Luton 3-3 Blackpool: Match Report

By
18 May 2017

Battling Blackpool book ticket to Wembley at Luton's expense

A last-gasp own goal from Luton goalkeeper Stuart Moore enabled Blackpool to seal their spot in the Sky Bet League Two play-off final after an enthralling encounter at Kenilworth Road.

Both sides had spells where they looked to have done enough to set up a Wembley date with Exeter on May 28 but Moore's own goal from a last-minute corner secured the visitors a 3-3 draw on the night, with the Seasiders progressing 6-5 on aggregate.

Nathan Delfouneso opened the scoring to seemingly set Blackpool on their way, only for the hosts to rally. A Kelvin Mellor own goal levelled on the night, with Scott Cuthbert heading the hosts in front before Danny Hylton won a highly-contentious penalty.

On a day when the Football Association announced it would hit players with retrospective bans for simulation from next season, Hylton went down very easily before converting the spot-kick.

Blackpool were not done though, and pulled level in the tie through Armand Gnanduillet's brave header before Cuthbert deflected a corner onto Moore and into the goal to send the away fans into raptures.

For both teams, the halcyon days of top-flight football are a mere memory, although Blackpool were there only six years ago before their descent back through the leagues.

Everything seemed to be going in Blackpool's favour when former England Under-21 international Delfouneso opened the scoring.

His strike partner, Mark Cullen, joined Blackpool from Luton in 2015 and came back to haunt the Hatters with a first-leg hat-trick.

And it would be Cullen who led the breakaway for Blackpool's opening goal.

Hylton's misplaced pass was collected by Cullen, who burst clear of the defence before squaring for Delfouneso to tuck away an easy chance.

Luton were level nine minutes before the break as a goalmouth scramble resulted in Alan Sheehan's shot deflecting in off the unwitting Mellor.

That lifted the home side and they almost led as both Cuthbert and Dan Potts failed to make telling contact to an in-swinging free-kick.

The second goal came on the stroke of the interval, Cuthbert this time making sure he got enough on a Sheehan free-kick, glancing a header home past Blackpool goalkeeper Sam Slocombe.

Luton continued where they had left off at the start of the second half and Hylton should have scored after Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu's low cross picked him out in front of goal.

Ruddock himself turned a decent effort well over the bar before Hylton went down in the box under pressure from Ian Black.

Any contact appeared minimal but referee Darren Deadman pointed to the spot and Hylton dusted himself off to coolly score the penalty for his 27th goal of the campaign.

But the drama was nowhere near finished there.

Blackpool would level the tie courtesy of Gnanduillet, with the substitute beating the onrushing Luton goalkeeper Moore to the ball and heading home from the edge of the box.

Moore would suffer further heartbreak as he got the final touch to a Blackpool corner, with Gary Bowyer's side securing their place at Wembley as a result.


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