BLACKPOOL have given themselves a chance of a second season in the Premier League after a nail-biting but thrilling victory at Bloomfield Road on Saturday.
And despite the huge pressure on their shoulders, with a sell-out crowd fired up and expectant, they delivered in style – beating Bolton on FA Cup final day by the same scoreline they had recorded at Wembley on that unforgettable day in 1953.
However, Wolves’ 3-1 win at Sunderland means Ian Holloway’s men will still have to get something a week tomorrow at Manchester United, who sealed their record 19th league championship with a 1-1 draw at Blackburn.
For now at least Pool have kept their season alive. The fact that they have taken it to the last weekend is a major achievement for a club pilloried by the critics before a ball had even been kicked.
The first half was a stunning feast of football, five goals and more action than you normally get in about five Premier League games.
It was what Seasiders fans have come to expect this season and why they seem to be everybody’s second-favourite team.
DJ Campbell scored twice and Jason Puncheon – on loan from League One Southampton – was also on target.
Kevin Davies and Matt Taylor struck for the visitors, and when the dangerous Daniel Sturridge levelled matters at 3-3 after half time the contest appeared as though it might be slipping from the Seasiders grasp.
But up stepped Captain Fantastic Charlie Adam with a sweetly struck goal on the hour mark to calm the nerves and guide Ian Holloway’s brave troops to victory.
Holloway made one change from the team which drew at Spurs, Jason Puncheon replacing Sergei Kornilenko in the three-pronged strikeforce.
Kevin Davies opened the scoring on six minutes, when Paul Robinson’s free-kick deflected off Alex Baptiste for the England striker to volley home.
Pool were level three minutes later, Campbell firing home his first from a Gary Taylor-Fletcher header.
Campbell was denied a second when he was first to Adam’s corner only to see to ball bounce down off the underside of the bar.
Taylor also set up Blackpool’s second, teeing up Puncheon to curl the ball home on 19 minutes.
Bolton were level again five minutes later with a firm Matt Taylor strike.
The Seasiders were back in front on the stroke of half-time, when Adam’s superb cross enabled Campbell to net his second with an outstretched leg.
The second half did not start well for a Pool side playing against the strong wind, but Adam made light of that the score a superb fourth goal after exchanging passes with Taylor-Fletcher.
In what most people expect to have been Adam’s final game for the Seasiders at Bloomfield Road, he certainly bowed out in style.