Football - Ince: Game is getting too soft

Blackpool manager Paul Ince claimed the game was getting too soft after seeing his side shrug off the dismissal of Barry Ferguson to secure a 1-0 victory over promotion-chasing Crystal Palace.

PA Sport
Football - Ince: Game is getting too soft
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Paul Ince, pictured, felt referee Andy Haines was wrong to send off Barry Ferguson

Matt Phillips' 85th-minute strike earned a crucial victory for the Seasiders, moving them three points clear of the drop zone, but they had to do it the hard way.

Ferguson was sent off on 41 minutes after collecting his second yellow card in 10 minutes - the first for a challenge on Kagisho Dikgacoi and the second for body-checking Yannick Bolasie as Palace counter-attacked.

For Ince the second booking was harsh and despite admitting his relief at claiming three points he took issue with referee Andy Haines.

"You start to think whether it's going to be our day with Barry being sent off. It's the last thing we needed against a very good Crystal Palace side," he said. "I felt it was a harsh decision. I felt the first yellow card was right but the second one, Bolasie has knocked it 20 yards past him and is never going to get it.

"He made a meal of it. You need to show some common sense. The game's getting too soft. I felt the referee got that badly wrong."

Defeat made it three straight losses for Palace, who are now six points behind Hull in the final automatic promotion place and the Tigers have a game in hand.

On his return to Bloomfield Road, Eagles manager Ian Holloway saw both Glenn Murray and Wilfried Zaha miss chances but believes now is not the time to start pointing fingers.

"It took a strike like that from the edge of the box that's got them all three points," he said. "We need to show character and keep fighting. I thought the overall performance showed we were calm and still believed in ourselves.

"We didn't panic and kept going. That really should have been a 0-0. We're not making things happen for ourselves. It is really important at this time of the season that we all stick together."

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