Premier League: Manchester United 4 Blackpool 2

Blackpool suffered relegation heartbreak on the final day of the season as Manchester United were presented with a record 19th title.The Tangerines almost pulled off the impossible when they went 2-1 up at Old Trafford, but three second-half goals from the hosts condemned Ian Holloway’s side to a 4-2 loss and a return to the Championship.

For United it was a stern test ahead of their Champions League final against Barcelona and was the perfect way to end the season.

Both sides had chances early in the game. Adam’s low cross picked out Blackpool team-mate Keith Southern but he dragged his shot wide.

At the other end, Rafael hit a dipping half volley from 20 yards out which stung the palms of keeper Matthew Gilks.

But just when Blackpool thought they were containing the champions, United were ahead in the 21st minute when Dimitar Berbatov flicked the ball onto Park Ji-Sung running into the box and he duly put it past Gilks.

Berbatov could have increased the lead for the hosts after picking the ball up in the area and shooting at close range, but this time Gilks managed to stick a leg out to make the block.

And the Tangerines stunned Old Trafford when they equalised after 40 minutes through talisman Charlie Adam.

Nemanja Vidic fouled Gary Taylor-Fletcher, and from on the edge of the area the Blackpool skipper brilliantly curled the ball over the wall and past Edwin Van der Sar.

Straight after the break Adam almost put Blackpool ahead with another free-kick, but this time Edwin Van der Sar – playing in his last game at Old Trafford – was able to palm his rasping shot over the bar.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher offered up a lifeline when he converted a well-placed cross by Michael Vaughan with a flick into the back of the net in the 57th minute.

But United proved they were not about to go soft on the Seasiders when Anderson replied five minutes later after a neat combination with Park and a shot from 12 yards out.

Blackpool were dealt a crushing blow in the 74th minute when Chris Smalling sent a swinging cross in from the right towards Michael Owen, but defender Ian Evatt stuck a foot out and sent the ball into the back of his own net.

Owen sealed the victory after Anderson threaded a pass through Blackpool’s defence and the striker placed it past Gilks.

 


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