Blues and Blackpool drop on day of ups, downs and drama

Wolves, Wigan and Blackburn survive on nerve-shredding final Premier League afternoon

Blackpool and Birmingham City were relegated from the Premier League at the end of a dramatic final day of the season. Wigan Athletic, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers all stayed up, although Wigan and Wolves both looked to be going down deep into the second half of yesterday afternoon's matches. But losses for Blackpool and Birmingham, at Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur respectively, sent them down.

The tumultuous nature of the day was underlined by the fact that at half-time, it was Wigan and Wolves that were set to go down with Blackpool and Birmingham staying in the top flight. This was soon changed by Roman Pavlyuchenko's goal at White Hart Lane but when Gary Taylor-Fletcher put Blackpool 2-1 up at Old Trafford, Blackpool were safe by two points.

United came back, though, to win 4-2, and from Ian Evatt's own goal Blackpool spent the rest of the afternoon in the relegation zone. Birmingham moved safe after Craig Gardner's equaliser, and Wigan joined them when Hugo Rodallega scored. But Stephen Hunt's goal for Wolves, with three minutes left, lifted them back up the table, and Birmingham accompanied Blackpool into the Championship.

Blackpool started the day with the hardest task, having to play the champions at Old Trafford. They took the lead, though, during the second half, and were safe for much of the second half before they were overwhelmed by United and lost 4-2. Park Ji-sung chipped the hosts ahead but the Blackpool captain, Charlie Adam, curled in a free-kick just before the break.

Blackpool were heading for safety, and their position was buttressed 12 minutes into the second half when Gary Taylor-Fletcher flicked the ball past Edwin van der Sar. The lead was brief, though, and Anderson soon equalised. Ian Evatt's own goal put United ahead, and dropped Blackpool into the relegation zone, before Michael Owen scored.

The Blackpool manager, Ian Holloway, said a failure to take chances was behind his team's relegation in their first Premier League season. "This is a special group down here and we're very disappointed right now," he said. "After taking the lead, we had started to believe we can do this. You saw the way we played, the chances we created, we've got to take those."

While Blackpool are financially prepared for relegation, Birmingham will face heavy consequences. They were safe for nine second-half minutes after Craig Gardner equalised at Tottenham. But a goal at Wolves moved

Birmingham back into the relegation zone, and Roman Pavlyuchenko's second goal, in stoppage time, gave Spurs a 2-1 victory.

Both relegated teams may well compete in the Europa League next season, despite playing in the Championship. Birmingham qualified in February having won the Carling Cup but Blackpool could well beat Fulham to England's Fair Play place in the competition. The winner will be announced later this week, after taking into account a range of criteria.

The Birmingham manager, Alex McLeish, said he was "obviously pretty gutted" to be relegated. "When we got the equaliser I thought things would go for us – but lady luck has avoided us today," he said. "I've been knocked down today and I'm going to rise to it."

The day's big winners were Wigan Athletic, who were in the relegation zone before the fixtures kicked off but survived thanks to a 1-0 win at Stoke City. They won their final two games, their first back-to-back league wins for two years. Wigan had been set to go down for most of the day but Evatt's own goal at Old Trafford moved them into safety, and Hugo Rodallega's strike lifted them back above the line one minute after Gardner's goal at Tottenham had moved them back down.

Manager Roberto Martinez was delighted with his players. "I'm extremely, extremely proud. I think it has been the hardest Premier League season to stay up – it is an amazing, amazing achievement."

The final relevant game was at Molineux, where Blackburn Rovers went 3-0 up in the first half. Mick McCarthy's Wolves side were set to go down but goals from Jamie O'Hara and Stephen Hunt made the score 3-2 before other results kept them in the top flight.



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral