Holloway: Blackpool had backs to wall
Blackpool coach Ian Holloway said he felt helpless late in his side's 3-2 aggregate Championship play-off semi-final win over Birmingham.
The win secured a spot in the final at Wembley against West Ham, and a chance to return to the prestigious Premier League.
After a 1-0 first-leg win at home, Holloway's men went 2-0 up at a wet St Andrews (3-0 on aggregate) through goals to Stephen Dobie and Matt Phillips either side of the break.
Yet Birmingham cut the deficit through goals from Nikola Zigic (64th minute) and Curtis Davies (73rd minute), creating a bit of panic from Holloway.
"It looked like we had done our job and were going to see it through - and what a comeback. It was quite amazing," Holloway said.
"I couldn't get any sense; I couldn't get any message out there. I tried a couple of substitutions and that still didn't stop the flow.
"If they had scored a third one I couldn't see us living with it. It was immense. I've never seen a game twist like that so quickly.
"I'm lost for words - the first time in my life I think."
Holloway credited the resolve of his squad, after it was depleted in the off-season.
"This club doesn't lie down. We keep going and try (to) do it in a decent way," he said.
"If you asked me last summer when I lost all those players, I would have said this was a dead duck, but it certainly isn't."
However, Blackpool have their work cut out for them, and will have to be at their best to overcome a West Ham side that beat them 4-0 and 4-1 respectively during the regular season, as they attempt to return to the top-flight at the first time of asking.
Birmingham boss Chris Hughton was shattered by the defeat.
"It's been a really tough day for us. We came into tonight's game with a real chance and I've walked away from a devastated changing room," Hughton said.
He paid tribute to his players' efforts over the marathon 62-game season, which saw his outfit take part in the Europa League following their Carling Cup final appearance last season.
"The fact they scored just before half-time and just afterwards, there's a trail of thought that that's it, the tie's over," he said.
"I'm just so pleased we were able to make a real fight of it towards the end.
"Over the two legs they were the better team, but we showed what we showed all season and that's a lot of character."