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Page last updated at 16:15 GMT, Saturday, 22 May 2010 17:15 UK

Championship play-off final as it happened


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By Caroline Cheese

1709: What a sensational game. If only we had another momentous game to look forward to... HANG ON! Yes, I'm hopping over to Wembley to join in the Blackpool celebrations for a bit before I return for the Champions League final from 1845 BST. It won't be this page. It'll be a different one. You'll find it though. You're clever like that. Well done Blackpool, tough luck Cardiff. Thanks for the memories.

From mrtim111 on Twitter: "Well done Blackpool. We'll see you on Match of the Day next season!"

1706: Jason Euell and Charlie Adam sprint towards the Blackpool fans, before sliding on their knees with the trophy aloft. The Premier League fixtures usually come out mid-June by the way (although they may delay it until after the World Cup I guess). Look out for Man Utd v Blackpool, Arsenal v Blackpool etc etc.

1704: Biggest cheer of all is saved for Olly. The Premier League will be a much more fun place with him around. Top man... Oh. Now they're playing that Black Eyed Peas song. Is it possible to get through a sporting showpiece without hearing that these days? Please?!

1701: Jason Euell and Charlie Adam lift the (very tiny) trophy to an enormous roar from the Blackpool fans. Cinderella will go the ball.

1659: Now wearing their orange 'We are going up' T-shirts, Blackpool's players are heading up the Wembley steps to receive the trophy. Ian Holloway is behind them, still amazingly calm.

More from Holloway: "We're learning as a group that we have to believe in ourselves. The first half is the future for us. I'm so proud, not just for my team but for the area we come from. I cannot tell you what a difference this is going to make for the people in Blackpool. They're going to get so much money now from the Premier League. I can't put this into words. I'm bursting with pride."

Blackpool boss Ian Holloway on BBC 5 live: "I promised a good final and that's what we got. I can't tell you how proud I am. Absolutely magnificent. Fantastic. You've got to keep believing in yourself no matter what, and I'm with a group of people who have helped me a lot in my life."

1655: Clichéd as it may sound, there are tears of joy and sorrow at Wembley. Cardiff striker Michael Chopra, who was excellent today, is absolutely inconsolable.

1653: Blackpool legend Jimmy Armfield wipes away a tear and shakes his head in disbelief as the celebrations begin. Ian Holloway walked calmly over to Dave Jones after the final whistle to shake his friend's hand. Incredible scenes. Blackpool back in the top flight for the first time in 39 years.


1652: FULL-TIME Blackpool 3-2 Cardiff

1652: Ben Burgess scampers clear to wrap it up for Blackpool... but his first touch is awful and David Marshall collects. SO TENSE!

1651: Into the last minute and Cardiff keeper David Marshall is forced to kick the ball straight out as he is closed down by Barry Bannan.

1650: That change will be now. On-loan Aston Villa midfielder Barry Bannan replaces David Vaughan.

1649: Joe Ledley heads straight at the keeper. Difficult chance, too far out.

1648: Blackpool are four minutes of added time away from the Premier League. Ian Holloway is preparing his third and final change, but he'll wait until it'll waste the most time.

1646: Chances at both ends as Anthony Gerrard picks up the ball in space on the right, but Stephen Crainey makes a vital interception. Blackpool threaten a breakaway goal with DJ Campbell scampering down the right. Ben Burgess is in all sorts of space in the middle, but Campbell opts to take on his man instead - and only wins a throw-in. It'll waste some time though. Cardiff will finish the game with 10 men, Darcy Blake has gone off with cramp.

1644: Chance for Blackpool to relieve the pressure as they win a free-kick out left. Charlie Adam delivers it dangerously with pace, but Cardiff clear. Three and a half minutes to go, still Blackpool 3-2 Cardiff.

1643: Five minutes remaining. Blackpool are defending in numbers, and Cardiff are struggling to find a way through.

BBC Wales' Peter Shuttleworth at Wembley: "Cardiff, roared on by their fans behind that goal, are dominating in the heat but Blackpool are keeping the Bluebirds at arm's length with some towering (get it?) displays by Alex Baptiste and Ian Evatt."

1639: Darcy Blake beats two defenders with embarrassing ease on the right and gets as far as the edge of the area but doesn't hit the shot sweetly and it rolls into Matt Gilks' waiting arms.

1637: Massive shout from the Cardiff fans for a penalty as Ross McCormack is squeezed out by two defenders as a cross comes over. The players don't really appeal though. Blackpool starting to come under the cosh. Eleven minutes remaining and Blackpool lead 3-2.

1633: Almost a NIGHTMARE moment for Blackpool keeper Matthew Gilks, who challenges Michael Chopra for a Mark Kennedy cross but allows it to slip through his fingers. The ball dribbles only inches wide.

