Blackpool survived a late Birmingham rally to reach the Championship play-off final against West Ham.
The Tangerines led 1-0 from the first leg and Stephen Dobbie squeezed in a shot to extend their lead.
Matt Phillips epitomised the quality of Blackpool's play when he took down a ball and fired in on the turn.
Although Nikola Zigic slotted in and Curtis Davies headed home for Birmingham to set up an enthralling finale, Blackpool hung on.
In the heat of a vociferous atmosphere at a rain-lashed St Andrew's, the attacking intent from both teams served up the type of compelling contest that makes the play-offs so captivating.
Blackpool were cruising towards victory as Birmingham appeared to be feeling the toll of their 62nd game of the season.
The Blues somehow raised themselves to give Blackpool a major scare, but the Tangerines prevailed to keep alive their hopes of bouncing back into the Premier League at the first attempt when they meet West Ham at Wembley on 19 May.
Did you know?
- Blackpool's draw ended a run of 10 successive wins in play-off games.
- Blackpool lost 4-0 and 4-1 to West Ham in the league this season
Birmingham boss Chris Hughton took Newcastle up as Championship title winners in 2009-10 and opposite number Ian Holloway raised eyebrows when he steered unfashionable Blackpool into the top flight via the play-offs in the same season.
Holloway emerged victorious this time around after a tie in which the pattern of end-to-end play was set early on.
Thomas Ince's deflected shot gave Blackpool a first-leg lead and the winger's pace and trickery helped him terrorise the Blues defence on Wednesday.
The former Liverpool player had a decent shout for an early penalty when he was given a tug by left-back David Murphy as he prepared to shoot with a clear sight of goal.
Birmingham responded through King, who steered a Murphy cross on to the crossbar.
Amongst the fervour, Blackpool produced the more composed passing and threatening attacks, while Birmingham's anxiety to level the tie on aggregate was working against them as they hurried too much of their play.
Blackpool were finally rewarded for their efforts when Dobbie squeezed in at the far post, although Blues keeper Colin Doyle may feel he should have done better.
Phillips' expertly taken goal shortly after half-time gave Blackpool a three-goal cushion before Birmingham mounted a stirring comeback.
Chris Burke slid in a pass to which Zigic applied the finish and Davies nodded in from a corner, but Blackpool held on during a thrilling finale.
- 13 Doyle
- 03 Murphy
- 05 Pablo
- 06 Ramage
- 23 Spector (N'daw - 44' )
- 24 Davies
- 07 Burke
- 11 Townsend (Redmond - 62' Booked )
- 12 Mutch
- 09 King
- 19 Zigic Booked
- 26 Butland
- 08 N'daw
- 15 Elliott
- 22 Redmond
- 17 Rooney
- 01 Gilks
- 03 Crainey
- 05 Eardley Booked
- 06 Evatt
- 15 Baptiste
- 16 Ferguson
- 23 M Phillips (K Phillips - 85' )
- 31 Angel
- 07 Dobbie (Dicko - 76' )
- 12 Taylor-Fletcher Booked
- 36 Ince (Southern - 69' )
- 21 Halstead
- 20 Cathcart
- 04 Southern
- 09 K Phillips
- 32 Dicko
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.90:00 +4:19
Nathan Redmond produces a cross, Header on goal by Guirane N'Daw from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.90:00 +2:59
The referee blows for offside against Nikola Zigic. Indirect free kick taken by Matthew Gilks.90:00 +2:03
Centre by Barry Ferguson, Header by Nouha Dicko from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the target.90:00 +2:03 Booking
Booking Nathan Redmond goes into the book.90:00 +1:27
Nathan Redmond challenges Barry Ferguson unfairly and gives away a free kick.90:00 +0:28
The assistant referee flags for offside against Guirane N'Daw. Matthew Gilks takes the indirect free kick.89:33
Foul by Nouha Dicko on Colin Doyle, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Colin Doyle.88:55 Booking
Booking Gary Taylor-Fletcher goes into the book.85:23
Nouha Dicko is caught offside. Colin Doyle takes the indirect free kick.84:00
Matthew Gilks restarts play with the free kick.84:00 Substitution
Substitution (Blackpool) makes a substitution, with Kevin Phillips coming on for Matt Phillips.84:00
The referee blows for offside against Marlon King.82:36
The ball is crossed by Chris Burke, blocked by Matt Phillips.81:04
Corner taken by Matt Phillips, clearance by Nikola Zigic.80:03
Centre by Chris Burke, Ian Evatt manages to make a clearance.77:27
Nathan Redmond takes a shot. Blocked by Alex Baptiste. Jordon Mutch takes the outswinging corner, Curtis Davies has a header from close range and clears the crossbar.75:39 Substitution
Substitution Stephen Dobbie leaves the field to be replaced by Nouha Dicko.74:45
Guirane N'Daw delivers the ball.74:36
Peter Ramage crosses the ball, Neal Eardley makes a clearance.
