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Blackpool v Hull – match report

Blackpool 0 Hull 0: All square at Bloomfield Road with keepers on form


18:16 GMT, 1 January 2013



00:37 GMT, 2 January 2013

Goalkeepers Matt Gilks and Eldin Jakupovic earned their respective sides a share of the points with crucial second-half saves in a game of few chances at Bloomfield Road.

Blackpool's Gilks pulled off a flying save to keep out Hull midfielder David Meyler's goalbound shot in the 60th minute, while opposite number Jakupovic was at full stretch himself to turn away a vicious 25-yard effort from the home side's coveted Thomas Ince in the 85th minute.

Thomas Ince shoots

Spurned: Both teams had good chance to win but were denied at either end

Jakupovic, a Bosnian-born Switzerland international, then made another fine save in the second minute of time added on to keep out Seasiders' substitute Nathan Delfouneso's shot and ensure Hull stretched their unbeaten league run to eight matches.


Blackpool: Gilks,Eardley, Broadfoot, Baptiste, Crainey, Osbourne, Sylvestre, Basham, Ince, Taylor-Fletcher (Dicko 80),Thomas (Delfouneso 66).

Subs: Halstead, Kevin Phillips, Cathcart, Martinez,Harris.

Booked: Taylor-Fletcher.

Hull: Jakupovic, Chester, Faye, Hobbs, Rosenior, Meyler, Evans (Bruce 83), Quinn, Brady, Koren (Simpson 46), Aluko (Proschwitz 46).

Subs: Amos, Cairney, McShane, Olofinjana.

Att: 13,691

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).

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Hull, who had won six of their previous seven npower Championship matches, remain second in the table, while Blackpool, for all their late pressure, have now won only one of their last six league matches.

Midfield pair Ludovic Sylvestre and Isaiah Osbourne, plus defender Neal Eardley returned to Blackpool's starting line-up, while Liam Rosenior stepped in at right-back for Hull in place of the injured Ahmed Elmohamady.

Neither side could fashion a chance worthy of note in the first 20 minutes save for Hull's on-loan Sunderland midfielder Meyler, who dragged an angled shot from the left side of the penalty area off target.

The visitors threatened again in the 22nd minute when striker Sone Aluko flashed a 25-yard shot wide and it was not until the 29th minute that Blackpool's coveted winger Ince fired his side's first shot on goal straight at Jakupovic.

The Seasiders enjoyed their best spell from the half-hour mark, with striker Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Ince both prominent, but failed to test Jakupovic again before the half-time whistle.

Steve Bruce

Stalemate: Steve Bruce's side remain in second place after today's draw

Hull manager Steve Bruce replaced Aluko and midfielder Robert Koren for strikers Nick Proschwitz and Jay Simpson at the interval and the latter was straight into the action when his header from Rosenior's cross forced Gilks into a smart save 90 seconds after the restart.

Gilks then held Hull midfielder Robbie Brady's 20-yard free-kick as the visitors went in search of the breakthrough.

Meyler, who has scored three goals in his last four appearances for the Tigers, went closest to the game's opening goal with a superb strike in the 60th minute that prompted a spectacular save from Gilks, whose outstretched arm turned the goalbound shot away for a corner.

Blackpool were dealt a blow soon after when striker Wes Thomas was forced off injured and replaced by Delfouneso before Sylvestre had a rare shot on goal for the home side, firing an angled drive just wide.

The game was finely balanced heading into the final quarter when Blackpool defender Chris Basham fired a 25-yard effort over the crossbar, while at the other end Hull midfielder Corry Evans spurned a gilt-edged chance when he failed to keep his shot from inside the area on target.

Jakupovic flung himself at Ince's 25-yard shot in the closing stages to push the ball away to safety before Delfouneso blazed over the crossbar from inside the area in stoppage time.

Crystal Palace 2 Blackpool 2: Nouha Dicko scores late equaliser for Blackpool

Crystal Palace 2 Blackpool 2: Holloway in a rage over Dicko's late equaliser


17:34 GMT, 8 December 2012



21:09 GMT, 8 December 2012

Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway hit out at the reaction of the Blackpool bench after Nouha Dicko's last-minute goal ensured his old club a dramatic draw.

Holloway left Blackpool only five weeks ago to take charge at promotion-chasing Palace, and his new side appeared on course for the win when Glenn Murray and Owen Garvan overturned Nathan Delfouneso's first-half opener.