1632: Cardiff boss Dave Jones makes his final change: Anthony Gerrard replaces Kevin McNaughton in defence. Ian Holloway has one more card up his sleeve.

1629: Appeals for a free-kick after Stephen Crainey runs across Michael Chopra's path as they chase a long ball. Nothing given. About 17 minutes remaining, and as it stands, Blackpool are Premier League-bound.

BBC Wales' Peter Shuttleworth at Wembley: "The tension is getting too much for Welshmen as their near-misses and failure to keep possession are adding to their immense frustration. And if that wasn't enough, Blackpool throw on a man on loan from rivals Swansea [Dobbie]."

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher tweeting from Wembley: "Ian Holloway takes off two strikers and brings on two more strikers with his team in the lead. Brave or stupid? Bold, most definitely."

1624: A little while ago, Blackpool striker Brett Ormerod was replaced by Stephen Dobbie, which is going to make Fletch's next tweet make a lot more sense...

1621: Ian Evatt hooks over from a corner. Up the other end, Kelvin Etuhu has a shot tipped over by Matthew Gilks. My colleague has just revealed he was once an extra in Chucklevision. I've known him for six months, and he's only just revealed this. Unbelievable.

1617: Maybe Blackpool should get back on the front foot... Seasiders' keeper Matt Gilks is in no-man's land as Joe Ledley meets a corner at the near post, but his angled header goes wide of the far post.

1616: Ross McCormack replaces Chris Burke for Cardiff.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1615: Michael Chopra picks up Stephen McPhail's pass and smacks a thunderous shot onto the bar. What is it with these Wembley goals? Chelsea last week, Chopra this...

1613: The camera pans round the posh seats... completely deserted, of course. This second half has been a snoozefest compared to the first. Blackpool look they'll try to keep it tight with controlled possession.

1610: As predicted by Mystic 5 live, Gary Taylor-Fletcher is coming off - very slowly, which doesn't please the Cardiff fans. Ben Burgess is the man to come on.

1609: Blackpool finding gaps in the Cardiff defence again, but Gary Taylor-Fletcher's pass forces DJ Campbell to check back and his shot is easily blocked. BBC 5 live report that Gary T-F will be coming off shortly.

1607: Kelvin Etuhu escapes down the left and half-volleys a cross in - but nowhere near Michael Chopra in the middle.

1604: Kevin McNaughton needs a bit of treatment after a coming together with Brett Ormerod. He jogs off, but I think he should be OK.

1603: We're back under way... still no goals in the second half though.

From PauLawson on Twitter: "I've got a bet on 3-2 Blackpool, is it too much to hope that both teams learn to defend in 15 minutes?"

From Luke in Southampton, via text: "Re 1409: I think we should rename this the million-pound-a-goal game!"

From optajoe on Twitter: "Five goals in the first half is a record for a Championship play-off final. Of the eight first-half shots on target, five of them have resulted in goals."

1550: You can always count on Gerrardswhiskers to put things in perspective. It's blimmin good fun in the meantime though. With the temperature soaring, there'll be some tired legs in the second half, which can only mean that this will end 10-10.

From Gerrardswhiskers on 606: "Great match so far. Have to say that if either of these two teams defend like this when they come up they will be straight back down. Good cup tie in the meantime though."

1548: HALF-TIME Blackpool 3-2 Cardiff

1547: Darcy Blake has the ball in the net for Cardiff... surely not... no, he's offside.

Blackpool goal: I mean, we could criticise the defending, but where's the fun in that? Seamus Coleman comes inside and plays in DJ Campbell, whose neat trick creates the space for the shot. He slips - again - but the ball comes to 33-year-old Brett Ormerod, who toe-pokes it through the keeper's legs. Let's not bother with half-time eh?

1545: GOALFLASH Blackpool 3-2 Cardiff (Ormerod)

It's sunny
1543: Feel sorry for the Champions League final. It's never going to live up to this. By the way, the pitchside thermometer says it's 41C out there. Phewee, what a scorcher.

Blackpool goal: This is insane... Gary Taylor-Fletcher's swerving volley smacks the post and Cardiff scramble the ball behind for a corner. David Marshall comes to collect but can't, Ian Evatt hooks it towards goal, Mark Kennedy clears off the line - but Taylor-Fletcher heads in from close range.

1540: GOALFLASH Blackpool 2-2 Cardiff (Taylor-Fletcher)

Cardiff goal: Sucker-punch for Blackpool, but it's another fine goal in this wonderful game. Joe Ledley plays a one-two with Peter Whittingham and runs into the box to lift a glorious left-foot finish over Matthew Gilks.

1537: GOALFLASH Blackpool 1-2 Cardiff (Ledley)

1534: Tika-taka, tika-taka... it's just like watching Barcelona as Blackpool pass the ball around in midfield. Half-chance for DJ Campbell in the box, but he slips over... maybe that pitch isn't so hot.

