Blackpool 1-2 West Ham United FT




Final score - Blackpool 1-2 West Ham United

95 mins - They think it's all over... It is now! West Ham are back in the Premier League! Carlton Cole and Ricardo Vaz Te are the heroes! It's been a team effort, though. What a day! What a match! What a season! James Tomkins is man of the match. Fully deserved!

95 mins - Into added time at the end of added time... A cross comes over and Faubert can allow it to bounce out for a goal kick. Surely, surely, that is enough Mr Webb...

94 mins - Less than 60 seconds to go and Collison is caught out. Dicko nearly latches on to the through ball but Reid is there to hold him off and Green collects.

93 mins - Less than two minutes to go... Cole does brilliantly and West Ham keep possession deep inside the Blackpool half. Taylor wins a throw.

92 mins - Blackpool fling a cross over but Tomkins heads out for a throw near the halfway line. From it, Crainey's cross is deep but bounces harmlessly away. Green is felled by Matt Phillips, but there is nothing in it.

91 mins - Cole's flick on finds Taylor, but his left-foot shot is first-time and flies high and behind.

90 mins - A double change from Ian Holloway. Dicko and Bednar on for Dobbie and Martinez. We will have four added minutes.

89 mins - Vaz Te was booked for taking his shirt off. Blackpool come straight away and Crainey's cross somehow eludes everyone inside the box. The cross comes back over from the right but Green makes the catch high above his head.

87 mins - GOAL! VAZ TE! Nolan gets free down the left and puts in a cross that takes a slight deflection. Cole battles and the ball comes back off Gilks. There is Vaz Te to coolly lift the ball into the roof of the net from eight yards.

86 mins - Cole is fouled inside the Blackpool half by Ferguson. Free-kick for Noble. A burst of 'Bubbles'... Noble lifts the ball in and Tomkins wins the header, but it loops on to the roof of the net.

85 mins - There are 78,523 fans here today. Vaz Te needs the physio on, but he'll be OK to continue.

84 mins - Noble's corner is headed away for a throw. From it, Vaz Te tries to beat a man inside the box and challenges Evatt. The centre-back clears and is fouled painfully by Vaz Te.

83 mins - The free-kick is laid off to Dobbie, whose low shot is held by Green. He fires the ball downfield and Taylor wins a corner off Baptiste. Great work from the No1.

82 mins - A half-chance as the ball drops to Collison 12 yards out. He elects to try to beat a man instead of shooting and the chance goes begging. Blackpool break and Dobbie wins a free-kick from Reid 30-odd yards from goal. Shooting chance...

80 mins - Argh! McCartney bursts forward and swaps passes with Taylor. The cross comes over and Nolan catches it on the volley from beyond the far post. The ball cannons back off the face of the crossbar. Collison tries to head in the rebound, but the ball bounces wide.

78 mins - It nearly works as Cole hooks the ball over for Collison. His header forces him wide left, but he checks, cuts on to his right foot past Eardley but lifts his shot over the crossbar.

77 mins - The West Ham fans try to lift their team with a chorus of 'Come on you Irons!'.

76 mins - Cole and Taylor combine to clear the corner, but it's only a temporary respite as the Tangerines control the possession and territory again before Ince is caught offside.

75 mins - I'm afraid Blackpool look by far the more likely as they patiently build outside the West Ham box. Crainey finds Dobbie in space and he works Green with a low shot to towards the bottom left-hand corner. Green palms behind.

72 mins - West Ham win a throw and work it to Vaz Te, whose cross spins off the head of Crainey and out for a throw by the corner flag. The Hammers try to work an opening but Nolan's pass eludes Cole and Gilks can collect. Blackpool counter and Ince beats Taylor but cannot get past McCartney. Great tackle.

71 mins - Kevin Phillips is going off, with Ludovic Sylvestre coming on. Dobbie goes up front.

