The Posh had raced to a commanding lead through Kwame Poku, Harrison Burrows, and Ricky Jade Jones and could’ve had another ahead of the break but for a penalty save from Dan Grimshaw.
Despite being down a man for the majority of the second half following Olly Casey’s red card, the Seasiders were able to pull goals back through Kenny Dougall and Sonny Carey, before Ephron Mason-Clark added another to seal the victory for the visitors.
Discussing his side’s performance, Critchley said: “They physically gave absolutely everything and were dead on their feet at the end.
"They went toe-to-toe against a really good team and nearly got something out of it.
"I feel proud because we gave absolutely everything in real difficult circumstances.
"If you’re going to lose a game of football then lose like that.
"I’m disappointed obviously and think we could’ve started the game better- we were a little bit tentative, but we grew into it.
"There was nothing in the game in the first half, but I felt we were too passive.
"The message was to play on the front foot a bit more, but then straight away after the restart we’re down to 10 men and they score from the free kick.
"It was tough to take because we’d spoken about what we needed to do to improve, and that’s the deciding moment of the game.
"The first time they played through us with 11 v 10 they scored- they were clinical, but our response after that was magnificent.
"The player gave absolutely everything, we had them at 3-2 and felt we could get something out of the game.
"Even at 4-2 we hit the crossbar.
"So much happened during the game and I appreciate the supporters who stayed and clapped us off the pitch, because they really helped us.
"Even though we lost, I’m really positive about what I saw in the second half.
"Our energy and relentless intensity gave them a real problem; we should’ve started like that, so we have to learn from that.
"When we go for it, you can see what we’re capable of.”