BLACKPOOl manager Neil Critchley hailed captain and goalkeeper Chris Maxwell as the hero of their FA Cup upset over West Brom but insisted it was a complete team performance which secured victory after a penalty shootout.

Former Wrexham goalkeeper Maxwell, playing his first game since December 19 after being struck by coronavirus over Christmas, returned in style as he made three saves in the deciding shootout, denying Matheus Pereira with the last kick to win it 3-2 after the match finish 2-2 following extra-time.

“It was Maxi’s day today, he was the hero,” Critchley said. “He made a magnificent save in extra-time and then the penalties – I’m delighted for Maxi.

“He’s very good at anticipating where players are going to put the ball and you always fancy him to save a penalty. He’s pulled off three very good saves and won us the game in the shootout.

“But I wouldn’t want to single anyone out. To a man, right across the board, the team performance was outstanding.”

Maxwell said after the game he had spent several days laid up in bed with the virus over Christmas.

“It was awful,” he said. “Not only feeling terrible for about eight days but also missing out on football games and training. It was tough and it’s nice to be back and to contribute like I did today.

“I was lying in bed for about three days and felt really, really lethargic so it’s nice to come through it.

“I think the win was no more than we deserved. We were excellent the whole game. We had to overcome certain obstacles but we stuck at it and even when we conceded in the second half, we rolled our sleeves up and went again.

“In extra-time we were certainly the better team and it would have been awful if we’d lost that today.”

It’s not the first time Maxwell has been a hero in a penalty shoot-out. He was in goal at Wrexham when Andy Morrell’s side lifted the FA Trophy at Wembley after beating Grimsby Town in 2013.

The pain of defeat at Bloomfield Road was felt by West Brom as Sam Allardyce left his former club still looking for a first win in charge of his latest one.

Having made seven changes to his side to face the League One outfit, and spoken at length about the opportunity he wanted his fringe players to seize, Allardyce watched on as West Brom were outfought for much of the afternoon.

“It was a great third-round battle and we didn’t expect anything less than what we got off Blackpool,” said Allardyce. “When you’re 1-0 up, at the level we’re supposed to be at, we should not have lost on penalties.”