Hammers To Meet Blackpool In Wembley Showdown

Hammers get to play Blackpool in a 90m showdown at Wembley for premiership glory after the seaside town boys managed to pip Birmingham at the post and win 3-2 on aggregate. The thriller of a match ended in a 2-2 draw after Birmingham made a courageous comeback from 2 nil down.

The Blackpool boys were well up for it in the first half and pretty much played Birmingham off the park. It did look at one stage that it was going to be a cakewalk for Blackpool until the brummies stepped up to the plate and snatched one back.Then it was 2 apiece and Birmingham just needed a goal to take it to the wire. It didn’t happen though and although it was a brave fightback, Blackpool get to meet the Hammers at Wembley on May 19th for Premiership glory. I think Chris Hughton’s team reacted far too late in the game and left it to the last minute to do anything about it.

Chris Hughton had this to say afterwards:

“Their goals killed us and gave them a lift.”

Remarkably this will be the third successive playoff for goal scorer Stephen Dobbie. The Scot has been in triumphant playoffs with both Swansea and Blackpool and is hungry for a third against the irons!

Dobbie, who is on loan at the moment from his old club Swansea had this to say about Blackpool’s win last night:

“There is something special about Blackpool. It’s why I came back. The future is bright.”

Blackpool boss Ian Holloway is out for revenge, too. He’ll remember that the Hammers have stuck eight goals past his seasiders this year and he’s out to make amends! He also has in his sights a repeat of the 2010 season when Blackpool got promoted and would like to get back to top flight football after being relegated last season.

Holloway had this to say after the match:

I’ll be trying to work out how to beat a team who finished 11 points ahead of us and won 8-1 over two games.

“I am so proud of my boys. Going back to Wembley is magnificent. We’re through to the biggest game on Earth!”

So, with that out of the way, who do we fancy to go up next year? The Hammers of course! I don’t think the Blackpool boys will be that difficult to overcome, especially as they will have in the back of their minds the eight goals we’ve put past them, too 😉

Having said that, it’s a Wembley playoff final and sometimes you have to accept that it’s anyone’s game. For example, who would have thought that Chelsea could clobber the best team in the world and dump them out of a fourth successive Champions League final? Nobody, right?

Well, this a similar game and I think the Hammers are favourites given their record against Ian Holloway’s outfit this year alone. But, on the other hand we shouldn’t be misled into thinking that Blackpool will roll over and let Vaz Té and company walk all over them, although that would be rather nice, wouldn’t it?

The Hammers are going to have to prepare “big time” for this game if Allardyce is to get premiership action again. What a way to end a long hard season, eh? COYI!!

West Ham United 3 Birmingham City 3: Match Report

Ricardo Vaz Té’s late penalty saved West Ham’s bacon yesterday as the match ended 3 apiece against Birmingham City.

The first half of the match was something out of a horror story and threatened to damage West Ham’s promotion chances. Snatching just a point was not what the Hammers really wanted but they showed incredible spirit to come back from 3-1 down at the break.

The Hammers knew that Saints had won their game and were now 7 points adrift. With the pressure now on West ham could not afford to waste this opportunity of a game in hand. Sadly though, this is what they did and gifted Birmingham their goals to make it 1-3 at half time.

The lads from Birmingham punished the Irons for some sloppy football especially from the midfield where the ball was given away far too many times.Birmingham scored twice, both from the home side’s errors that saw them give the ball away in the midfield. Ricardo Vaz Té showed courage and scored almost straight after to make it 1-2 but then Birmingham got a corner and some defensive errors cost West Ham a third. The Hammers were booed off the park at half time.Big Sam Allardyce could only shake his head at such a poor performance from his lads.

After the break, Carlton Cole scored to make it 2 apiece and gave an invigorated West Ham some hope. West Ham had a lot of possession early on in the second half but it wasn’t used wisely as the best chances fell to their opponents with Rob Green keeping the Hammers’ hopes alive with a reflex save from Chris Burke. Curtis Davies also headed wide from a Jordan Mutch corner.

Allardyce was livid as two possible spot kicks were not given. Gary O’Neil went to ground in the penalty area after a challenge by Ramage but no penalty was given.Then West Ham’s players were angry as another penalty appeal went begging after Carlton Cole went down while tussling with Steven Caldwell in the penalty area.

West ham’s comeback was finally complete when Burke handled Henri Lansbury’s shot in the box, allowing Ricardo Vaz Té to rescue a point from the penalty spot for the Hammers that he confidently knocked in.

Match details

West Ham (4-4-2): Green; A Faye, Tomkins, Reid, McCartney (Collins 34); O’Neil, Noble (Baldock 82), Nolan; Vaz Te, Cole, Maynard (Lansbury 45).

Subs: Taylor, Demel.

Booked: Nolan, Lansbury.

Birmingham (4-5-1): Myhill; Ramage, Davies, Caldwell, Murphy; Burke, Fahey, N’Daw (Zigic 67), Mutch, Elliott; King (Townsend 85).

Subs: Doyle (gk), Huseklepp, Redmond.

Booked: N’Daw, Zigic, Burke.

Referee: Jonathan Moss.