Steve Claridge on BBC 5 live: "The pitch seems to be alright today. We certainly haven't seen the problems we've seen in recent weeks."

1528: Peter Whittingham this time with the ball on the left and his diagonal ball is perfect for Michael Chopra, but Stephen Crainey does enough to put off the Cardiff striker and his volley dribbles wide.

1527: A chance for Cardiff to get back on the front foot as they win a corner. It's taken short and Peter Whittingham appears to take a left-foot shot from an angle on the right. Or is it a cross? Either way, it's nothing for Blackpool for worry about.

1525: On-loan Everton full-back Seamus Coleman showing some nice touches out on the right for Blackpool. He gets a second chance to cross, but wellies it straight out of play.

1523: Shutts (see below) is not wrong. Blackpool very much on top for the moment. Cardiff still trying to recover from that Charlie Adam rocket.

BBC Wales' Peter Shuttleworth at Wembley: "The worst possible two minutes for Cardiff City as Charlie Adam cracks in a screamer and their attacking talisman Jay Bothroyd hobbles off with what seems like a calf injury. Bothroyd's absence is a colossal blow for the Bluebirds as the anxiety from their fans and body language from their players explains. "

From Graham, Rangers fan stuck at work in Glasgow, via text: "Can't believe we let Charlie Adam go for only £500k!"

1520: Here's a chance... Stephen Crainey's low ball across the edge of the box for an unmarked DJ Campbell, who decides to hit it first time but completely misses. You can't take your eyes off this one... David Vaughan drives forward from midfield and hammers a shot just wide.

BBC Wales' Peter Shuttleworth at Wembley: "Cardiff's big-game player comes up trumps as Michael Chopra sends 40,000-odd Bluebirds into dreamland. But Dave Jones urges caution and gives his players a timely reminder that there are still 82 minutes to go before getting too carried away. Then Charlie Adam illustrates Jones' point perfectly with a belter."

1518: Ian Evatt provides a sensational cross from the right for Blackpool, which Darcy Blake does brilliantly to throw himself at and boot clear.

1515: A disappointed Jay Bothroyd trudges off to be replaced by Kelvin Etuhu. Calf injury, we think.

Blackpool goal: I'm not sure I have the words for that... Stephen McPhail's handball gives Blackpool a free-kick about 25 yards out. Charlie Adam steps up and curls the most glorious effort into the top corner, left-footed. I'm tempted to say take a bow son, but that's someone else's catchphrase. What a start to this game. Love it.

1513: GOALFLASH Blackpool 1-1 Cardiff (Adam)

1511: As the Cardiff fans celebrate, there's a worry for the Bluebirds' bench as Jay Bothroyd comes over to discuss something. Injury?

Cardiff goal: What a start for the Bluebirds. Peter Whittingham plays in Michael Chopra, who reaches the edge of the box and smacks a stunning low finish into the far corner just as the defender is coming across to challenge.

1508: GOALFLASH Blackpool 0-1 Cardiff (Chopra)

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher tweeting from Wembley: "Why, why, why, why, why are Blackpool not wearing tangerine? Jimmy Armfield looking nervous as the TV camera focuses on him."

Someone has struck the woodwork
1503: Ooooh, chance. Peter Whittingham crosses from the left and Michael Chopra gets ahead of the defender and toe-pokes a shot onto the angle of the crossbar.

1502: Bit of nervous hesitation from Cardiff keeper David Marshall there as a cross from deep comes in. Keith Southern gets there first but can't control the ball, and Cardiff can clear.

1500: Cardiff get us under way. They wear blue shirts and white shorts. Blackpool are wearing white shirts and orange shorts.

From Aaron, Bangor, via text: "At the Radio 1 big weekend, boiling hot but have to skip between watching Justin Bieber and taking a quick look at the score."

1458: Dave Jones heads to the bench and wedges some chewing gum in his mouth. We must be nearly ready to go.

1456: Ian Holloway and Dave Jones hug in the tunnel before the teams emerge blinking into the sunlight. Ah, there's Jimmy Armfield in the crowd. He was on the radio earlier, saying he wondered if he'd ever see his beloved Blackpool this close to the top flight again.

BBC Wales' Peter Shuttleworth at Wembley: "Now the atmosphere inside Wembley matches the weather. Great colour, great occasion, great prize. Untold riches await the ones that sizzle on the hallowed yet maligned Wembley turf. Folklore is about to be written by one of those players who has just taken one of the most coveted walks in football."

From InfostradaLive on Twitter: "Five of the last six Championship play-off finals (including the last three) have ended 1-0."

1450: Massive flags of Cardiff and Blackpool are floating over a sun-drenched Wembley pitch. Nine minutes to go and the atmosphere is magnificent.

