West Ham's Ricardo Vaz Te celebrates scoring the Play-Off winner at Wembley.
By Alex Shaw - Saturday, 19 May, 2012
Late goal from Ricardo Vaz Te seals Premier League return for West Ham at Wembley.
Blackpool 1-2 West Ham United
Football League Championship
3pm, Saturday 19 May 2012
West Ham are back.
Ricardo Vaz Te’s late, late goal was enough to send Sam Allardyce’s men back to the promised land of the Premier League.
Vaz Te, a January transfer window signing from Barnsley, struck three minutes from time to shatter Blackpool’s hearts. The Tangerine dream is over.
Carlton Cole handed West Ham the lead in the first half before Thomas Ince equalised just after the break - but Vaz Te had the final say.
As both sides were relegated from the Premier League last season, this wasn’t quite the £90m shootout many claimed - ‘only’ £45m was on offer to the winner due to parachute payments - but in reality, this match is priceless to the victors.
Drama is guaranteed with so much at stake and it didn’t take long for the game to crackle into life, with Rob Green superbly denying Stephen Dobbie down low to divert his shot on to the post. Escape for West Ham.
They did once again a few minutes later when Matt Phillips burst through, only to fire a tame shot at Green as West Ham struggled to deal with tenacious Tangerine endeavour.
Phillips again then profited from a Guy Demel slip and his effort looked destined for the bottom corner before it swerved away.
It took 20 minutes for West Ham to breach Blackpool’s defence but when they did, Vaz Te’s effort sailed wide.
Gradually, though, West Ham began to exert the sort of authority that led them to an aggregate score of 8-1 against Blackpool in the league this season.
And when Matt Taylor clipped a ball to Cole, he showed great composure to fire past Matt Gilks.
But Blackpool are made of sterner stuff - like they showed in the final two years ago - and they were back in it through Ince’s crisp strike on 47 minutes.
Kevin Nolan then hit the bar and Dobbie screwed a shot to Green before Vaz Te fired into the roof of the net to send Hammers fans into delirium.
© The Football Association 2001-2013,
All Rights Reserved