An own goal by Curtis Davies earned Blackpool a narrow first-leg lead over Birmingham in an absorbing Championship play-off semi final at Bloomfield Road.
Davies watched in horror as Tom Ince's long-range attempt cannoned off him and flew into the net past Colin Doyle.
The impressive Stephen Dobbie spurned a fine chance to double the lead as Blackpool dominated the second half.
Marlon King grazed the post for Blues, who otherwise offered little and will be relieved to trail by only one goal.
Yet for all their impressive attacking play, Blackpool still have much work to do in next Wednesday's second leg if they are to book a Wembley date.
The tie is still in the balance and Birmingham will be confident of turning the tie on its head in the return at St Andrew's.
It could have been an even better night for the Tangerines when, on 76 minutes, the evergreen Kevin Phillips sent the raucous home crowd - not to mention boss Ian Holloway - wild within moments of stepping off the bench.
Did you know?
Blackpool are on an amazing run of 10 successive play-off wins - a run that started on 13 May 2001 with a 2-0 victory over Hartlepool in the basement division at Bloomfield Road.
In trademark fashion, the former Blues striker stole a march on his marker to head home Matt Phillips's fine right-wing cross. But as he wheeled away in celebration the linesman's flag went up.
Despite the look of anguish on Holloway's face, replays proved the assistant referee's decision to have been the right one.
Both teams are looking to make a quickfire return to the Premier League after being relegated together on the final day of last season with 39 points - a tally that would have all but guaranteed top-flight safety this term.
Blackpool finished one point and one place behind Birmingham in the Championship table, and there was little to choose between them in a thrilling first half.
Visiting keeper Doyle caused his manager Chris Hughton a few worries early on when he hurt his right shoulder colliding with a post while keeping out Ian Evatt's powerful header.
He continued after treatment but the Irishman appeared in some discomfort for the duration of the game, none more so when Dobbie's 33rd minute effort from distance struck him in the chest.
And Doyle's shoulder problem appeared to restrict his movement when Blackpool broke the deadlock in the 44th minute. Former Liverpool player Tom Ince's 22-yard attempt took a cruel deflection off Davies's foot before creeping through the keeper's legs and into the net.
It was tough on Birmingham, who were showing few signs of fatigue, despite it being the 61st match of their campaign.
King was unfortunate with a 14th minute overhead kick while Nathan Redmond lost his composure when he found himself within sight of goal a minute later, and former Coventry striker King went close from 16 yards five minutes before the break.
But for the finishing, it was easy to see why these two sides had managed 157 Championship goals between them this season.
Blackpool threatened to double their advantage when Barry Ferguson went close against his former club while the tireless Dobbie spurned a glorious chance when firing wide from close range in the 63rd minute after clever work by Ince.
The visitors created little after the interval although King went agonisingly close in the dying moments when he clipped the left-hand post after finding himself with time and space inside the Blackpool penalty area.
- 01 Gilks
- 03 Crainey
- 05 Eardley
- 06 Evatt
- 15 Baptiste
- 16 Ferguson
- 23 M Phillips
- 31 Angel
- 07 Dobbie (K Phillips - 75' )
- 12 Taylor-Fletcher (Dicko - 75' )
- 36 Ince
- 21 Halstead
- 33 Harris
- 04 Southern
- 09 K Phillips
- 32 Dicko
- 13 Doyle
- 03 Murphy
- 05 Pablo
- 06 Ramage
- 24 Davies
- 07 Burke
- 08 N'daw
- 12 Mutch
- 15 Elliott
- 22 Redmond (Spector - 74' )
- 09 King
- 26 Butland
- 23 Spector
- 11 Townsend
- 17 Rooney
- 19 Zigic
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.90:00 +0:19
Close range shot by Marlon King hits the post.88:18
The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Ian Evatt.81:28
The offside flag is raised against Marlon King. Free kick taken by Matthew Gilks.79:42
Kevin Phillips is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Colin Doyle takes the free kick.78:15
The official flags Thomas Ince offside. Colin Doyle restarts play with the free kick.77:06
Kevin Phillips gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Curtis Davies. Colin Doyle restarts play with the free kick.76:24
The offside flag is raised against Kevin Phillips. Colin Doyle takes the indirect free kick.75:36
The assistant referee flags for offside against Chris Burke. Ian Evatt takes the indirect free kick.74:27
Colin Doyle takes the free kick.74:27 Substitution
Substitution Kevin Phillips replaces Stephen Dobbie.74:27 Substitution
Substitution (Blackpool) makes a substitution, with Nouha Dicko coming on for Gary Taylor-Fletcher.74:27
Free kick awarded for a foul by Thomas Ince on Jordon Mutch.73:49
Alex Baptiste takes a shot. Save by Colin Doyle.73:19
The referee blows for offside. Matthew Gilks takes the indirect free kick.73:04 Substitution
Substitution Jonathan Spector is brought on as a substitute for Nathan Redmond.72:22
Thomas Ince takes a shot. Blocked by Curtis Davies.71:18
Neal Eardley produces a cross, Gary Taylor-Fletcher takes a shot. Save by Colin Doyle.68:44
Guirane N'Daw challenges Thomas Ince unfairly and gives away a free kick. Stephen Crainey shoots direct from the free kick.68:03
Neal Eardley crosses the ball, Pablo Ibanez manages to make a clearance.
