, the lads are putting their bodies on the line.

“The lads were on their last legs at the end there.

“We huffed and we puffed, couldn’t quite get that goal but a clean sheet away at Barnsley, against a team that scores a lot of goals is pleasing.”

Clarke picked out the performance of 39-year-old defender Curtis Davies.

“That experience in the backline helps us at times just to settle things down,” Clarke added.

“I’ve forgotten the amount of balls he headed out the six-yard-box for us, which is why he’s in there and he’s important for us. A great lad.”

Promotion-chasing Barnsley failed to capitalise on their dominance as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to relegation-battling Cheltenham in League One.

The Tykes slipped seven points off the automatic promotion places and – with the four teams above them all playing each other – missed the chance to move up to fourth.

Cheltenham remain in the bottom four and are without a win in six, but the draw edged them to within five points of safety.

Jon Russell thought he had put the hosts ahead after four minutes when he turned home Luca Connell’s free-kick, but the assistant referee had raised his flag for offside.

The Tykes countered dangerously in the 31st minute as Adam Phillips slotted through to Sam Cosgrove, but his low effort from the edge of the box was always curling wide.

Cheltenham almost took the lead against the run of play in the 34th minute when Tom Pett curled one towards the bottom right corner from the edge of the box and prompted a smart save from Liam Roberts.

Russell should have broken the deadlock four minutes after the break when he was found at the back post by Cosgrove but dinked his close-range effort over the crossbar.

Barnsley substitute Devante Cole had an opportunity to make it 1-0 with eight minutes to play when a smart cross from Phillips gave the forward a free header inside the box, but he nodded wide.

Barnsley boss Neill Collins praised his side’s reaction from their weekend mauling as they came from a goal down to beat Carlisle 3-2.

Question marks were raised about the Tykes’ promotion credentials after they were hammered 5-1 by Lincoln on Saturday.

But, despite falling behind to Luke Armstrong’s early goal, they equalled a club record of 10 successive away games unbeaten in the same season.

Goals from captain Jordan Williams, John McAtee and Jonathan Russell put them in command and they held on for all three points after Daniel Butterworth pulled one back for League One’s bottom club Carlisle.

And Collins said: “That’s a huge win and in some respects our biggest win of the season.

“We are on a great run, but despite all of the positives, one performance gets questions asked and I thought the players answered them well.

“It’s fantastic to get a big record like that at a club like Barnsley who have had a lot of good teams over the years.

“One mistake and it was a goal and in the back of the net, but after that we were really good.

“We could have been ahead at half-time but we came out and continued and really could have had more.

“There was another mistake at the end and that made it a bit more interesting than I would have liked.”

Williams produced a fine 20-yard strike to level in the 33rd minute.

Collins added: “It was fantastic. Jordan has been an excellent captain and got a great goal. For large parts his performance was excellent.”

Paul Simpson’s Carlisle have lost 11 of their last 12 as relegation straight back to League Two creeps ever closer.

They are now 16 points adrift of safety and Simpson said: “You have to be brutally honest, they were the better team.

“When you look at the levels, you’ve got a team who have been in the Championship and fighting for promotion and we’re where we are because that’s where we deserve to be.

“That’s clear to see in terms of the technical ability of them and the care they took on the passing.

“We had opportunities where we got into the final third, but we don’t take enough care on it.

“The disappointing thing is we work day in and day out on passing and possession drills. We get in good areas, but can’t do it.

“I’ve said to the players that it’s an education. We’re seeing and we’re suffering because we’re coming up against teams who are physically stronger and that’s not a case of just working on it in the gym, they’re psychologically made up better than us.

“That’s something we’ve got to change because we’re aspiring to be like that as a football club.

“We want to improve and be able to compete at this level, but currently we’re a long way off it.”

Barnsley got back to winning ways as they held on for a 3-2 victory at League One bottom club Carlisle.

Neill Collins’ promotion-chasing side were hammered 5-1 by Lincoln on Saturday and it looked like they may have been suffering a hangover when Carlisle took an early lead through Luke Armstrong.

But Jordan Williams, John McAtee and Jonathan Russell all scored for the visitors before Daniel Butterworth set up a tense finish.

Armstrong started the scoring when he grabbed his second goal in as many games in the 10th minute.

Captain Williams produced a fine 20-yard strike to level in the 33rd minute.

McAtee rattled the crossbar minutes later before Sam Cosgrove forced Carlisle goalkeeper Harry Lewis into a good stop to tip his powerful strike over.

After the break, McAtee poked home the second after Cosgrove dinked the ball over Lewis.

Towering Russell got the third when he nodded home Corey O’Keeffe’s cross at the back post with 14 minutes left.

Butterworth pulled one back with three minutes to go but Barnsley held on for the points as Paul Simpson’s strugglers lost for the 11th time in their last 12 league outings.

Page 1 of 5
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.