West Ham win promotion to the Premier League
West Ham United have been promoted to the Premier League after beating Blackpool 2-1 in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.
Carlton Cole gave Sam Allardyce’s side a half-time lead but the Tangerines responded within minutes of the restart, with former Liverpool youngster Thomas Ince claiming the equaliser.
Both sides had chances to take the lead during the second half, Hammers captain Kevin Nolan coming closest with a thunderous volley which struck the bar, before the London club finally made the breakthrough.
With just three minutes remaining, Ricardo Vaz Te capitalised on a rebound to convert the goal which sees West Ham gain promotion at the first time of asking and join Reading and Southampton as the three teams to enter the top flight next season.
Blackpool, who suffered relegation from the Premier League in 2010/11 despite winning plaudits for their attractive style of football, will remain in the Championship, which will welcome demoted Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers and Wolverhampton Wanderers for the new campaign.
"Blackpool were every bit as good as us but we just swung it in our favour. It's 49 games this season and it's the first time we've won a game in the last few minutes," Allardyce said.
"I'm just delighted to be back in the Premier League. It means everything to me because I had been in the Premier League for ten years or so. It was difficult at the start to turn this club around but we have come good at the end."
Blackpool manager Ian Holloway added: "Sometimes in life it goes against you but you have to congratulate your opponents. I thought my lot gave a great account of themselves, we created more than enough chances to win the game. We've got to get on and bounce straight back."