Last gasp: Nouha Dicko celebrates the equaliser for Blackpool

Last gasp: Nouha Dicko celebrates the equaliser for Blackpool

Match facts

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Blake (Moritz 56), Ramage, Delaney, Parr, Zaha, Dikgacoi, Garvan, Bolasie (Moxey 90), Jedinak, Murray. Subs Not Used: Price, Wilbraham, Easter, O'Keefe, Gabbidon.

Yellow cards: Bolasie, Blake, Jedinak.

Scorers: Garvan 52, Murray 64.

Blackpool: Gilks, Broadfoot, Baptiste, Cathcart, Crainey, Martinez (Sylvestre 73), Gomes (Dicko 73), Osbourne, Ince, Thomas, Delfouneso (Kevin Phillips 88). Subs Not Used: Halstead, Eardley, Harris, Eccleston.

Yellow cards: Martinez, Crainey, Cathcart, Baptiste, Dicko.

Scorers: Delfouneso 37, Dicko 89.

Att: 15,594

Ref: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)

The latest Championship table, results and fixtures

But Dicko came off the bench to
equalise, prompting celebrations in the dug-out that Holloway believes
went too far in the case of one of Michael Appleton's backroom staff.

The Palace manager said: 'They were
delighted at the end, but I didn't like the reaction of one of the men
on their bench. One of the new fellas looked straight at me when they
equalised. It's a war out there, and I carried my shield very proudly.

'He didn't stare me out. No one can
stare me out. I know Michael wouldn't have done something like that,
he's got more about him than that. But I didn't look round at them when
we scored, did I

'It was not easy to play down the
emotion. I was at Blackpool a long time and had great times. But you
have to move on. I heard them singing “What's the score” to me when
they were winning, but that wasn't happening when we were 2-1 up!'

Blackpool boss Appleton, now unbeaten in six games since succeeding Holloway, dismissed his opposite number's concern.

Levelling up: Owen Garvan scores for Crystal Palace

Levelling up: Owen Garvan scores for Crystal Palace

He said: 'I was probably celebrating when the goal went in.

'But you're talking about looking at
people. What are we supposed to do, keep our heads down I think maybe
Ian was being a little bit tongue in cheek.'

Delfouneso headed Blackpool ahead in
the 17th minute from Tom Ince's cross and the vistors reached the
half-time interval on top.

Opening salvo: Nathan Delfouneso celebrates scoring Blackpool's first goalates scoring Blackpool's first goal

Opening salvo: Nathan Delfouneso celebrates scoring Blackpool's first goal

But Palace responded strongly after
the break, levelling in the 53rd minute when Garvan headed home from
Yannick Bolasie's cross before Murray headed his 18th league goal of the
season in the 65th minute.

The home side appeared on course for
victory until Wes Thomas' low cross was turned home by Dicko, and
Appleton believes his side deserved a draw.

Heading in: Owen Garvin scores for Crystal Palace

Heading in: Owen Garvin scores for Crystal Palace

He added: 'I'm sure some players get
themselves up for different games – former managers or clubs – and I
thought we dealt with them reasonably well. I would have been
desperately disappointed not to take anything out of the game after
having played so well in the first half.

'I knew they would improve in the second half, and it was difficult for 10 or 15 minutes in the second half.

'But just before we got an
equaliser, you could see a bit of momentum building. And once we got
that, I thought we could have gone on and got the winner.'

Burnley v Blackpool – match report

Burnley 1 Blackpool 0: Austin's early goal enough to see off Tangerines at Turf Moor



18:36 GMT, 20 October 2012

Charlie Austin continued his hot goalscoring streak by hitting the winner in Terry Pashley's first game in temporary charge of Burnley.

Austin has now scored eight goals in the last five npower Championship games and it was enough to beat an under performing Blackpool side.

The Clarets had the first sight of goal after Junior Stanislas surged into the box early on, but Stephen Crainey blocked the shot.

Come here: Isaiah Osbourne (right) is hauled back by Dean Marney

Come here: Isaiah Osbourne (right) is hauled back by Dean Marney


Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, McCann, Wallace, Marney, Stanislas (Paterson 75min), Stock (Bartley 69min), Austin (Vokes 86min)

Subs not used: Jensen, Edgar, Mills, Stewart

Goals: Austin 19

Blackpool: Gilks, Crainey, Eardley, Evatt, Baptiste, M Phillips (Bruna 80min), Osbourne, Angel, Ince (Dicko 79min), Taylor-Fletcher, Delfouneso (Sylvestre 58min),

Subs not used: Halstead, Gomes, Eccleston

Attendance: 12,925

Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).