70 mins - Noble loses possession and Kevin Phillips works a shot on his right foot. It's well hit, but Noble gets a toe to it and the ball spins behind. Noble is there again as the ball drops to Evatt and the No16 clears off the line. Matt Phillips hits the rebound high and not very handsome.

69 mins - Vaz Te has a chance to cross from Cole's pass, but for some reason he delays and then lazily crosses straight into the arms of Gilks. Frustration for the No12.

67 mins - Another let-off. Eardley gets down the right in behind Taylor. His cut-back finds Dobbie near the penalty spot in acres of space. All he has to do is hit the target, but he somehow shanks his effort and the ball bobbles wide of the left-hand post.

66 mins - Reid's header drops to Matt Phillips 25 yards out, but he is off-balance as he strikes the shot and the ball flies well over the top. Goal kick. Less than 25 minutes of normal time remaining.

65 mins - Noble heads straight to Matt Phillips. He runs at Faubert, who uses pace and strength to usher the ball out for a goal kick. Good, strong defending.

63 mins - So close to 2-1 West Ham! Nolan feeds Faubert, who slides the cross in for Cole's feet. He controls, spins and shoots in one motion, but Gilks makes a fine save low to his right. Eardley hacks the ball out for a throw, which comes to nothing.

61 mins - Nolan collects and plays a one-two with Taylor before getting to within 20 yards of the goal. Cole then finds Vaz Te, whose initial effort cannot be forced on goal by Nolan. The ball bounces back to Vaz Te, but he's offside. The onside Collison wanted the No12 to leave the ball for him, but the calls were not heard.

60 mins - Collison does well to get on the end of a cross from Taylor after good work from Cole to hold the play up wide left of the penalty area. The No10 volleys over from a difficult angle and grabs his shoulder. He looks OK to continue, though, even if he is in a bit of pain.

58 mins - Taylor's deep cross is too strong. Gilks clears the goal kick upfield and Faubert is involved for the first time, winning a header over Matt Phillips.

57 mins - OK Julien, time for you to become a hero. Demel walks gingerly off and Faubert is on to replace him. We need a Millwall-esque display from the Frenchman today.

56 mins - Demel is down on the turf now. Faubert is going to come on at right-back. It looks like a right knee injury for Demel.

55 mins - Demel heads a cross to Noble, who is brought down by Matt Phillips. Demel might be struggling. Faubert is sent out to warm up.

53 mins - George McCartney is going to be on soon. Meanwhile, Noble is fouled inside the West Ham half. Green launches the free-kick long but Cole can only head out for a goal kick. Gary O'Neil is the man to be replaced by McCartney, who will go to left-back. Matt Taylor moves forward.

52 mins - West Ham are creaking. Dobbie beats the offside trap and looks to be clear. Reid gets back as the striker checks and concedes a corner. The high ball comes over and Green catches. Deep breath time!

50 mins - Cripes. Taylor has to clear off the line as Baptiste comes up from the back, latches on to a pass and clips his shot over Green. The corner is headed clear by Demel. West Ham need to re-group quickly. The Tangerines and their fans are loving life all of a sudden.

48 mins - GOAL! Oh dear oh dear. Cole needlessly gives the ball away on halfway. The diagonal ball is similar to Taylor's from Matt Phillips. Ince gets in behind Reid and finishes low across Green and into the net. Good finish. Avoidable goal.

46 mins - Blackpool get the second half underway. Baptiste almost immediately fouls Nolan and West Ham have a free-kick inside the Tangerines half. Taylor's free-kick is headed clear but Collison is there. Unfortunately, his touch is loose and then he fouls Crainey. Webb whistles for a free-kick.

Some images from the first half for you to enjoy. I'm afraid we cannot publish these ones on our official Facebook page.

