- English Npower Championship
- 4 May 2012, 7:45pm
- Bloomfield Road
- Attendance: 13,832
FULL-TIME: BLACKPOOL LEAD!But is one goal enough? Ian Holloway will feel his side should have scored more tonight but they go to St Andrew's on Wednesday with an own goal from Curtis Davies as something to defend. Thanks for joining Orange's live coverage of this Championship play-off semi-final first leg. Stick around for the full-match report.
90 mins: Just two minutes of time added on as King misses a brilliant chance to equalise. He clips the outside of the left post when he really should have found the back of the net.
86 mins: The hosts are running out of steam, time and ideas as Birmingham stay rigid. They will really fancy their chances in the second leg on Wednesday if it stays like this.
83 mins: Blackpool try to build attacking momentum but the ball squirms free and nearly breaks for King at the opposite end. Evatt remains alert to smack the ball out of harm's way.
80 mins: A big ten minutes now lay ahead for Birmingham as they desperately try to limit Blackpool who are trying to mount another slick attack.
77 mins: Kevin Phillips heads in with his first touch! His joy is soon short-lived though as he was quite rightly flagged for offside. Birmingham will breathe a huge sigh of relief if this stays 1-0.
76 mins: In comparison, Holloway is determined to turn this domination into more precious goals. Kevin Phillips and Dicko come on for Taylor-Fletcher and Dobbie.
74 mins: With Birmingham hanging on, Hughton quickly makes his first change of the night with Redmond making way for the more defence-minded Spector.
72 mins: Doyle is scrambling all over to keep Blackpool at bay! Ince has two glorious chances to get himself on the scoresheet properly this time but fails to do so!
69 mins: Ince's mazy run results in a free-kick on the edge of the "D". They score from a quickly-taken set-piece but the ref brings play back. Crainey then disappointingly brushes the wall with the re-take.
67 mins: Gilks seems to be in his own time zone this evening as the ball rolls under his foot when he went to control it. Thankfully for him, there is nobody in blue to pounce on the mistake.
64 mins: Ironic cheers as Burke's half-volley nestles deep into the Blackpool fans. It's just as well he didn't score as the prior corner came off a Birmingham player.
62 mins: Birmingham are on the ropes here! The defence let the ball bounce and that allows Ince to slide the ball in for Dobbie who wellies it way over with the goal at his mercy.
59 mins: Fantastic, fantastic defending from Ramage. The former Newcastle man makes a crucial last-ditch block from Taylor-Fletcher who looked nailed on to tap in from close range.
56 mins: Taylor-Fletcher gets the home crowd all excited as he dips a lovely ball through to the lively Phillps. There's just enough pace on the ball for it skid all the way through to Doyle.
54 mins: Redmond spins away from his marker and dribbles dangerously towards the Blackpool goal. He then plays an atrocious ball to his left which the leaders easily cut out.
51 mins: King's presence up front has ruffled a few Blackpool feathers this evening as Evatt barks at his keeper for coming out late to gather a ball intended for the Birmingham striker.
48 mins: Both sides are just feeling each other out again at the start of the second half. No changes made by either team at the break by the way.
45 mins:My prediction of Ince to score first and the game to finish 2-2 has been dealt a huge blow as Blackpool's opener goes down as an own goal. Birmingham restart the match whilst I continue to sulk.
HALF-TIME: Mark Halsey brings the first-half to an end at a now rocking Bloomfield Road. Thomas Ince, with his dad looking on in the crowd, has given Blackpool a vital lead at the break. Can they extend it in the second half? Stay tuned to find out!
45 mins: Two minutes of time added on with Birmingham looking eager to get level instantly.
44 MINS: BLACKPOOL LEAD! A fortuitous but deserved goal for the hosts! INCE has a go from just outside the area and it takes a big deflection off Davies to take it past the dumbstruck Doyle.
42 mins:Blackpool continue to play prettily but their good work is spoiled in the box. Ince runs into trouble after a poor first touch and Taylor-Fletcher fails to get on the end of Ferguson's intelligent pass.
40 mins: To be fair to Birmingham they do look dangerous when they do decide to go forward. Burke cuts the ball back to King, who loses his footing at the vital moment in the box and blazes over.
38 mins: Dobbie gets away from the man mountain that is N'Daw with a sneaky little nutmeg. He unselfishly lays off for Ferguson to strike but he pokes it over the bar.
36 mins:Taylor-Fletcher does well to flick the ball up in the air in the hope that Dobbie can get on the end of it. He's late making his run forward which allows Davies to come across and clear.
34 mins: The Blackpool fans find their voices as they sense that this game is falling a little flat. It is lacking the intensity of a play-off game so far.
31 mins: Dobbie wriggles into space before forcing Doyle into an awkward punch behind with a swerving shot 25 yards out. The resulting corner comes to naff all this time.
28 mins: No goalmouth incidents to speak of but Blackpool are firmly camped in the opposition half, patiently waiting for the perfect run through to be made.
25 mins: Ince whips in another corner with plenty of Ray Wilkins "Swazz". The visitors only half-clear to Martinez who flirts with the crossbar with a well-struck bicycle kick. Good effort.
22 mins: Blackpool are focusing their play heavily down the right flank and it seems to be working as they win a couple of quick-fire corners. Davies settles Birmingham nerves however with a towering clearance.
