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?
Voices
A daily miscellany of general election facts, figures, trivia and traditions
voicesThere's still time for someone to do something to make us care
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, goes back to his family's Sicilian roots in the first 'Godfather' film
film
News
news
News
Kim Kardashian speaks on the Today show about her step-father's transition
PEOPLE
Sport
Wenger and Mourinho square-up to each other earlier this season
sportAll the action from today's Premier League, including Everton vs Man Utd and Chelsea vs Arsenal
News
Tepper had a stunningly successful career as a songwriter
people
Arts and Entertainment
Len Blavatnik
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions