Championship - Blackpool reach Premier League

Eurosport - Sat, 22 May 16:54:00 2010

Blackpool reached the Premier League with a 3-2 victory over Cardiff in an action-packed Championship play-off final at Wembley.

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All five goals came in the first-half with Charlie Adam cancelling out Michael Chopra's early strike and then Blackpool quickly levelling again as Gary Taylor-Fletcher responded to Joe Ledley's goal.

It was veteran striker Brett Ormerod who scored what turned out to be the decisive goal in first-half injury time as the Tangerines returned to the top-flight of English football for the first time in 39 years.

Ormerod scored against Leyton Orient in the Third Division play-off final in 2001 in his first spell at the club, which underlines the remarkable rise of Ian Holloway's side who started the season among the relegation favourites.

It had taken just nine minutes for Cardiff to break the deadlock after a perfectly timed run from Chopra who dispatched Peter Whittingham's pass into the far corner past the diving Matthew Gilks.

But within four minutes Blackpool were level after Stephen McPhail was penalised for a handball and Tangerines top scorer Adam curled a superb 25-yard free-kick into the top corner, leaving David Marshall with no chance.

Cardiff regained the lead on 37 minutes when Ledley laid off to Whittingham and continued his run into the penalty area. Gilks came off his line and made the angle easy for Ledley to fire home.

But their lead again only lasted four minutes. Moments after Taylor-Fletcher hit the post with a strike from 20 yards, the Bluebirds failed to deal with a corner and although Ian Evatt's hook was cleared off the line by the thigh of Mark Kennedy it popped up to Taylor-Fletcher who headed home from close range.

And the Tangerines took the lead in first-half injury time as DJ Campbell wriggled into the penalty area and although he slipped when he attempted to shoot, the ball fell nicely to veteran Ormerod who found the net.

Darcy Blake poked home a free-kick at the back post in first-half injury time but it was correctly ruled out for offside and despite the pitch side thermometer reading over 106 degrees, the action continued apace in the second-half.

Cardiff dominated possession and Chopra, who hit the crossbar from close range after just three minutes, again hit the woodwork with his 20-yard drive having beaten Gilks.

Ledley beat Gilks at the near post but his flicked header from Whittingham's corner drifted just past the far post and Kelvin Etuhu - an early substitute for Jay Bothroyd - stung the palms of the Blackpool keeper who tipped the shot around the post for a corner.

Gilks then made a complete hash of a floated cross under pressure from Chopra and was relieved to see the ball drift past the far post.

Cardiff continued to throw men forward in the sweltering conditions but a surging run from Blake only ended with a shot straight at Gilks.

Four minutes of added time gave the Bluebirds a glimmer but Ledley's injury-time header was straight into the hands of Gilks and the Seasiders ensured they would be playing in the Premier League next season just nine years after making it out of the Football League's bottom tier.

Lee Walker / Eurosport

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