Blackpool courage marvels Bowyer as Tangerines book Wembley spot

18 May 2017

Blackpool boss Gary Bowyer praised the courage of his players after they secured their place in the Sky Bet League Two play-off final with a last-gasp goal at Luton.

The semi-final tie looked set for extra-time with Luton leading 3-2 to cancel out the Tangerines' victory by the same scoreline at the weekend.

But, in the last minute of stoppage time, Stuart Moore scored an unwitting own goal after Jordan Cook's attempted clearance rebounded back off the Luton goalkeeper and into the net.

That sealed a 3-3 draw for Blackpool and a 6-5 aggregate win after Armand Gnanduillet's brave header had brought Bowyer's side level in the tie.

Everything seemed to be going Blackpool's way when Nathan Delfouneso opened the scoring but a Kelvin Mellor own goal and a header from Luton skipper Scott Cuthbert levelled the tie.

Danny Hylton won a highly-contentious penalty after the break on a day when the Football Association announced it would hit players with retrospective bans for simulation from next season.

The striker went down very easily before converting the spot-kick, with Blackpool then providing the heroics to send their long-suffering supporters home happy.

"We gifted them two goals," said Bowyer.

"But the courage these boys had to come back was brilliant. We knew if we could get to 3-2 they'd be nervy as all teams are - but it was amazing the bravery they had to play still.

"It's what you play football for, and you have to realise what these supporters have been through the last few years.

"We were 14th on 14 February and have gone on the run, we've come here to the favourites in the play-offs and won."

Luton have never been promoted through the play-offs but appeared set for a Wembley date with Exeter on May 28 before the game turned in the second half.

After conceding to Delfouneso, the Hatters had it all to do but rallied to get themselves into a winning position.

Instead they were left with heartbreak as virtually the last kick of the tie saw them eliminated, with manager Nathan Jones admitting his team let Blackpool back in when they should have closed the game out.

"I'm a bit shaken," he said.

"We showed we are a good side but also that we are a naive side at times. We dominated and were excellent the way we played

"I'm really proud of my team. We were in total control of the game and two little incidents cost us the game. Up until 75 minutes we were in total control.

"To go 3-1 up I couldn't see them getting anything, then one long ball, little error gets their tails up and probably cost us the game."

Source: PA

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