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Freedman hails players

5 May 2013

Bolton manager Dougie Freedman praised his players' efforts following the 2-2 draw with Blackpool that saw them fall agonisingly short of an npower Championship play-off place.

Wanderers started a frantic final afternoon in sixth place but their promotion ambitions lay in tatters after fine goals from Matt Phillips and Ludo Sylvestre gave the rampant Seasiders a 2-0 lead with 35 minutes played.

A quickfire response stunned Paul Ince's side in first-half stoppage time, Chris Eagles and Craig Davies the men on target for the hosts.

Despite their best efforts, Bolton could not force a winner, although a draw looked like being enough until Anthony Knockaert's late strike snatched a 3-2 win for Leicester at Nottingham Forest and denied Freedman's team a coveted top-six berth on goal difference.

"We had an ear on the other game, there's no doubt," said the Wanderers boss. "It's a strange game because you're looking at the other results - one minute it's not going for you, the next minute it is for you.

"I felt that we set out for the win and we continued doing that until the 90th minute. Along the way there were a lot of bumps and rides but that's football, that's life.

"Yes, I'm disappointed with the outcome but, if you're looking at it from the coaches' role in the team, I thought we stuck at it, went for the throat and we were very unfortunate not to win the game of football."

Blackpool boss Paul Ince was impressed with how his team capitalised on an nervy start from their hosts and insisted they should have inflicted further damage.

"We should have been four or five up, to be fair, before they scored," he said. "I thought some of the football we played was fantastic.

"It was pleasing to see Matty Phillips score. I didn't think he was going to score after the first 10 minutes, he had so many chances. It was a wonderful goal."

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