Kevin Nolan

Captain Kevin Nolan celebrates with Carlton Cole

Carlton Cole

Carlton Cole scores the opening goal at Wembley

Half-time score - Blackpool 0-1 West Ham United

46 mins - The Tangerines win it back from Cole on halfway, but they cannot force an opening in added time. Howard Webb blows his whistle and we're at half-time.

45 mins - Here comes the fourth official. We'll have one added minute. Blackpool have the ball.

43 mins - The free-kick comes in and Nolan heads it straight to Martinez, but the midfielder's control and shot are not good. The ball again flies high and into the crowd. Goal kick.

41 mins - Kevin Phillips is caught offside. He has been flagged a few times, now. Half-time is approaching and both managers are on the edge of their technical areas as Tomkins is penalised for barging the veteran forward on halfway.

40 mins - The goal has settled the Hammers down a bit. West Ham work it wide right for Collison, who ignores Demel's run to cut on to his left foot. The cross hangs for too long, though, and Gilks collects high above Cole's head.

38 mins - What a chance for 2-0! Demel and Collison work the ball to O'Neil, who lifts the pass beyond the defender Eardley. Vaz Te can pick his spot, but can only guide his shot wide of the post from 16 yards. Great chance. Head in hands for Vaz Te.

36 mins - Blackpool seek an instant reply. The cross comes over from the left and Reid heads down, but the ball hits Matt Phillips and bounces harmlessly wide of the post.

35 mins - GOAL! COLE! Taylor creates it by winning a challenge and making it down the left. His initial pass is cut out, but he collects the ball after it ricochets off Martinez. The No14 lifts a pass over Evatt for Cole, who controls superbly with his right foot before steering the shot past Gilks from seven yards. West Ham lead at Wembley!

33 mins - Ince is a talented boy. He nutmegs Taylor before getting around Noble, but his cross is strong and finds Crainey 25 yards out. The left-back's volley goes miles over the top and into the claret and blue hordes behind the goal.

32 mins - Noble crosses deep. Tomkins heads back from beyond the far post, but Blackpool clear their lines.

31 mins - West Ham have their first corner. Nolan finds Taylor and his low cross is cut out by Baptiste. Noble curls it over and Gilks claws it away for a second corner, this time for Taylor to take left-footed. Baptiste heads behind at the far post. Noble's second attempt is also cleared, but West Ham win another corner through Vaz Te's blocked cross.

29 mins - A couple of West Ham players lose their footing. The playing surface looks lush.

26 mins - Nolan holds the ball up in the same area. He lays the ball left for Collison, who cuts inside but curls his left-foot shot well wide of the target. In truth, he didn't have much to aim at inside the box. This is so tense, I am literally shaking as I type!

23 mins - Nolan has a half a chance as the ball drops to him inside the D, but he cannot get the shot away and a defender pokes the ball away. Blackpool try to break, but Tomkins and Demel are there.

22 mins - Taylor throws in and then passes back to O'Neil. His cross finds Cole, who flicks his header over the top under pressure from Baptiste. More encouraging signs for Big Sam's men.

20 mins - Better! A ball over the top for Vaz Te and he crosses first-time. Cole knocks down for Noble, who passes straight back left to Vaz Te. He shoots and hits the side-netting at the near post. A yard or two wide. Collison was unmarked at the far stick.

18 mins - Vaz Te has looked the most likely. He holds up play before feeding Taylor, whose cross is low and bobbles straight into the arms of Gilks. West Ham will want to work the Blackpool No1 soon.

16 mins - Cole collects a throw then drags the ball out for a goal kick. West Ham just need to settle down. Blackpool have had more chances than they did in two whole league games already.

15 mins - Oh dear. Collison's header is wayward and Demel allows Matt Phillips in behind him again. The winger cuts past Demel and Reid and has a gaping goal to aim at, only to curl his shot a yard wide from the penalty spot. What a chance missed! Again!