Click here for the latest Championship results, fixtures and table

Stanislas turned provider after 10
minutes when the League's top scorer, Austin, sprung the offside trap to
get on to the pass.

He controlled and volleyed towards the far corner
but Matt Gilks palmed the ball to safety.

The hosts made their dominance pay
eight minutes later, when Ross Wallace produced a wonderful inswinging
cross from the right and Austin headed into the roof of the net from
close range.

Ian Holloway's men had lost three of
their previous four games and struggled to make any inroads with only a
wayward shot from Tom Ince to show for their first half efforts, and it
was Burnley who continued to threaten.

With three minutes of the first half
remaining Gilks was called upon again after Austin's neat flick played
in Stanislas – but the Blackpool goalkeeper stood firm to parry for a

Wallace almost capped a lively half with a goal in stoppage-time but could only find the sidenetting with his free-kick.

The Clarets picked up where they left off in the second half, with Gilks needed to save from Austin to keep the deficit at one.

It took almost 10 minutes for Blackpool to register their first attempt of the half and it was Ince who had the opening.

Slipped in on the right, he elected to shoot at the near post but only found the sidenetting.

For the first time, Lee Grant was called upon and he produced a remarkable double save on the hour mark.

First, Crainey crossed for Alex
Baptiste to power a header towards goal and Grant flung himself to the
right to tip the ball onto the post.

The rebound fell to Gary Taylor-Fletcher with the goal at his mercy but Grant sprung to his feet to parry the ball to safety.

Despite being under more pressure,
Burnley always posed a threat and Austin was once again at the heart of
it with 15 minutes remaining.

He got himself between the two
centre-backs and powered a header towards goal from a Kieran Trippier
cross – but Gilks was equal to it.

Substitute Sam Vokes almost grabbed a
second for the Clarets in injury-time. Gilks thwarted them again but
the one goal was enough.

Hull 2 Blackpool 3

Hull 2 Blackpool 3: Dicko climbs off bench to stun Tigers and take Tangerines fourth



21:13 GMT, 2 October 2012

Super-sub Nouha Dicko fired Blackpool to victory at the KC Stadium with a fabulous overhead kick just seven minutes from time.

Hull had been in the driving seat after hitting back through Sone Aluko and Stephen Quinn following Matt Phillips' early goal for Blackpool.

But visiting boss Ian Holloway made two inspired changes by bringing on Kevin Phillips and Dicko, and after veteran Phillips levelled after 70 minutes, Dicko produced a piece of magic to claim the spoils for the Tangerines.

Stunning: Blackpool's Nouha Dicko scores their third goal

Stunning: Blackpool's Nouha Dicko scores their third goal

Match facts

Hull: Amos, Elmohamady, McShane, Faye, Bruce (Rosenior 45), Dudgeon (Mclean 86), Koren, Olofinjana, Quinn, Simpson, Aluko.

Subs Not Used: Oxley, Dawson, McKenna, Evans, Proschwitz.

Goals: Aluko 39, Quinn 47.

Blackpool: Gilks, Baptiste, Eardley, Evatt, Crainey, Matt Phillips (Dicko 75), Gomes (Kevin Phillips 67), Ferguson, Osbourne,Taylor-Fletcher, Delfouneso (Sylvestre 80).

Subs Not Used: Halstead, Basham, Martinez, Eccleston.

Goals: Matt Phillips 11, Kevin Phillips 71, Dicko 83.

Att: 14,919

Ref: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire).

Latest Championship results, fixtures and table

Hull defender Paul McShane was handed his first start of the season in place of the injured James Chester in what was the only change for the Tigers.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher gave Blackpool a boost by recovering from a back injury and he was just one of six alterations to the side that lost at Cardiff, with Barry Ferguson, Tiago Gomes, Neal Eardley, Nathan Delfouneso and Isaiah Osbourne also returning.

After a cagey opening 10 minutes, Blackpool broke the deadlock with their first attack of the game as an unmarked Matt Phillips fired Delfouneso's cross past the dive of Ben Amos from 10 yards.

