May 5 2012
Ian Holloway hopes Blackpool do not live to regret missed chances after claiming a slender 1-0 advantage in the first-leg of their npower Championship play-off semi-final against Birmingham.
The game's solitary strike was credited as an own goal to Blues captain Curtis Davies after a wicked deflection sent Tom Ince's speculative drive beyond wrong-footed goalkeeper Colin Doyle a minute before half-time.
"They nearly nicked an equaliser - I'd be fuming if that was the case because, generally, I thought we deserved to just edge it," said Holloway. "I'm delighted it (the goal) went in, I think we needed that, but a couple of those others - deary, deary me. I hope we don't rue the day that we missed them."
Nevertheless, Holloway - who is chasing Blackpool's second Championship play-off triumph in three seasons - was quick to praise his players for how they dealt with a high-pressure occasion.
"I thought it was a fantastic performance," he added. "Obviously I would have preferred to be more ahead because the second leg is going to be one heck of a game, a massive, massive game for us."
Birmingham manager Chris Hughton was satisfied with his side's defensive work but wants them to address a lack of quality in possession ahead of Wednesday night's second leg at St Andrew's.
"I thought that Blackpool were good on the ball, which you very much expect here," he said. "You know that they're going to have good possession of the football and I thought that we had really good spells where we kept our shape and defended well.
"But we need to be better on the ball than we were.
"They had a couple of good chances, we had arguably the best chance of the game through Marlon King right at the death and it's a very fortuitous goal that settles it.
"The shot was going wide and takes a wicked deflection and that's the nature of the game."