Play-off heartache as Phillips rues missed chances

Blackpool's Matt Phillips
Blackpool's Matt Phillips

MATT Phillips was left to rue missing two golden chances as he suffered Championship Play-off final heartache at Wembley on Saturday.

In a game worth £90million to the winning team, Phillips twice got in behind the West Ham defence in the early stages only to skew his first and drill his second shot wide.

The star winger, who was one of the best players on show, then had to watch as the Hammers – for whom his fellow Aylesbury footballer Sam Baldock did not make the matchday squad – took the lead through Carlton Cole.

Phillips did have an impact in a Blackpool equaliser minutes into the second half, though, hitting a superb long ball to winger Thomas Ince to slot home.

The game ebbed and flowed with both sides having chances but it was the Irons’ greater finishing power that sealed it when Ricardo Vaz Te drove home an 88th minute winner.

There was no shame in defeat for Phillips or Blackpool, though, having finished a huge 11 points behind the Hammers in the league and losing 4-0 and 4-1 to them during the season.

It now remains to be seen if the Seasiders can hang on to their prize asset given widespread interest in the former Wycombe forward, particularly from the likes of Everton.

On the flip side the Hammers’ promotion is great news for two other footballers from the town.

Baldock, who still has family in Aylesbury, and West Ham’s most promising youngster Rob Hall, who is expected to be let off the leash as a Premier League player next season, are now both playing their trade in the top flight.