23 May 2011

Blackpool and Birmingham knocked out of Premier League

6:02 am on 23 May 2011

Blackpool and Birmingham were relegated from the English football Premier League as Wigan and Wolves scrambled to safety in a thrilling finale to the season.

Blackpool's fairytale debut season in the top-flight came to an end at Old Trafford where they were beaten 4-2 by champions Manchester United while Birmingham were sent down after losing 2-1 at Tottenham.

The epicentre of the drama came at Molineux, where Wolves looked to be heading for humiliation against Blackburn after Jason Roberts, Socceroos midfielder Brett Emerton and Junior Hoilett put Rovers 3-nil up at half-time.

But Mick McCarthy's men were thrown a lifeline when Jamie O'Hara scored on 73 minutes to make it 3-1 before Stephen Hunt pulled another goal back for Wolves three minutes from time.

The 3-2 loss enough to keep Wolves in the top flight after Birmingham's loss.

Wigan, who had started the day second from bottom, meanwhile completed their Houdini act when a Hugo Rodallega goal on 78 minutes gave them a priceless 1-0 win over Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.

In other results on Monday, Manchester City made sure of automatic qualification to the Champions League after goals from Joleon Lescott and Edin Dzeko handed them a 2-0 win at Bolton.

But a dismal season for Arsenal finished with a 2-2 draw at Fulham, which left the Gunners in fourth place and means Arsene Wenger's men must go through qualifying to reach next season's Champions League group stage.

Elsewhere, Chelsea finished runners-up to United despite suffering a 1-0 defeat at Everton who scored through Jermaine Beckford.

Liverpool's season ended with a 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa which saw them finish in sixth place while West Bromwich Albion fought back from 3-0 down to secure a 3-3 draw at Newcastle.

Already-relegated West Ham were routed 3-0 at home by Sunderland.