Neil Critchley praises two-goal Jerry Yates after thumping win over Gillingham
Blackpool boss Neil Critchley hailed Jerry Yates’ goalscoring instinct after the striker’s brace inspired a 4-1 win for the promotion-chasers against Gillingham.
Yates scored twice in the first 20 minutes either side of Jordan Graham’s equaliser to take his tally for the season to 20 in all competitions.
Sullay Kaikai and Elliot Embleton also found the target for Critchley’s in-form side, who are now unbeaten in 13 games.
Critchley said: “We looked like a really good football team.
“I expected Jerry to score when he got in [for first goal]. The second is a proper striker’s goal; instinct, with great movement in the box and a great finish.
“After a tough start to the season, which was the same as the team really, his record is outstanding.”
Yates needed just five minutes to open his account for the afternoon and missed a good chance to double the hosts’ lead when he headed wide eight minutes later.
Graham levelled shortly afterwards but Blackpool restored their advantage when Yates latched on to Luke Garbutt’s free-kick and slotted home his sixth goal in four games.
Kaikai made it 3-1 with a stinging drive and turned provider for Embleton to seal the points after the break as the Seasiders climbed to fifth.
Critchley added: “We were meeting a team bang in form so the manner in which we won, scoring four goals, was very satisfying.
“Our response to the equaliser was brilliant. We scored a great goal from a set-piece and the third and fourth were great team goals.
“You know what Gillingham are about, they are difficult to play against and cause a lot of problems. We wanted to make it our type of game.
“We have been very good defensively and we were again.”
The defeat ended the visitors’ five-match unbeaten run and Gills boss Steve Evans admitted there were no excuses for his side, who are now four points adrift of the play-off spots.
He said: “We didn’t produce the type of performance we’ve done since the middle of January, we didn’t deserve anything.
“We were well beaten. In the first 20 minutes we started well but conceded two poor goals. One is a bit of a ricochet in the middle of the park which their striker gets on to and scores.
“We miss a couple of chances, get the goal through Jordan Graham, then we don’t defend a free-kick right and they score.
“The third goal is well worked from their point of view, probably the best goal of the game.
“At half-time the conversation was about whether Blackpool get the next goal, or whether we do, and they got their fourth goal.
“They were better than us. We will take the pain all the way back to Kent. We deserved nothing and we got nothing.”