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Premier League

  • 22 May 2011
  • • 16:00
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: M. Dean
  • • Attendance: 75400
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Manchester United 4-2 Blackpool: Holloway's men relegated despite leading at Old Trafford before second-half collapse

Manchester United 4-2 Blackpool: Holloway's men relegated despite leading at Old Trafford before second-half collapse

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Ian Holloway's men slip out of the top flight despite scoring twice against the champions who come back to win and end the season with an unbeaten home record

A 4-2 win by Manchester United saw Blackpool relegated on a frenetic final day of the Premier League. Ian Holloway's men had looked safe at one point, even leading the champions 2-1 at Old Trafford, but three second half goals were enough for the hosts to cruise to victory and send the Seasiders back to the Championship.

Goals from Ji-sung Park, Anderson, an own goal from Charlie Evatt and a Michael Owen strike late on sealed Blackpool’s fate, after a Charlie Adam free-kick and Gary Taylor-Fletcher goal had given Blackpool the lead.

Much was made before the match of what line-up Sir Alex Ferguson would pick for the final game of the season with the Champions League final looming, but he took no mercy in naming a near-full strength team.

The match got off to almost a perfect start for Blackpool, who stole possession before the ball was spread wide to Charlie Adam, who got to the by-line before cutting the ball back to Keith Southern 12 yards out, only for the midfielder to place the shot well wide.

That was within the first 30 seconds, and Manchester United almost made them pay two minutes later as right-back Rafael Da Silva chested down a looping ball on the edge of the box before hitting a venomous volley which was well stopped by Matt Gilks.

The Tangerines were certainly set in their ways of playing attacking, expansive football, hitting United again on the counter in the sixth minute. This time Adam drove in a shot/cross that would surely have gone in had Gary Taylor-Fletcher got a touch on the ball.

The match was going at 100-miles-per-minute in the opening stages, this time the league’s joint-leading scorer Dimitar Berbatov coming close to opening the scoring.

He exquisitely controlled a lofted pass from Darren Fletcher before turning his marker, but the ball got caught under his feet, before he placed a shot that Gilks dealt with well again.

A well-worked free-kick in the 19th minute almost led to an opportunity for Blackpool, but Berbatov was on hand at the back-post to clear, before playing a pivotal role at the other end of the pitch two minutes later.

A long-ball was well-controlled by the Bulgarian on his chest, before he played a through pass looking for the on-rushing Ji-sung Park. The South Korean wasn’t favourite to get to the ball, but Charlie Evatt somehow managed to lose out despite getting himself between his opponent and the ball.

The ball was heading to Gilks, but the United midfielder got there first to clip the ball over the ‘keeper and perhaps consign Blackpool to relegation.

Nearly 10 minutes later and Adam was literally trying to do it all himself, taking a pot shot at goal from just inside the United half that was never in danger of finding the net.

Blackpool were then lucky to avoid giving away a penalty, as Charlie Adam brought down Park in the area without getting any touch on the ball.

Sir Alex Ferguson had described his free-kicks and corners as “worth £10 million alone”, and in the 40th minute, Adam showed his true class, equalising from a free-kick.

Nemanja Vidic, who received the Premier League Player of the Season award before the match brought down Taylor-Fletcher on the edge of the box, and Adam swept his effort low and into the right corner, in off the post.

Edwin van der Sar could perhaps be disappointed with his effort, as he was wrong-footed, believing Adam would curl an effort over the wall.

It was the first time an opposition player had scored a goal in the first half at Old Trafford since Joe Cole for Chelsea over a year ago and it looked to be a vital one at the break. It could not have been tighter in the relegation zone, with the Seasiders sitting in 17th place by the virtue of one solitary goal.

Three minutes into the second half Adam was almost at it again. Vidic again brought a player down on the edge of the box, this time DJ Campbell, but Adam’s effort was a stinging drive straight at Van der Sar, who tipped the ball over.

And in the 56th minute, the unthinkable happened. Blackpool took the lead at Old Trafford, against the champions.

David Vaughan picked up the loose ball in midfield before making a charge at goal, evading a tackle from Anderson before finding Jason Puncheon wide on the right. The winger fed Vaughan on the overlap, and his cross was clipped in off the post by Taylor-Fletcher.

