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Saturday, 26 May, 2001, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
Blackpool pip Orient to promotion
Blackpool 4-2 Leyton Orient
Blackpool twice came back from behind to clinch promotion to Division Two with a thrilling win over Leyton Orient.
Steve McMahon's side refused to let an early goal dampen their spirits at the first-ever Play-Off final to be staged at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
And they dug deep in the second half - with goals from Paul Simpson and Brett Ormerod - to make sure their fans would not go home disappointed.
The game got off to an incredible start with a goal after just 27 seconds.
Blackpool keeper Phil Barnes' first touch deserted him as he failed to control a routine backpass.
He then slipped to allow Orient striker Chris Tate to sidefoot the ball into an empty net.
Tate then came close to grabbing a second when he rose well but failed to direct his header on six minutes.
The slippery surface and the frenetic pace of the opening 10 minutes led to numerous unforced errors.
Blackpool's Daniel Coid was unlucky not to capitalise on some confusion in the Orient defence after Simon Downer failed to clear.
Coid again went close minutes later but Orient's charismatic keeper Ashley Bayes managed to divert the goal-bound shot around his post.
Orient's David McGhee kept up the pressure on the Blackpool goal only for Barnes to make up for his earlier mistake by tipping over from close range after Matt Lockwood had swung in an excellent cross.
McGhee was then guilty of missing a free header on goal from the resulting corner.
The Blackpool fans - who far outnumbered their counterparts - were stunned into silence as the Londoners took control of the game.
Scott Houghton was in commanding form at the heart of Orient's midfield, while Tate and McGhee looked likely to add to the team's slender lead.
Yet Blackpool came back at the O's and Bayes was again forced to make an excellent save from John Murphy.
The Orient defence failed to deal with the resulting corner and an unmarked Ian Hughes met Simpson's corner to bring McMahon's side back into the game.
But the score did not remain level for long as former Spurs player Houghton fired Orient back into the lead with a well-struck shot on 36 minutes.
The first half ended in much the same way it had started with a defensive mix-up - this time in Orient's area.
McGhee seemed to get the final touch on a Parkinson cross, but Blackpool captain Brian Reid claimed his team's second on the stroke of half time.
After the interval, during which the players would have changed their studs to suit the playing surface better, both teams settled early on.
Orient's young striker Jabo Ibehre set off on a dazzling run and left the Blackpool defence completely flatfoooted.
The 18-year-old deserved to find the back of the net, but his shot clipped the post and bounced out of harm's way.
Blackpool's in-form striker Ormerod, who had been virtually anonymous in the first half, was then left to rue a missed opportunity on 50 minutes which could have put his team in the lead.
As the match progressed, Blackpool looked the more likely to score.
The offside flag came to Orient's rescue as Simpson was called back after a one-two with Murphy had left the midfielder clean through on goal.
That proved a clear warning to Orient which they failed to heed.
Simpson gave Blackpool the lead for the first time in the match after he latched on to Ormerod's through ball.
That gave McMahon's side the confidence to go in search of the fourth to seal their promotion to Division Two.
And Ormerod duly obliged by scoring his 26th goal of the season after an excellent move started by man-of-the-match Simpson.
Blackpool: Barnes, Hills, Parkinson, Hughes, Reid, Coid, Wellens, Clarkson, Simpson, Ormerod, John Murphy. Subs: Bushell, Mike Milligan, Thompson, Neil Murphy, Jamie Milligan.
Leyton Orient: Bayes, Joseph, Lockwood, Smith, Downer, Harris, Walschaerts, McGhee, Houghton, Ibehre, Tate. Subs: Brkovic, Barrett, Castle, Beall, Martin.
Referee: D Pugh (Bebington)
Other top Eng Div 3 stories:
Links to more Eng Div 3 stories are at the foot of the page.
Links to more Eng Div 3 stories
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