Jay Simpson blazed wildly over for the Tigers, before Alex Bruce produced a terrific last-ditch tackle to deny Delfouneso as he bore down on goal.
A mistake from Ian Evatt presented a chance to Simpson, but his effort was saved by Matt Gilks.

The Tigers were piling on the pressure and there were big shouts for a penalty as Aluko went to ground under a challenge from Stephen Crainey, but referee Scott Mathieson only awarded a corner.

From the resulting set-piece, the ball into the box appeared to strike Tiago Gomes' arm, but again the appeals fell on deaf ears.

Six minutes before the break, Hull were level. Aluko received the ball midway inside Blackpool's half and looked around for support before letting fly with a brilliant effort from 25 yards that found the back of the net.

As the rain lashed down, a terrific ball from Aluko put Simpson in the clear, but he stumbled, lost control and the chance was gone.

Hull took the lead inside two minutes of the second-half through Quinn. A great ball from Aluko found the Irishman near the byline and from an acute angle he dispatched a clinical shot into the far corner.

Ahmed Elmohamady shot straight at Gilks, a Quinn effort was deflected for a corner by Osbourne, and then Abdoulaye Faye headed over as Hull pressed for a third.

Despite all City's pressure, Blackpool equalised after 70 minutes. Crainey swung over a free-kick, Taylor-Fletcher prodded the ball across goal and there was Kevin Phillips to bundle it home from a yard out.

Tangerines boss Ian Holloway introduced Nouha Dicko after 75 minutes and eight minutes later he fired the visitors ahead with a brilliant overhead kick.

Kevin Phillips chased a long ball over the top and as Amos went to close him down on the byline, the veteran striker chipped over a cross which was headed only as far as Dicko, who flung himself into the air to score a stunning winner.

Barnsley 1 Blackpool 1 – match report

Barnsley 1 Blackpool 1: In-form Ince helps Tangerines maintain top two spot



17:14 GMT, 15 September 2012

Thomas Ince gatecrashed Barnsley's 125th anniversary celebrations with an equaliser as Blackpool claimed a point at Oakwell.

Craig Davies put the home team ahead with a long-range effort early in the first half, but Ince continued his strong start to the season by netting for Blackpool after half an hour.

Both sides pushed for victory, but neither was able to break the second-half deadlock and the Seasiders claimed a point which sees them remain second in the npower Championship.

Ince by Ince: Blackpool maintained their run near the top of the table thank to Thomas Ince

Ince by Ince: Blackpool maintained their run near the top of the table thank to Thomas Ince

Ince by Ince: Blackpool maintained their run near the top of the table thank to Thomas Ince
Match facts

Barnsley: Alnwick, Stones, Foster, Wiseman, Golbourne, Cywka, Dawson, Cranie, Mellis (Etuhu 90), Dagnall (Done 68), Davies (Harewood 68). Subs not used: Steele, Collins, Perkins, Noble-Lazarus.

Scorer: Davies 14.

Blackpool: Gilks, Baptiste, Eardley, Evatt, Harris, Matt Phillips, Sylvestre, Martinez (Osbourne 60), Ince, Kevin Phillips (Delfouneso 76), Taylor-Fletcher (Gomes 68). Subs not used: Halstead, Cathcart, Dicko, Eccleston.

Booked: Ince.

Scorer: Ince 30.

Referee: Andy Woolmer.

Attendance: 14,134.

The game had been preceded by a series of performances to mark the Tykes' milestone, but the home team were unable to produce the desired three points to celebrate their momentous occasion.

Barnsley made a strong start to the match and Chris Dagnall forced Blackpool goalkeeper Matt Gilks into an early save before play was pulled back for an offside ruling against Craig Davies.

Blackpool were soon into their stride with Ince and Matt Phillips taking the game to the Barnsley defence, but it was Alex Baptiste who forced Ben Alnwick to parry a 25-yard strike over the crossbar after 12 minutes.

The home team broke the deadlock just a minute later thanks to a 20-yard drive from Davies which sailed into the bottom left corner of Gilks' goal after receiving the ball from Jacob Mellis.

Blackpool enjoyed an overwhelming share of possession for much of the first half and, on the half-hour mark, the pressure told as Ince broke free of the Barnsley defence to slot home a left-footed effort from inside the penalty area after a pass from Gary Taylor-Fletcher.

The goal – Ince's fifth of the season – means the highly-rated midfielder is averaging one goal per match for the season so far.

