Vaz Te breaks Seasiders' hearts
Ricardo Vaz Te's late strike fired West Ham back to the Barclays Premier League after a dramatic 2-1 play-off final win over Blackpool at Wembley.
The Portuguese winger, a bargain £500,000 January signing from Barnsley, earned the Hammers an estimated £90million windfall with the goal which sank Blackpool. Boss Sam Allardyce vowed to take the club back to what he calls the Promised Land at the first attempt following last season's relegation, and he was as good as his word as his side saw off Ian Holloway's play-off specialists. Carlton Cole had given the Hammers the lead in the first half, but Thomas Ince showed he has inherited his dad Paul's uncanny knack of irritating West Ham's fans when he equalised just after the break. However, after an end-to-end second half it was Blackpool, who were unbeaten in their previous 11 play-off matches, who cracked as Vaz Te rifled in the winner four minutes from time in the most dramatic of fashion. Kevin Nolan crossed from the left and Cole's attempt was blocked by Gilks, but the ball fell kindly for Vaz Te, who crashed it over the grounded Gilks and into the roof of the net.