1448: optajoe on Twitter says "on the last five occasions a fourth-placed side has reached the Championship play-off final, they have been defeated." Bad news for Cardiff. And yet more bad news for the Bluebirds comes from sportingintelligence. They reveal that the team finishing second in the play-off zone is the least likely to go up (17% chance). The team fourth in the zone (ie Blackpool) have a 22% chance. So there.

A very serious Blackpool boss Ian Holloway: "I'd like to meet the people saying we're underdogs… I don't see it like that. We'll try to play the game, not the occasion. We've tried to get the players calm and remind them who they're playing against, because that's all that matters. The rest is in the lap of the gods."

1439: It is, of course, famously 25C all year round in Blackpool. Another thing in the Seasiders' favour: the pitch at Bloomfield Road is a horror, and we all know about Wembley's not-so-hallowed turf.

From Adzer2 on 606: "I wonder if the hot weather will play a part in the result, 'Sunny Blackpool' might gain an advantage."

1436: Right, public service information: the game is on ESPN3 in that there America-land, apparently. Awesome! Meanwhile, Cardiff boss Dave Jones says: "I feel the same as I always feel. All churned up and I want to get on with it."

From InfostradaLive on Twitter: "Only Chelsea, Manchester United and Portsmouth have played more often than Cardiff City at the New Wembley Stadium."

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher tweeting from Wembley: "Cardiff out for their pre-match warm up. Bit late at 1425 BST. Ground filling up nicely. Amazing sound system - could have a good party here."

1429: Seems like a lot of people around the world are missing out on watching this game. Do they not realise it's the £1m-a-minute match? (£750,000-a-minute after extra time). Well, I'm sorry for those of you deprived - but happy to have you on board.

1426: And the team news is... there is no team news. Both teams are unchanged from their semi-final second leg games. That means Cardiff's 25-goal man Peter Whittingham has shrugged off a slight groin injury to take his place in the starting XI.

1425: TEAMS Blackpool v Cardiff
Blackpool: Gilks, Crainey, Baptiste, Evatt, Coleman, Vaughan, Adam (c), Southern, Campbell, Taylor-Fletcher, Ormerod. Subs: Rachubka, Clarke, Burgess, Euell, Edwards, Bannan, Dobbie.
Cardiff: Marshall, McNaughton, Hudson (c), Blake, Kennedy, Burke, McPhail, Ledley, Whittingham, Chopra, Bothroyd. Subs: Enckelman, Quinn, Gerrard, Capaldi, Wildig, McCormack, Etuhu.

From Rob via text: "As an estranged Blackpudlian living in Houston, Texas there are a fair few butterflies here too. I was a season ticket holder in the 60s and 70s. Days of Armfield, Ball, Hughes, Green and Hutchinson. No coverage here so glued to your web report. Go Tangerines."
No coverage there? What they showing instead?

BBC Wales' Peter Shuttleworth at Wembley: "It's red hot here at Wembley - the weather, though, rather than the atmosphere. And instead of going to the seaside, the Seasiders have come to us for club football's richest game. Not surprisingly both sets of fans have arrived early to watch the biggest game in their respective clubs' history. Cardiff are slight favourites but rule out Ian Holloway's Blackpool at your peril. The Premier League awaits its 44th different team. Hold on tight."

1419: And if Blackpool win, well… er, Ian Holloway. Do I need say more? "I'm loving my time here and really want to do something that means something to me. I don't think we'll ever have a better chance. We might not ever get it again, to do something that hasn't been done in 40-odd years. If you do it here, this club remembers you and might even put a statue of you outside. Now that's respect, isn't it?"

1415: For the neutral, there are good reasons to support both these teams. If Cardiff win, boss Dave Jones has promised to turn up to training on a horse. "The day it happens I will be saddling up," he said. "It will be fantastic. I know the television cameras will be down here. But then I can be a proper cowboy."

BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher tweeting from Wembley: "Big shout to Leicester's Folville Junior School, who have just won the FL Community Cup at Wembley. Orange(ish) beating Blue. A sign?"

1409: Cleverly, our colleagues in Wales are dubbing this the £1m-a-minute game... But as my colleague just observed, what happens if it goes to extra time? Anyway...

1406: I jest, of course. On days like these, I'd work for free*. We kick off with a tantalising Championship play-off final between Blackpool and Cardiff. The Seasiders haven't been in the top flight for 39 years. For the Bluebirds, it's been an agonising 48 years. I'd imagine there will be a fair few butterflies in those Wembley changing rooms...
* Dear boss, this is a light-hearted remark and should in no way be taken as an indication that I would work for free.

1400: Championship play-off final = the £90m game. Champions League final = the £104m game. Hang on... am I getting paid extra for this?

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Championship results

22 May 2010 23:59 UK

see also
Blackpool v Cardiff photos
22 May 10 |  Football
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football

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