The away team continued to push for the lead after their equaliser, but the two teams went in all square at half-time after Angel Martinez had a headed goal ruled out for offside on 45 minutes.

Red-y for action: Barnsley's Craig Davies put his side ahead on a special day for the club

Red-y for action: Barnsley's Craig Davies put his side ahead on a special day for the club

Gilks was called into action early in the second half as Barnsley goalscorer Davies unleashed a fierce 20-yard strike to force the Blackpool goalkeeper into a fine save.

Ince became the first man to have his name written in referee Andy Woolmer's book, after 55 minutes, when he was booked following a foul on Scott Golbourne.

Keith Hill's men dominated possession for large parts of the second half, and the Barnsley manager brought on Marlon Harewood and Matty Done as he pushed for a winner.

In the hunt: Blackpool have enjoyed a bright start to the season and sit pretty near the top

In the hunt: Blackpool have enjoyed a bright start to the season and sit pretty near the top

However, the home team had a lucky escape in the 75th minute as Tiago Gomes had an effort cleared off the line by Golbourne.

Baptiste tried his luck from 25 yards for Blackpool in the last minute of the match, but Alnwick was equal to the effort and produced a superb save to ensure his side emerged from the match with one point to show for their efforts.

Craig Levein: Scotland are not out of race to Brazil

Levein rubbishes suggestion Scotland are already struggling to reach Brazil



15:04 GMT, 10 September 2012

Craig Levein has described as 'nonsense' the notion that Scotland's 2014 World Cup qualification hopes are up for debate after one Group A game.

The consensus following Saturday's goalless draw against Serbia at Hampden was that while the result was not fatal, a hefty blow had been dealt to the Scots' hopes of reaching Brazil.

Consequently, pressure has been heaped on the Scotland boss ahead of Tuesday night's visit of Macedonia in a fixture widely believed to offer a another good chance to rack up three points.

Confident: Craig Levein believes Scotland have what it takes to qualify

Confident: Craig Levein believes Scotland have what it takes to qualify

However, Levein, who has called Craig Samson into his squad following concerns over No 1 keeper Allan McGregor and back-up Matt Gilks, moved to quash any suggestions that it is already win-or-bust for his side.

'It is nonsense to be talking about qualification or non-qualification just now,' he said.

'We still have 27 points to play for.

'We are very positive about what we are doing just now.

'It is interesting, if we win and other results go our way we could be top of the group and all of a sudden the point becomes important and who knows, come the end of the tournament it might be the one that makes all the difference.

'Maybe some people don't understand the quality of teams we are playing against.

'We did a lot of work on Serbia, we looked at their strengths and weaknesses and we knew we were in for a tough game on Saturday.

'Tonight, we will look at Macedonia and analyse how they play.

'We have to give them respect, if you look at their recent results they have performed exceptionally well and should have got a point against Croatia the other night.

Should have gone to Specsavers: Levein's glasses were called into question

Should have gone to Specsavers: Levein's glasses were called into question

'We have had our own troubles with Macedonia in the past so this will be a tough match for us, a different type of game but I am looking forward to it.

'We have players who didn't hit peak form at the weekend and they are determined to put that right on Tuesday night.'

Levein, speaking at Scotland's Mar Hall training base on the outskirts of Glasgow, joked about the less than complimentary reaction in the media to the new tinted glasses he was wearing in the technical area at the weekend, saying: 'More than anything else, what has really annoyed me in the last couple of days has been self-acclaimed experts – I mean what do they know about glasses'

However, the former Hearts and Dundee United boss was serious when flagging up the media negativity following Saturday's result.

'I have been a little bit annoyed at the hysterical reaction,' he said.

'We have played one game and we can go top of the group tomorrow night if things go our way.

'I was reasonably pleased with Saturday. What is important to me is that there is an overwhelming feeling of positivity about our national team.

Missed chance: Scotland striker Kenny Miller fluffed his lines against Serbia

Missed chance: Scotland striker Kenny Miller fluffed his lines against Serbia

'Going on to that pitch and having the whole stadium behind you, everyone in the press behind you and everyone is contributing towards us going to Brazil, I think that is really important.

'If the press, players and supporters are all working together to help us qualify then it is so much easier.'

Levein claimed that he had not yet settled on a team for Tuesday and hinted that he will resist the clamour to hand a start to Jordan Rhodes.

The Tartan Army were calling for the 22-year-old Blackburn forward to come on long before he eventually replaced Kenny Miller with around 10 minutes remaining.