The goal was met with raucous celebrations from the players, and chants of “We are staying up!” from the fans. Those chants were silenced six minutes later, as Anderson curled a wonderful finish past Gilks after good work from Park on the left.

And United almost took the lead two minutes later, but for a magnificent save from Gilks, flying across the goal to get his hand in the way of a Berbatov header. Scholes then hit a rocket of a shot that was blocked tremendously by Evatt.

It was extremely tense as the minutes ticked away, and with 17 minutes left on the clock, substitute Chris Smalling’s cross was turned into his own net by Charlie Evatt.

It was a sickening moment for the defender who has played in every match this season for Blackpool, but it had been coming for United.

Evatt almost made up for it five minutes later, stealing space in the box to poke a finish at goal, only for Van der Sar to foil him after rushing out to narrow the angle.

But in the 81st minute, Blackpool were effectively relegated as Anderson sent through substitute Michael Owen, who timed his run to perfection to beat the offside trap before slotting past Gilks.

The striker had said on his Twitter account previously that he felt he had “one more big goal” to score this season, but this wasn’t quite as important as he may have wanted, with United already on course for victory.

In the 88th minute Blackpool almost got a goal back but Brett Ormerod, fresh from the bench slotted his finish just wide of Van der Sar’s post.

In the 92nd minute, Berbatov had his best chance of the match to seal the Golden Boot Award, but smashed his shot over with only Gilks to beat.

Ultimately it did not make a difference, as Blackpool didn’t have enough time to respond, and despite thrilling many neutrals throughout the season they were were consigned to defeat, and a swift return to the Championship.

The match got off to almost a perfect start for Blackpool, stealing possession before the ball was spread wide to Charlie Adam, who got to the by-line before cutting the ball back to Keith Southern 12 yards out, only for the midfielder to place the shot well wide.

That was within the first 30 seconds, and Manchester United almost made them pay two minutes later as right-back Rafael da Silva chested down a looping ball on the edge of the box before hitting a venomous volley which was well stopped by Matt Gilks.

The Tangerines were certainly set in their ways of playing attacking, expansive football, hitting United again on the counter in the sixth minute. This time Adam drove in a shot/cross that would surely have gone in had Gary Taylor-Fletcher got a touch on the ball.

The match was going at 100-miles-per-minute in the opening stages, this time the league’s joint-leading scorer Dimitar Berbatov coming close to opening the scoring.

He exquisitely controlled a lofted pass from Darren Fletcher before turning his marker, but the ball got caught under his feet, before he placed a shot that Gilks dealt with well again.

A well-worked free-kick in the 19th minute almost led to an opportunity for Blackpool, but Berbatov was on hand at the back-post to clear, before playing a pivotal role at the other end of the pitch two minutes later.

A long-ball was well-controlled by the Bulgarian on his chest, before he played a through pass looking for the on-rushing Ji-Sung Park. The South Korean wasn’t favourite to get to the ball, but Charlie Evatt somehow managed to lose out despite getting himself between his opponent and the ball.

The ball was heading to Gilks, but the United midfielder got there first to clip the ball over the ‘keeper and perhaps consign Blackpool to relegation.

Nearly 10 minutes later and Adam was literally trying to do it all himself, taking a pot shot at goal from just inside the United half that was never in danger of finding the net.

Blackpool were then lucky to avoid giving away a penalty, as Charlie Adam brought down Park in the area without getting any touch on the ball.

Sir Alex Ferguson had described his free-kicks and corners were “worth £10 million alone”, and in the 40th minute, Adam showed his true class, equalising from a free-kick.

Nemanja Vidic, who received the Barclays Premier League Player of the Season award before the match brought down Taylor-Fletcher on the edge of the box, and Adam swept his effort low and into the right corner, in off the post.

Edwin van der Sar could perhaps be disappointed with his effort, as he was wrong-footed, believing Adam would curl an effort over the wall.

It was the first time an opposition player had scored a goal in the first half at Old Trafford since Joe Cole for Chelsea over a year ago and it looked to be a vital one at the break. It could not have been tighter in the relegation zone, with the Seasiders sitting in 17th place by the virtue of one solitary goal.

 

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