Blackpool buried by United
Holloway's men demoted after thrilling 4-2 loss at Old Trafford
Last Updated: 22/05/11 6:31pm
Adam made it 1-1 with a fine free-kick
Blackpool have been relegated from the Premier League after losing 4-2 at Manchester United.
It will come as no surprise that the Seasiders departed the top flight in roller-coaster fashion as Ian Holloway's side attacked the champions on Sunday.
However, their fearless stance ultimately proved their undoing as, despite leading 2-1 at one stage, Blackpool suffered a defeat that sent them back to the Championship.
So much happened before kick-off that the explosion of action immediately after the first whistle was merely maintaining the frenzy.
Blackpool afforded United the acclaim of walking out through a guard of honour, Sir Alex Ferguson and Nemanja Vidic collected Premier League manager and player of the year prizes and Edwin van der Sar was presented with a special prize ahead of his impending retirement and thoughts turned to whether Paul Scholes was following too.
The Premier League trophy was prepared for collection at the end and Ferguson had allayed any worries about Blackpool facing a weakened team by naming 10 internationals, including Golden Boot contender Dimitar Berbatov.
After taking all that in, a capacity crowd could have done with a rest.
They didn't get it.
Holloway had pledged to attack but even he could not have imagined Blackpool would have their first clear sight of the home goal after less than 30 seconds.
After surging past Jonny Evans to reach the by-line, Charlie Adam pulled a superb low cross back to Keith Southern, who had a clear sight of Van der Sar's goal.
Unfortunately, the magnitude of the opportunity got the better of him and he side-footed wide.
Within minutes, Matthew Gilks was denying Rafael at the other end, then repelling Berbatov. In between, Gary Taylor-Fletcher just failed to turn home an Adam cross.
The optimism Blackpool had brought with them remained until Berbatov slipped a pass through to Park midway through the half and the South Korean clipped home a clinical first-time effort.
Gilks denied Berbatov a second, then referee Mike Dean denied United a clear penalty when Adam bundled Park over.
On such small margins do big things turn.
Had United gone two in front at that point, Blackpool would surely have been buried.
Instead, Vidic's foul on Taylor-Fletcher allowed Adam to step up and stroke a superb shot past Van der Sar, the Scot wheeling away in celebration after it flashed in off the post.
Holloway gave his interval team-talk with his side out of the drop zone by the slimmest of margins.
Events elsewhere were starting to shape their future, but Adam so nearly gave them a massive push towards safety with a ferocious free-kick straight after the break, which Van der Sar shoved away with a firm one-handed save.
But the second did come, again the ball entering United's net via a post as Taylor-Fletcher met David Vaughan's low cross with a deft flick that left Van der Sar helpless.
In a Tangerine dream world, it would have been job done. Life for the Seasiders has not been like that all season though.
Anderson played a pass out wide to Park and was then on hand to belt home from 12 yards to get the visitors sweating once more.
And if Gilks had not brilliantly turned away a Berbatov header after Patrice Evra had crossed, Blackpool would have been deep in the mire once more.
They clung to the life raft for another 10 minutes before Ian Evatt's catastrophic own goal.
Almost immediately, Evatt found himself beyond the United defence, only for Van der Sar to deny the defender with a very brave save which, given he only has the Champions League final left in his entire career, he could have been forgiven for not making.It proved to be Blackpool's last chance as Michael Owen strode onto Anderson's through ball to brutally kick them back into the Championship.
|Manchester United||Team Statistics||Blackpool|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|7||Shots on Target||4|
|9||Shots off Target||6|
Barclays Premier League
Sun 22nd May
Bolton0 - 2Man City
Stoke0 - 1Wigan
Man Utd4 - 2Blackpool
West Ham0 - 3S'land
Newcastle3 - 3W Brom
A Villa1 - 0Liverpool
Fulham2 - 2Arsenal
Everton1 - 0Chelsea
Tottenham2 - 1Birm'ham
Wolves2 - 3Blackburn
Barclays Premier League
|4||West Ham United||16||28|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||16||17|
|18||Queens Park Rangers||16||14|