Football

Campbell fires Blackpool to Wembley

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Blackpool stand on the brink of a return to the top flight for the first time since 1971 after a DJ Campbell hat-trick helped sink Nottingham Forest 4-3 on the night and 6-4 on aggregate in a Coca-Cola Championship play-off semi-final that swung one way then the other at the City Ground.

Leading 2-1 from the first leg on Saturday, Blackpool fell behind on the night to Rob Earnshaw's early goal. Campbell equalised at the start of the second half before Earnshaw scored his second goal of the game to level up the tie on aggregate at 3-3.

Substitute Stephen Dobbie then made an immediate impact with his deflected shot wrong-footing Lee Camp and trickling into the net before two quickfire goals from Campbell sent Blackpool to the Wembley on May 22. Dele Adebola scored an injury time consolation for the hosts.

Seasiders hero Campbell will be ineligible for the showpiece if his parent club Leicester overcome Cardiff in the other semi-final.

Forest took the lead and levelled up the tie on aggregate in the seventh minute. Nottingham-born defender Alex Baptiste slipped trying to intercept Radoslaw Majewksi's reverse pass and Earnshaw fired a left-foot shot across Matt Gilks and into the far corner.

Earnshaw thought he had scored his and Forest's second goal of the night a minute into the second half. The diminutive striker lifted the ball over advancing goalkeeper Matt Gilks after being put through by Dexter Blackstock but the assistant referee, somewhat belatedly, raised his flag for offside.

Blackpool equalised and regained the advantage after 56 minutes. Gary Taylor-Fletcher's angled through ball released Campbell down the right side of the box and the striker deftly dinked the ball over the advancing Lee Camp.

Earnshaw blasted the ball into the roof of the net from eight yards after 66 minutes to level up the tie at 3-3, but Dobbie, a 69th-minute substitute, restored Blackpool's aggregate lead when his shot from the edge of the area went in off Wes Morgan after 72 minutes.

Gilks denied Blackstock with his feet before Earnshaw's goalbound follow-up was blocked inside the six-yard box by a Blackpool defender.

Dobbie played a one-two with Campbell and he finished calmly to put Blackpool in command with 13 minutes remaining. The stiker then completed his hat-trick soon afterwards after Camp could only push Dobbie's shot into his path. He still found time to strike the bar in the 90th minute before Adebola tapped home from close range to complete the scoring.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Leicester City
Dele Adebola
Gary Taylor-Fletcher
Football
Stephen Dobbie
Wes Morgan
Championship
Cardiff City
Lee Camp
Alex
Dexter Blackstock
Nottingham Forest
DJ Campbell
Blackpool
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