Npower Championship Play-Off Semi-Final 1st leg 
Blackpool 1-0 Birmingham City

By Alex Byrom
Deputy Football Editor from Bloomfield Road

Curtis Davies's own goal gifted Blackpool the advantage in the Play-Offs as they take a 1-0 lead to St Andrew's after the first leg last night. 

Blackpool came into the match having kept five clean sheets in their last seven games; meanwhile, Birmingham had scored the most away goals in the division & are unbeaten in last nine Championship matches of season including a 2-0 victory over Reading last weekend and won 3-0 against Blackpool at St Andrews on New Year’s Eve, and there was a 2-2 draw at St Andrews earlier in the season.

Blackpool started the brightest and Ince saw a goal ruled out for offside – just 7 minutes in. Stephen Dobbie, on loan from Swansea, was picking up balls in dangerous areas – dangerous as he has five goals in his last five games since being bought on loan in March.

As the home side continued to rally, a fantastic Curtis Davies header was cleared to safety by Baptiste – who has spent most of season at right-back – but was now back in his familiar central defensive position.  It was the only first half chance for the blues with top assist maker Chris Burke proving to be a constant threat down the left.


Birmingham City did the double over Blackpool when they were both in the Premier League last season.Marlon King – who scored in both matches against Blackpool this season – and Birmingham’s top scorer hit a shot from 18 yards wide. It wasn’t the best.

Due to the tactics of the home side, King looked an isolated figure upfront and received very poor service.

Ian Holloway got very animated on touch line as a couple of throw-in decisions went against his team and the pitch was a bit bobbly which wasn’t helping either side.

Then, out of nothing, Matt Phillips found a shot and Doyle pushed it away although it bounced off the sticky turf, while Ian Evatt headed narrowly wide from Angel Martinez's corner on 16 mins as nobody dealt with a cross.

Despite the poor quality on show, it was an entertaining game with both sides going full-throttle, and the packed crowd were bouncing and chanting.

On 32 minutes, Dobbie picked up the ball on edge of the box, but his shot swerved away from goal.

Just afterwards, his shot caught Doyle by surprise: N'Daw didn’t close him down quick enough and it came off the keeper's chest – not the most convincing piece of goalkeeping.

The owness was on home side to get the crucial first goal. Blackpool were playing the better football, and former Blues midfielder Barry Ferguson, with a right foot shot from the edge of box was sent rising narrowly over the bar after Dobbie's cute lay-off.

Just as though is seemed it would be a goalless first period, the Tangerines struck first right on the stroke of half time: Ince with low shot that was diverted past Doyle by Blues skipper Curtis Davies for an own goal; Blackpool just about deserved it.


Blackpool have won their last ten Play-Off matches dating back to 13 May 2001, when they were in League Two.

Birmingham had to come out and attack to find a goal, and could have had one straight away, but no-one could get on the end of Burke’s free kick.

As the quality didn’t improve (both sides firing way off target) the crowd became restless.

On 64 minutes, David Murphy found a cross from the left and it fell to Wade Elliot at the back post but Baptiste just managed to get across and make the block.

Blackpool should have doubled their lead on 71 minutes when Taylor-Fletcher managed to hit it straight at Doyle from 7 yards out from Eardley’s cross.

The Northern Ireland keeper then saved from Baptiste – who was having a fantastic game.

As the game petered out, Blackpool were hanging on to what they had, and were nearly punished in stoppage time. The ball – in the area – fell to Marlon King, but his low shot came back off the post, and the Tangerines survived. 

Friday 4th May 2012

Npower Championship Play-Off Semi-Final 1st leg

Bloomfield Road


Blackpool 1-0 Birmingham City                                   KO 7:45pm            (HT 1-0)

Davies 45 (og)


Blackpool:  01. Gilks- 7/10, 05. Eardley- 6.5/10, 15. Baptiste- 8/10, 06. Evatt- 7.5/10, 03. Crainey- 6.5/10, 23. M. Phillips- 7/10, 16. Ferguson (C)- 6/10, 31. Angel- 7/10, 12. Taylor-Fletcher- 6.5/10 (Dicko 75- 2.5/10), 07. Dobbie- 7.5/10 (K. Phillips 75- 3/10), 36. Ince- 8.5/10.

Subs not used:  21. Halstead, 33. Harris, 04. Southern.

Booked:      None


Birmingham City:  13. Doyle- 8/10, 05. Pablo- 6.5/10 (Faubert 75- 3/10), 06. Ramage- 6.5/10, 24. Davies (C)- 7/10, 03. Murphy- 6/10, 07. Burke- 7/10, 08. N'Daw- 5.5/10, 12. Mutch- 6/10, 15. Elliot- 6.5/10, 22. Redmond- 7/10 (Spector 75- 2.5/10), 09. King- 6.5/10.

Subs not used:  26. Butland, 11. Townsend, 17. Rooney, 19. Zigic.

Booked:      None


My Man of the Match:     Thomass Ince (Blackpool)- Rating 8.5/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:     Guirane N'Daw (Birmingham City)- Rating 5.5/10 



Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)- 8/10
Attendance: 13,832

Match Facts

Possession:   Blackpool- 53%                  Birmingham City- 47%

Shots: Blackpool- 18                  Birmingham City- 9

Shots on target: Blackpool- 11                  Birmingham City- 3

Shots off target: Blackpool- 7                  Birmingham City- 6

Corners: Blackpool- 5                  Birmingham City- 3

Fouls: Blackpool- 5                  Birmingham City- 6

Offside: Blackpool- 6                  Birmingham City- 5

Assists: Blackpool- Ince                  Birmingham City- None

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