Levein admitted that he could understand the frustration of the fans but appeared to dampen down any expectation that Rhodes, who earned his 8million move to Ewood Park after a 40-goal season for Huddersfield last season, will lead the line.

'Jordan Rhodes, in time, will be a fantastic striker for Scotland, he will be a hugely valuable player for us,' he said.

Close: Steven Naismith (right) had Scotland's best chance at Hampden

Close: Steven Naismith (right) had Scotland's best chance at Hampden

'But my job is to try to pick the best team for every situation and you have to understand, while Jordan scored a lot of goals in League One, he hasn't even really begun his career in the Championship in England.

'I have guys here who are Premiership players, who are experienced and have been involved in these types of occasions before.

'So I have to have some degree of calmness in this and not get caught up in everything.'

Levein assessed his three injury doubts and confirmed St Mirren keeper Samson had joined up with the squad.

He said: 'Charlie Adam has a wee problem, Matt Gilks picked up a problem in training yesterday and Allan McGregor has the same thing (groin complaint) but nowhere near as bad as he was. I am hopeful that all three will make it.'

Asked if the Besiktas keeper would require an injection to play, Levein said: 'I don't think so and I don't think it is something that we would do, that's more for his club to undertake.'

Birmingham 2 Blackpool 2 (agg 2-3)

Birmingham 2 Blackpool 2 (agg 2-3) Blues fall just short as Seasiders earn final spot



21:01 GMT, 9 May 2012

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.

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.

Off and running: Blackpool's Stephen Dobbie (left) celebrates scoring his side's opening goal

Off and running: Blackpool's Stephen Dobbie (left) celebrates scoring his side's opening goal


Birmingham: Doyle, Ramage, Davies, Ibanez, Murphy, Burke, Spector (N'Daw 45), Mutch, Townsend (Redmond 62), King, Zigic.

Subs not used: Butland, Elliott, Rooney.

Goals: Zigic 64, Davies 73.

Booked: Zigic, Redmond

Gilks, Eardley, Baptiste, Evatt, Crainey, Matt Phillips (Kevin Phillips
85), Ferguson, Angel, Ince (Southern 69), Dobbie (Dicko 76),

Subs not used: Halstead, Cathcart.

Goals: Dobbie 45, Matt Phillips 48.

Booked: Eardley, Taylor-Fletcher

Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

Att: 28,483

Blackpool will now meet the Hammers at Wembley on May 19, with the most lucrative match in world football guaranteeing the winners an immediate return to the Barclays Premier League.

Both Blackpool and Birmingham, and respective managers Ian Holloway and Chris Hughton, had performed superbly in reaching the play-offs having rebuilt their ranks following relegation from the top flight 12 months ago.

But additional credit must now go to Holloway for guiding his side to the showpiece final for the second time in three seasons, although his side will have to improve upon 4-0 and 4-1 defeats to West Ham during the regular league season.

Holloway unsurprisingly kept faith with an unchanged XI from the first leg while counterpart Hughton made three changes – Zigic, Andros Townsend and Jonathan Spector coming in.

And the initial stages set the tone for a blistering encounter, with Blues having two sights of goal well blocked before Tom Ince forced Colin Doyle to save low at the other end.

Ince, man of the match at Bloomfield Road five days ago, soon found himself clean through again on the right but, with David Murphy pulling at his shoulder, the tricky winger was denied by Doyle.

Double trouble: Matt Phillips celebrates after scoring Blackpool's second goal at Birmingham

Double trouble: Matt Phillips celebrates after scoring Blackpool's second goal at Birmingham

Chris Burke whistled an effort narrowly wide before Marlon King, who twice hit the woodwork in the first leg, made it an unwanted hat-trick when he side-footed Murphy's excellent delivery into the ground and on to the top of the crossbar.

The game continued at a frenetic pace on a slick surface, Zigic testing Matt Gilks.

But just when it appeared as though it would remain goalless going into half-time, Blackpool doubled their aggregate advantage.

Down: Marlon King and Nikola Zigic (left) stand dejected after conceding their first goal

Down: Marlon King and Nikola Zigic (left) stand dejected after conceding their first goal

Ince's corner was only half headed out by Davies, who managed to block Alex Baptiste's subsequent overhead but the ball broke for Dobbie and his low shot agonisingly squirmed under Doyle at his near post.

Within three second-half minutes, the tie appeared all but over.