Jordon Mutch provided the assist for the goal.72:24 Goal scored
Goal! - Curtis Davies - Birmingham 2 - 2 Blackpool Curtis Davies scores a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Birmingham 2 (2)-(3) 2 Blackpool.72:02
Jordon Mutch takes the outswinging corner,70:59
Effort on goal by Marlon King from outside the box goes harmlessly over the bar.69:46
Marlon King takes a shot. Matthew Gilks makes a save.69:27
Peter Ramage takes a short corner. The ball is sent over by Jordon Mutch.69:11
Centre by Peter Ramage, Barry Ferguson makes a clearance.68:13 Substitution
Substitution Keith Southern replaces Thomas Ince.68:13
Effort on goal by Matt Phillips from 35 yards cleared the goal.66:42
Peter Ramage sends in a cross.66:34
Chris Burke sends in a cross, clearance by Neal Eardley.65:33
Foul by Thomas Ince on Guirane N'Daw, free kick awarded. Colin Doyle takes the free kick.63:11
Assist by Chris Burke.63:11 Goal scored
Goal! - Nikola Zigic - Birmingham 1 - 2 Blackpool Nikola Zigic gets on the score sheet with a goal from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Birmingham 1 (1)-(3) 2 Blackpool.62:19
Barry Ferguson produces a cross.61:15
Indirect free kick taken by Matthew Gilks.61:15 Substitution
Substitution Nathan Redmond comes on in place of Andros Townsend.61:15
The assistant referee signals for offside against Nikola Zigic.60:33
Andros Townsend fouled by Barry Ferguson, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Colin Doyle.59:06
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Jordon Mutch from the left by-line.58:00
Nikola Zigic challenges Alex Baptiste unfairly and gives away a free kick. Matthew Gilks restarts play with the free kick.56:35
Marlon King has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the target.56:03
Matt Phillips fouled by Nikola Zigic, the ref awards a free kick. Ian Evatt takes the direct free kick.52:51
Inswinging corner taken by Jordon Mutch from the left by-line, Shot from deep inside the area by Nikola Zigic goes over the bar.51:12
Marlon King produces a cross, comfortable save by Matthew Gilks.50:27
Andros Townsend delivers the ball.49:49
Gary Taylor-Fletcher is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Colin Doyle takes the free kick.49:33
Stephen Dobbie takes a shot. Blocked by Curtis Davies.47:07
Stephen Crainey provided the assist for the goal.47:07 Goal scored
Goal! - Matt Phillips - Birmingham 0 - 2 Blackpool Matt Phillips finds the net with a goal from inside the six-yard box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Birmingham 0 (0)-(3) 2 Blackpool.45:23
The referee blows for offside. Matthew Gilks restarts play with the free kick.45:01
The match restarts for the second half.45:00 +2:19 Half time
Half Time The referee calls an end to the first half.45:00 +0:44
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Barry Ferguson by Peter Ramage. Ian Evatt takes the free kick.44:25 Goal scored
Goal! - Stephen Dobbie - Birmingham 0 - 1 Blackpool Stephen Dobbie grabs a goal from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Birmingham 0 (0)-(2) 1 Blackpool.43:16
Inswinging corner taken by Thomas Ince from the right by-line, clearance made by Curtis Davies.43:16 Substitution
Substitution Guirane N'Daw on for Jonathan Spector.43:16
Centre by Matt Phillips, Peter Ramage manages to make a clearance.40:56
Marlon King is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Matthew Gilks.38:51
The assistant referee signals for offside against Marlon King. Indirect free kick taken by Alex Baptiste.37:57