Unfair challenge on Alex Baptiste by Nathan Redmond results in a free kick. Stephen Crainey restarts play with the free kick.64:34
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Wade Elliott from the left by-line, Alex Baptiste manages to make a clearance. Shot by Chris Burke from outside the area goes high over the crossbar.64:20
The ball is sent over by David Murphy, Wade Elliott takes a shot. Blocked by Alex Baptiste.63:42
Wade Elliott delivers the ball.62:14
Stephen Dobbie produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that clears the bar.61:10
The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Matthew Gilks.59:21
Effort on goal by Gary Taylor-Fletcher from 18 yards. Save by Colin Doyle.58:46
The ball is crossed by Matt Phillips, Gary Taylor-Fletcher takes a shot. Peter Ramage gets a block in.58:28
Centre by Barry Ferguson, clearance made by David Murphy.57:17
Free kick awarded for a foul by Guirane N'Daw on Martinez Angel. Direct free kick taken by Barry Ferguson.54:03
Shot by Matt Phillips from a long way out goes over the target.51:19
The ball is swung over by Matt Phillips, clearance made by Curtis Davies.46:15
Centre by Chris Burke, save by Matthew Gilks.45:43
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jordon Mutch by Barry Ferguson. Free kick taken by Peter Ramage.45:01
The second half kicks off.45:00 +2:11 Half time
Half Time The referee blows for half time.45:00 +1:06
Martinez Angel concedes a free kick for a foul on Wade Elliott. Free kick taken by Colin Doyle.45:00 +0:35
The ball is crossed by Chris Burke, Stephen Crainey makes a clearance.45:00 +0:12
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Wade Elliott, clearance by Alex Baptiste.44:26
Assist on the goal came from Thomas Ince.44:26 Goal scored
Goal! - Curtis Davies - Blackpool 1 - 0 Birmingham An own goal is conceded by Curtis Davies. Blackpool 1-0 Birmingham.43:41
Thomas Ince takes a shot. Curtis Davies gets a block in.39:28
Shot on goal by Marlon King from just inside the area clears the crossbar.38:57
The ball is crossed by Matt Phillips, Pablo Ibanez manages to make a clearance.37:53
Barry Ferguson produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the goal.37:25
The ball is swung over by Matt Phillips, Pablo Ibanez makes a clearance.33:16
Unfair challenge on Chris Burke by Barry Ferguson results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Peter Ramage.31:52
Thomas Ince takes a corner.31:41
Stephen Dobbie takes a shot. Save by Colin Doyle.28:44
Foul by Marlon King on Alex Baptiste, free kick awarded. Matthew Gilks takes the free kick.24:32
Effort from deep inside the area by Martinez Angel clears the bar.24:14
Corner from the right by-line taken by Thomas Ince, clearance by Curtis Davies.24:09
The ball is swung over by Neal Eardley, David Murphy gets a block in.23:05
Corner taken by Matt Phillips from the left by-line, Peter Ramage makes a clearance.22:37
Inswinging corner taken by Thomas Ince from the right by-line, clearance made by Curtis Davies.21:52
The assistant referee signals for offside against Marlon King. Ian Evatt restarts play with the free kick.19:29
Matt Phillips produces a right-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses wide left of the target.19:06
Alex Baptiste sends in a cross, Pablo Ibanez manages to make a clearance.18:13
Guirane N'Daw takes a shot from long range which goes wide right of the target.17:22
Chris Burke takes a shot. Save by Matthew Gilks.16:59
Centre by Stephen Dobbie, Ian Evatt has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.16:29
Short corner taken by Matt Phillips from the left by-line.16:22
The ball is swung over by Stephen Dobbie, Curtis Davies gets a block in.14:55
Chris Burke produces a cross, Shot on goal by Nathan Redmond from just inside the area goes over the target.13:49
Shot by Marlon King from deep inside the penalty area misses wide to the left of the target.13:40
A cross is delivered by David Murphy, clearance by Ian Evatt.13:03
Matt Phillips takes a shot. Save by Colin Doyle.12:31
The offside flag is raised against Marlon King. Stephen Crainey takes the free kick.9:23
A cross is delivered by Neal Eardley, Ian Evatt takes a shot. Save made by Colin Doyle.8:25
Unfair challenge on Matt Phillips by Jordon Mutch results in a free kick. Strike comes in from Stephen Dobbie from the free kick.7:39
Neal Eardley delivers the ball, clearance by Pablo Ibanez.6:27
The ball is delivered by Chris Burke.5:45
Outswinging corner taken by Wade Elliott from the right by-line, Nathan Redmond takes a shot. Blocked by Stephen Crainey.5:29
The ball is delivered by Chris Burke, Stephen Crainey gets a block in.4:22
The referee blows for offside against Thomas Ince. Free kick taken by Colin Doyle.3:52
Stephen Dobbie takes a shot. Curtis Davies gets a block in.1:45
Barry Ferguson fouled by Guirane N'Daw, the ref awards a free kick. Alex Baptiste restarts play with the free kick.0:14
The official flags Stephen Dobbie offside. Colin Doyle takes the indirect free kick.0:00
The game gets underway.
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