’Pool out to nail Hammers

Blackpool sealed a showdown with West Ham in the npower Championship play-off final after an absorbing semi-final second leg with Birmingham at St Andrew’s last night.

And the Seasiders’ Matt Phillips feels his side have something to prove as they face the Hammers .

“We’ve got a point to prove after they beat us convincingly in the two games in the league,” Phillips said.

Blackpool boss Holloway added: “I’m so proud. We got ourselves in a brilliant situation and what a fantastic fightback that was. If they had got the equaliser I could not see us coming back. But we’re going to Wembley again, it’s just magnificent.”

Leading 1-0 from Friday night’s first leg, the Seasiders took firm control of the tie with two goals minutes either side of half-time from Stephen Dobbie and Matt Phillips.

Nikola Zigic gave Blues a glimmer of hope before skipper Curtis Davies headed the equaliser on the night — but the hosts could not find a crucial winner which would have levelled the tie on aggregate and taken the contest into extra-time, so their 62nd match of a long season proved the last.

Blackpool meet the Hammers at Wembley on May 19, with the most lucrative match in the world — worth an estimated £90m for the club which reaches the Premier League — guaranteeing the winners an immediate return to the top flight.

BIRMINGHAM: Doyle, Ramage, Davies, Ibanez, Murphy, Burke, Spector (N’Daw 44), Mutch, Townsend (Redmond 62), King, Zigic.

BLACKPOOL: Gilks, Eardley, Baptiste, Evatt, Crainey, M Phillips (K Phillips 85), Ferguson, Angel, Ince (Southern 69), Dobbie (Dicko 76), Taylor-Fletcher.

Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside).


Last week, I wrote about 'small is beautiful' as a key to an improved environment for all living things after this Covid crisis is finally over. As I wrote, I saw, in the mind's eye, the village where I live in west Cork and from which my wife and I are temporarily exiled.Damien Enright: Community spirit can ensure we pull through - together

Fifty years ago, a fox was spotted in Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green. The unfortunate animal was chased by local ‘gurriers’. It took refuge in a tree but was promptly stoned to death.Richard Collins: Wildlife taking back the streets of our cities

The north pier on Cape Clear has been eerily quiet these last few months as no visitors disembark. The ferry is not unloading boatloads of tourists from Baltimore, 45 minutes away, or from Schull, as it would normally.The Islands of Ireland: Cape Clear tells its side of the story

If the Donegal postman and amateur weather forecaster has it right, we could be in for water shortages in the coming months. Michael Gallagher, who predicted the scorching summer of 2018 and the 2010 freeze-up, says we’ll have a ‘lovely’ summer.Donal Hickey: Demand for water to soar

More From The Irish Examiner