Unfair challenge on Gary Taylor-Fletcher by Nikola Zigic results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Matthew Gilks.36:42
Free kick crossed right-footed by Jordon Mutch, clearance by Gary Taylor-Fletcher.36:42 Booking
Booking Booking for Neal Eardley for unsporting behaviour.36:25
Unfair challenge on David Murphy by Neal Eardley results in a free kick.34:38
Stephen Crainey has a shot on goal from outside the box which misses right.34:09
Thomas Ince takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Curtis Davies.33:48
The ball is crossed by Peter Ramage, Matthew Gilks makes a comfortable save.32:06
Andros Townsend crosses the ball, Nikola Zigic takes a shot. Comfortable save by Matthew Gilks.31:16
David Murphy sends in a cross, Barry Ferguson manages to make a clearance.29:52
Effort from 25 yards by Gary Taylor-Fletcher. Pablo Ibanez gets a block in. Andros Townsend fouled by Matt Phillips, the ref awards a free kick. Pablo Ibanez restarts play with the free kick.29:39
The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Matthew Gilks.28:37
Matthew Gilks takes the direct free kick.28:37 Booking
Booking Caution for Nikola Zigic.28:16
Free kick awarded for a foul by Nikola Zigic on Stephen Crainey.27:10
Jordon Mutch crosses the ball.26:34
Jordon Mutch takes a inswinging corner to the near post, clearance by Stephen Crainey.24:24
Gary Taylor-Fletcher takes a shot. Colin Doyle makes a comfortable save.23:36
Nikola Zigic is ruled offside. Alex Baptiste restarts play with the free kick.22:35
Thomas Ince crosses the ball, Curtis Davies makes a clearance.21:21
The ball is swung over by Chris Burke, Matthew Gilks makes a comfortable save.21:01
The ball is sent over by Peter Ramage, clearance made by Alex Baptiste.20:36
Unfair challenge on Chris Burke by Ian Evatt results in a free kick. Peter Ramage restarts play with the free kick.19:50
Free kick awarded for a foul by David Murphy on Gary Taylor-Fletcher. Free kick crossed by Thomas Ince, clearance made by Curtis Davies.18:51
Nikola Zigic concedes a free kick for a foul on Ian Evatt. Matthew Gilks takes the direct free kick.18:27
Stephen Dobbie handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Colin Doyle.17:12
Nikola Zigic challenges Matthew Gilks unfairly and gives away a free kick. Matthew Gilks takes the free kick.16:09
Gary Taylor-Fletcher crosses the ball, save made by Colin Doyle.15:47
Centre by Neal Eardley, Peter Ramage manages to make a clearance.12:38
The ball is swung over by David Murphy, Marlon King takes a shot.10:54
Shot from just outside the area by Chris Burke misses to the left of the target.10:35
Short corner taken by Andros Townsend from the right by-line.9:37
Inswinging corner taken by Andros Townsend, clearance by Alex Baptiste.6:40
Thomas Ince takes a shot. Colin Doyle makes a save. Corner taken left-footed by Thomas Ince, Peter Ramage makes a clearance.5:44
David Murphy sends in a cross, clearance made by Stephen Crainey.5:14
Gary Taylor-Fletcher is ruled offside. Colin Doyle takes the indirect free kick.4:29
Thomas Ince takes a shot. Comfortable save by Colin Doyle.3:49
The ball is crossed by Marlon King, clearance by Alex Baptiste.3:09
The referee blows for offside against Marlon King. Indirect free kick taken by Matthew Gilks.2:47
Jordon Mutch takes a shot. Alex Baptiste gets a block in.1:54
The ball is delivered by Stephen Crainey.0:54
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Chris Burke by Stephen Dobbie. Colin Doyle takes the free kick.0:11
Chris Burke takes a shot. Blocked by Ian Evatt.0:00
The ref blows the whistle to start the match.
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