Phillips timed his burst to perfection to run off the shoulder of Murphy and bring down Stephen Crainey's long ball, with a trickling neat finish beating Doyle and crossing the line off the far post.

Back in it: Nikola Zigic scored to reduce Birmingham's arrears

Back in it: Nikola Zigic scored to reduce Birmingham's arrears

But Zigic gave Birmingham hope in the 64th minute with a well-taken finish having been put through by Burke.

King wasted a great chance to level things on the night having directed substitute Nathan Redmond's cross straight at Gilks.

But Davies succeeded where King failed soon after, heading home Jordon Mutch's corner.

Level pegging: Curtis Davies scores the equaliser for Birmingham against Blackpool

Level pegging: Curtis Davies scores the equaliser for Birmingham against Blackpool

The centre-back wasted a similar chance in the 78th minute as City pressed for a goal to level the tie.

But, despite five minutes of injury time, it failed to arrive and Blackpool were left celebrating while Blues fans chanted 'there's only one Chris Hughton', with speculation linking their manager to the vacancy at West Brom.

Not enough: Davies celebrates his goal but Birmingham failed to score a winner

Not enough: Davies celebrates his goal but Birmingham failed to score a winner

Watford 0 Blackpool 2: Stephen Dobbie scores twice

Watford 0 Blackpool 2: Dobbie double keeps Seasiders in play-off hunt



16:27 GMT, 6 April 2012

Stephen Dobbie's double cemented Blackpool's place in the npower Championship play-off spots and halted Watford's recent surge up the table.

The striker took his tally to four goals in two starts since rejoining Blackpool on loan from Swansea with a fine individual strike and a penalty.

There seemed little danger when Dobbie picked up the ball midway through the first half but he opened the scoring with a superb, jinking run into the penalty area and a neat finish.

At the double: Blackpool's Stephen Dobbie celebrates one of his two goals

At the double: Blackpool's Stephen Dobbie celebrates one of his two goals


Watford: Kuszczak, Doyley, Taylor, Nosworthy, Dickinson, Eustace, Yeates, Murray, Hogg, Deeney, Iwelumo.

Subs: Loach, Bennett, Buaben, Garner, Assombalonga.

Blackpool: Gilks, Eardley, Evatt, Baptiste, Harris, Dobbie, Southern, Angel, Taylor-Fletcher, Matt Phillips, Ince.

Subs: Crainey, Ormerod, Sylvestre, Ferguson, LuaLua.

Goals: Dobbie 25, 70

Referee: James Linington

Attendance: 16,314

And in the second half Dobbie, who
scored twice in last week's 3-0 win over Southampton, sealed Blackpool's
victory from the spot after Thomas Ince was brought down by Tomasz

The defeat brought an end to
Watford's seven-match unbeaten run which had raised hopes of
gatecrashing the play-offs at Vicarage Road.

Blackpool came close to finding the net after just five minutes but were thwarted by Kuszczak.

Ince's shot deflected off Martin
Taylor but the on-loan Manchester United keeper got a hand to the ball
and then scrambled back to scoop it off the line.

Watford had their chances in the early stages as well, with Sean Murray volleying over and Chris Iwelumo heading wide.

But it was the visitors who went ahead after 25 minutes thanks to Dobbie's superb piece of skill.

The Scot collected the ball 30 yards
out and carved his way into the penalty area, tip-toeing his way past
the entire Watford defence before coolly stabbing the ball past

The Hornets attempted to hit back before half-time but Matt Gilks saved from Troy Deeney's header and John Eustace drove wide.

After the interval Watford winger
Mark Yeates attempted to replicate Dobbie's effort when he side-stepped a
couple of challenges in the Seasiders' penalty area but his run was
blocked by Ian Evatt.

Blackpool were forced to make a
change on the hour when Gary Taylor-Fletcher suffered an injury and had
to be replaced by Barry Ferguson.

Ince had a chance to double their
advantage when Neal Eardley crossed from the right but the midfielder
was way off target with his volley.

At the other end Eustace tried a cheeky lob with Gilks having wandered off his line but the ball drifted wide.

Instead, Blackpool grabbed the killer
second after 70 minutes when Matt Phillips played in Ince, who was
tripped as he tried to round Kuszczak.

Referee James Linington pointed to
the spot and Dobbie made no mistake to secure another win for Ian
Holloway's side as they chase a return to the Premier League.