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Latest: Blackpool 1-2 West Ham (FT – West Ham are promoted)
14.55 – Trying hard not… to…. mention…. richest….. game…. in…. football….
But it probably is.
Blackpool are back for the second time in three seasons, with 154-year-old Kevin Phillips coming for the injured Gary Taylor-Fletcher.
West Ham stay the same from the semi-final, and go into this as strong favourites.
Blackpool: Gilks, Eardley, Baptiste, Evatt, Crainey, Ferguson, Dobbie, Angel, Ince, Matt Phillips, Kevin Phillips
Subs: Southern, Sylvestre, Cathcart, Dicko, Bednar
West Ham: Green, Demel, Reid, Tomkins, Taylor, O’Neil, Noble, Nolan, Collison, Cole, Vaz Te
Subs: Henderson, McCartney, Maynard, Faubert, Lansbury
Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)
15.00 – On a scale of one to lovely, how lovely is Sam Allardyce? We’re just wondering. We’re close to kick-off…
15.03 – It’s cool and dry at Wembley, we’ll hopefully see plenty of good play.
15.07 – In the latest example of certain football fans as mindless idiots, Tom Ince is booed by the West Hams because his dad left them to join Manchester United.
Meanwhile, first chance of the game! Ian Evatt launches the ball forward and Stephen Dobbie’s shot is saved by Robert Green, after the forward gets the better of Matt Taylor.
15.13 – Ricardo Vaz Te gets away down the left wing but, with Jack Collison lurking, he falls over and scuffs his cross over the bar.
15.16 – Matt Phillips is set free but he can’t get the ball out of his feet and shoots meekly at Green. The 21-year-old has had a great season and was voted into the Championship team of the year, but that was poor.
15.18 – Matt Phillips again! And it’s an even better chance as Guy Demel makes a complete hash of his clearance. Phillips steals in, gets the ball on his right foot, but shoots high and wide.
Blackpool have started like a house on fire, a saying that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
15.22 – The first real threat from West Ham as Cole, Collison and Vaz Te all combine and the snaphot from the former Bolton striker goes wide.
15.30 – Meanwhile, from the Scottish Cup Final…
15.32 – Taylor fizzes in a hard, low cross but Evatt clears. Not much has happened in the last ten minutes.
15.36 – After Tomkins keeps the ball in from a corner and West Ham fail to take advantage, Blackpool go up the other end and Ince gets his first chance to run at the Hammers defence. It comes to nothing.
15.38 – Goal for Carlton Cole! The ball ricochets into the path of Matt Taylor, whose sublime ball is picked up by Cole, who stays strong and beats Gilks. His sixth goal in eight games, and so important. Blackpool 0-1 West Ham.
15.40 – Ouch! Awful miss from Vaz Te, who slices a pass from deep – I think it was Mark Noble – wide. Shocking. The Hammers should be 2-0 up.
15.49 – It’s half-time – Carlton Cole’s goal ten minutes before the break sees the Hammers leading. The team that scores first has won the play-off on eight of the last nine occasions, but no team has come from behind this season more than Blackpool. It’s nicely poised.
16.06 – Play has re-started, and it’s Blackpool 1-1 West Ham!
Matt Phillips finds Tom Ince with a raking ball over the head of Winston Reid, and the Son of Paul (boooo!!!!) shoots first time past Green.
16.10 – It’s almost, ALMOST 2-1 to Blackpool as Alex Baptiste sees his effort saved off the line. West Ham are clearly still in the dressing room.
Then, Dobbie goes through but Reid manages to clear. Awful from the Hammers.
16.11 – The first substitution of the game as George McCartney replaces Gary O’Neil.
16.14 – “We’d love to have heard those Churchillian words from Ian Holloway at half-time,” says the Sky commentator. Churchillian – not how we’d describe Ian Holloway, but to each their own.
16.22 – A brilliant save by Matt Gilks. Julien Faubert – on for Demel - plays the ball up to Cole. The former Chelsea striker’s first touch is brilliant as he swivels and shoots.
The ball is heading for the corner before Gilks’ intervention.
16.26 – All the talk was of Stephen Dobbie before this game, but the Scot has been woeful. Let’s be honest. He scuffs another attempted shot wide.
He’s bound to get the winner.
16.28 – Evatt – deflection – off the line by Noble – over the bar by Baptiste! It is all go.
16.32 – Ince dribbles brilliantly into the West Ham box but McCartney gets a stunning tackle in, collects the ball, and passes it out. The 20-year-old has always said he models his game on Ryan Giggs, and that was like the Welshman at his best.
16.33 – Dobbie goes low and tests Green but the goalkeeper turns it around the corner.
16.39 – Nolan hits the crossbar! A technically brilliant volley from the West Ham captain and it looks destined for the top corner. Gilks – we think – gets the slightest of touches and it smack the woodwork. With just over ten minutes remaining, that could be crucial.
16.41 – A free-kick from distance by Dobbie. Comfortable save from Green.
16.44 – Mark Noble floats a free-kick on to the head of James Tomkins, who heads over the bar.
16.47 – Ricardo Vaz Te scores!!! He’s booked for taking his shirt off but he won’t care. The ball is fed into the Blackpool box and Carlton Cole blunders the ball towards goal. It runs through to the former Bolton youngster and he makes no mistake. It’s Blackpool 1-2 West Ham with three minutes remaining.
16.48 – Dobbie and Angel Martinez are withdrawn for Blackpool, but it looks desperate from Holloway. There will be four minutes of injury time.
16.52 – Blackpool beg for a penalty for a ‘foul’ by Reid on Phillips, but no dice.
16.55 – Full-Time, and West Ham United are back in the Premier League at the first attempt. You have to feel sorry for Blackpool, who possibly had the majority of the better play, but the London side’s better quality told in the end.
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