14 mins - Blackpool miss a sitter. Matt Phillips latches on to a through ball from Ince after a lay-off from Kevin Phillips. The winger is through, but he delays just long enough to let Demel put pressure on him. Regardless, his finish is weak and straight at Green. Massive let-off.

13 mins - Good tackle by Nolan on Matt Phillips before O'Neil grabs the ball and tries to pick out Cole. He puts too much on the pass, but the offside flag is up anyway.

11 mins - Gilks' hurried clearance under pressure from Nolan goes out for a throw. Nolan wins the flick-on, but Cole cannot latch on. Goal kick.

10 mins - Vaz Te gets a first chance to run at the Tangerines back four. He puts Baptiste on his backside, but then puts too much on his cross and it flies behind the goal with Cole and O'Neil well-placed.

9 mins - Dobbie has a run down the centre and Phillips and Ince pull defenders out of his way with their runs. Thankfully, Taylor has tracked the Blackpool No7 and makes a sliding challenge before Demel cleans up. That could have been dangerous.

8 mins - A cross from the right this time and the ball drops to Taylor. He collects on his stomach and tries to run past Baptiste, but the defender stands firm. Unlucky.

6 mins - Half a chance as Cole knocks his header down for Nolan. He tries to release Vaz Te, who is onside, but the pass is too strong again and Gilks is there. A few nervous passes from the Hammers so far. They have had the ball in decent areas.

4 mins - Cole gets away and Baptiste cannot stop the cross, but there are no Hammers in a threatening position and Crainey can chest back to goalkeeper Gilks. Well, you'd have to say that was a real let-off for West Ham early on. They need to settle and get some decent possession.

3 mins - Blackpool attack for the first time as Ince streaks away down the right. Taylor holds him up before Noble snaps in with a sliding challenge. The throw in is dealt with and the Hammers escape. Not for long though as Dobbie gets in behind Taylor again. He shoots and Green diverts the ball onto the base of the post! The goalkeeper pounces on the loose ball. Wow!

2 mins - Vaz Te is caught offside from Demel's pass. It is absolutely defeaning, the noise! 'We all follow the West Ham...!"

3pm - We're off!  McCartney launches the ball long and Cole wins it, but O'Neil's pass is cleared. The Hammers have the ball again and Nolan tries to slip the ball through to Cole but it's over hit. Gilks collects.

2.59pm - There are more West Ham fans here than Blackpool, to nobody's surprise. There are a few patches of empty red seats in the Tangerines end. No gaps at all to my right in the West Ham end. The anthems are done and the two captains - Kevin Nolan and Barry Ferguson - shake hands ahead of the coin toss and kick-off. Sam is chewing hard on his gum. West Ham will kick-off...

2.56pm - It's national anthem time!


2.55pm - Here come the two teams. Wembley erupts in a wall of noise and some fireworks go off. What a day this has been already! The next two hours could be something truly special.


2.50pm - Two huge banners with the Blackpool and West Ham crest have been released into the air on the pitch greeted by a cauldron of noise. The West Ham end is packed to rafters, just ten minutes until kick-off now.

2.45pm - With just 15 minutes left until kick-off now the atmosphere is building up nicely. The red carpet is being rolled out onto the Wembley turf for the handshake and the bubbles are flying around this magnificent stadium.  

2.40pm - West Ham's mascots this afternoon are Joint-Chairman David Sullivan's sons David and Jack. What a special day for the boys! Meanwhile, the players get a huge reception as they finish their warm-up in front of the Hammers faithful. The atmosphere come 3pm is going to be like nothing I have experienced before!


2.37pm - The West Ham end is filling up. Estimates that there could be as many as 45,000 Hammers supporters inside Wembley come kick-off!


2.32pm - The players are out being warmed-up by Eamon Swift, Neil McDonald, Martyn Margetson and Wally Downes. Kick-off is less than half-an-hour away!