18 mins: One of Blackpool's attempts to construct a slick passing move falls to pieces as the ball is intercepted by N'Daw. He then tries his luck from just past the half-way line with a laughable effort.
15 mins: Burke looks dangerous with his first few touches as he skips past Crainey with ease. His cross is nodded down at the far post and into the path of Redmond who blazes over the bar.
12 mins: Doyle has been in a little discomfort with his shoulder since making that save from Evatt, but looked ok when saving a 25-yard effort from M Phillips.
Alan, Blackpool - "Up the pool 3-1 blackpool seaside barmy army seaside seaside barmy army"
10 mins: Blackpool win a free-kick 30 yards out from goal but it's smashed straight into the wall. The ball drops for Eardley to cross to Evatt who heads low to the keeper's right.
7 mins: Despite their shaky start, Birmingham win the first corner of the night where Redmond's shot is blocked and eventually cleared by the Seasiders.
Stuart, Worthing -"come on the pool keep the defence tight and play your normal attacking football"
5 mins: Ince scores for Blackpool! However, he was miles offside as the ball was played through. Judging by the host's start, it won't be long before the Blackpool fans will be celebrating for real.
3 mins: The hosts have started as brightly as their shirts with Ince already having a lot of freedom down the right side. Doyle yet to be tested though.
0 mins: Mark Halsey peeps on his whistle to get the second Championship semi-final play-off underway. Blackpool, in familiar orange, get us started against a Birmingham side decked all in blue.
Welcome to Orange's build-up to the second Championship play-off semi-final first leg between Blackpool and Birmingham.
Ian Holloway makes five changes to Blackpool side ahead of tonight's bigh clash. Barry Ferguson, Matt Phillips and Gary Taylor-Fletcher are the most notable returns.
Brum boss Chris Hughton makes three changes for the side that beat champions Reading 2-0 on the final day of the season.
Chris Burke, Jordan Mutch and Marlon King all come in for Andros Townsend, Morgaro Gomis and Nikola Zigic.
Orange commentator Mark Scott will be bringing you live updates from 1945 but in the meantime, you can send him your predictions via the box above.
- English Npower Championship
- 4 May 2012, 7:45pm
- Bloomfield Road
- Attendance: 13,832
Blackpool will take a narrow lead to St Andrew's after beating Birmingham 1-0 in their Championship play-off semi-final first leg on Friday.
The hosts broke the deadlock 44 minutes into an evenly-matched first half when Tom Ince's speculative low drive took a significant deflection off Blues captain Curtis Davies.
Nathan Redmond and Marlon King might have put Birmingham ahead before that, but Chris Hughton's side were forced onto the back foot in the second half, with former Liverpool youngster Ince to the fore.
Stephen Dobbie should have doubled the advantage following a sublime piece of skill from the 20-year-old winger before the Bloomfield Road faithful had hearts in mouths when King clipped the outside of the post in stoppage time.
Birmingham head into Wednesday's second leg at St Andrew's - their 62nd game of a season punctuated by runs in the Europa League and FA Cup - needing to bounce back from a first defeat in 10 outings, while Blackpool are now unbeaten in eight.
Ian Holloway reverted to the same Blackpool XI that beat Burnley 4-0 to secure a top-six berth a fortnight ago, with former Blues midfielder Barry Ferguson restored as captain in one of five changes.
Striker King came into the match on the back of scoring in both league games against Blackpool and the 18-goal forward returned as Hughton made four alterations to the side that beat champions Reading last weekend.
Gary Taylor-Fletcher prodded home from an offside position for the hosts, while Davies headed off target at the other end in a frenetic opening.
There was an early injury scare for Hughton when goalkeeper Colin Doyle hurt his shoulder colliding with the post as he collected Ian Evatt's header.
In the 13th minute, King fired an ambitious overhead kick past the post and moments later Redmond thrashed beyond the bar after Chris Burke found joy down the Blackpool left.
Evatt glanced wide as Blues full-back David Murphy botched a routine clearance from a corner, but by the time Seasiders midfielder Angel Martinez saw a spectacular volley dip over in the 25th minute the game's earlier intensity had quelled.
King might have done better when his shot from Burke's cutback clipped the top of the bar at the end of a clinical 40th-minute counter attack.
It was a miss he lived to regret a minute before the interval when Ince's 25-yard effort deflected off Davies and squirmed home past a wrong-footed Doyle.
Following a cagey start to the second period, Blackpool emerged as the stronger side and Blues full-back Peter Ramage produced a last-ditch block to deny Taylor-Fletcher from Matt Phillips' low cross.
In the 63rd minute, Ince collected full-back Neal Eardley's hopeful ball forward to dazzle the Birmingham defence with some languid twists and turns which deserved better than Dobbie's wasteful shot over from his subsequent pass.
Ince had established himself as the game's outstanding player and, having earned his side a free-kick in a dangerous position moments earlier, he danced in from the left and forced Doyle out to claw the ball from his toes.
Holloway introduced Nouha Dicko and and Kevin Phillips in a straight swap for forwards Dobbie and Taylor-Fletcher and the latter thought he had made an instant impact against his former club, only to be flagged offside after heading home a right-wing cross from namesake Matt.
King was agonisingly close to levelling the tie in the first minute of stoppage time, stretching to steer Wade Elliott's knockdown against the woodwork.