Betway UK Snooker Championship: Mark Allen is left kicking himself after letting Higgins off the hook
Mark Allen was left kicking himself after his Betway UK Snooker Championship run came to an end against John Higgins in York.
The 30-year-old Antrim potter went down 6-3 on Wednesday afternoon, having led 3-2 just after the interval thanks to breaks of 78, 105 and 65 in consecutive frames.
But a miss from Allen in the sixth frame gifted Higgins a golden opportunity to come back, and the four-time world champion obliged with a break of 101.
And after Higgins rattled through the final three frames required to win the contest, finishing off with a well-crafted 90, 'the Pistol' insisted he had let the Scot off the hook.
"To be honest I feel like I missed the boat today," he said. "At 3-2 up I had John on the ropes; he looked at bit edgy and I started to play well.
"I won three frames in one visit really from 2-0 down, and I missed a few tricky ones at the start of frame six where I should have pushed on and got myself further ahead.
"That's what the best players do; they pounce on any little mistake, and John made a century then to bring it back to 3-3.
"He looked the stronger player then going forward, and while I didn't feel like I did that much wrong, against the very best players you don't have to be far away.
"John sees missed opportunities and gets confidence from that, knowing I'm not taking my chances. The champion that he is, he punished me for it."
Next up for Allen will be German Masters qualifying in Barnsley before the Scottish Open in mid-December.
And despite notching up his first official 147 earlier in the tournament, Allen insisted there were no real positives to take away with more work to be done on the practice table.
He said: "I come to win events, not to reach the last 16. I'll go home disappointed.
"I don't feel like I'm far away and it's taking the very best players to beat me at the moment. I'm not quite comfortable at the moment with my grip and playing with power.
"My long potting's not good enough and my safety needs to tighten up a little. I know what I have to work on but I really am trying - Stephen Hendry's been saying I need to do things a little better, but we're not all as good as he was. I'm working very hard and he should show more respect there."
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