Kevin Nolan

2.30pm - The Hammers have had their special five-minute West Ham segment pitch-side. Jeremy Nicholas was joined by Sir Trevor Brooking, who scored the winner here in the 1980 FA Cup final, before Cockney Rejects singer Jeff Turner got the crowd going with a sing-song of 'Come on you Irons!'.

Jeremy Nicholas

2.21pm - West Ham United are out warming up on the pitch and recieved a loud welcome from the Hammers fans already inside Wembley. Bubbles is being sung very loudly around the Home of Football right now.

2.08pm - The Team Sheets are in and Big Sam has kept the same side that beat Cardiff City 3-0 in the Play-Off semi-final second leg. Blackpool's Gary Taylor-Fletcher misses out after turning his ankle in training on Thursday, veteran striker Kevin Phillips takes his place.

West Ham United: Green, Demel, Taylor, Reid, Tomkins, Noble, Nolan, O'Neil, Collison, Vaz Te, Cole

Subs: Henderson, Faubert, McCartney, Lansbury, Maynard

Blackpool: Gilks, Baptiste, Evatt, Eardley, Crainey, Ferguson, Martinez, Dobbie, M.Phillips, Ince, K.Phillips

Subs: Southern, Sylvestre, Cathcart, Dicko, Bednar

1.50pm - If you are in the stadium and have just had a photo with any of the players or Big Sam, visit our official Facebook page to see if we caught you on camera! We've also been out and about with the West Ham TV cameras outside Wembley, so log on or subscribe if you did an interview with us this afternoon!

1.40pm - The team news will be announced in 20 minutes. Who will be in the starting XI? You will find out here first and on the club's official twitter feed.


1.35pm - The team coach has arrived and the players and staff have been out to inspect the Wembley playing surface. Joint Chairman David Gold was in the tunnel to welcome the Hammers to Wembley. A number of players stopped to sign autographs and pose for photographs, while Matt Taylor and Big Sam both did radio interviews ahead of the big match. Less than 90 minutes until kick-off!

Sam Allardyce

1pm - The team coach is expected to be at Wembley in about 15 minutes. We'll have exclusive images as the players arrive at the Home of Football. Don't forget, all today's goings-on will be shown exclusively on West Ham TV.

12.20pm - An exclusive gallery of photos from today's big day out at Wembley can be viewed on the club's official Facebook page here.

12.10pm - The backroom staff have been here since bright and early this morning, setting up the kit and other equipment in the dressing room. Meanwhile, PA announcer Jeremy Nicholas has been going through his West Ham United segment in the pre-match build-up. The atmosphere is building already, with thousands of fans emerging from Wembley Park Underground station. Liverpool Street was absolutely heaving at 10am, when I was travelling through!

Dressing Room

Welcome to Wembley! How good does that sound?!

After 31 years, the Hammers are back at the Home of Football for this afternoon's npower Championship Play-Off final between Sam Allardyce's side and Blackpool.

West Ham will battle Ian Holloway's Tangerines for the richest prize in football - a place in the Barclays Premier League. It promises to be an amazing, dramatic day full of thrills and spills and, fingers crossed, a happy ending.

West Ham won through to Wembley by finishing third in the Championship table before defeating Cardiff City 5-0 on aggregate in the Play-Off semi-finals. Blackpool finished fifth before overcoming Birmingham City 3-2 on aggregate in their semi-final.

On their tenth visit to Wembley, the Hammers will be seeking to win promotion to the Premier League for the second time through the Play-Offs, having done so previously by beating Preston North End 1-0 at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in 2005.

However, Blackpool will be a tough nut to crack, as they have an enviable Play-Off record of their own. The Tangerines have won promotion through the Play-Offs three times previously and are unbeaten in ten Play-Off matches.

The omens are good, though, as West Ham beat Blackpool 4-0 at home and 4-1 away earlier this season and have not lost to the Tangerines in five meetings dating back to 2 January 1971. The Hammers have not lost a league fixture to Blackpool since 19 March 1966,