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Match Reports

Report: Luton 3 Blackpool 3 (5-6 On Agg)

19 May 2017

Pool Are Going To Wembley

Blackpool are going to Wembley! In the 95th minute of their 48th league game of the season The Seasiders sealed their place at Wembley in the most dramatic of circumstances. 

Facing elimination for much of the second-half, Pool showed they have character in abundance, coming from behind to seal a date with Exeter City at the national stadium.

Kelvin Mellor’s header won it for Blackpool, and although the ricochets meant it was given as a Stuart Moore own goal, few in blue at Kenilworth Road cared.

Leading 3-2 from the first leg, Pool extended their lead when Nathan Delfouneso swept home early on, but three Luton goals turned the game on its head.

Armand Gnanduillet came off the bench to level matters on aggregate, but they weren’t finished there and Mellor’s header sparked scenes of jubilation from players and staff alike.

It was a fiery atmosphere fitting for a fiery start at Kenilworth Road, as meaty challenges outweighed chances in the opening stages.

In fact, it took 19 minutes for the first shot on goal to arrive, and even then, Sheehan’s free-kick, given for a foul by Neil Danns, was deflected well wide. 

That was just the taster however, and the opening goal arrived moments later for The Seasiders. Brilliant breakaway play by Mark Cullen saw the striker running clear down the right, his cross was met confidently with a side-footed effort by Delfouneso, which flew into the bottom corner. 

It was just the goal Pool were looking for and Cullen, who was brimming with confidence on his old stomping group, flicked a header into Moore’s hands soon after.

The striker was being jeered with every move but he, along with Delfouneso, fashioned the next opening for Jack Payne, who shot over off balance from range. 

However, the hosts were back on terms on the night soon after. A wide free-kick wasn’t dealt with and Sheehan was able to force the own goal from Mellor. 

And within no time the hosts were ahead, as Cuthbert flicked home Sheehan’s free-kick, meaning the two sides went in for the break level on aggregate. 

Half-Time: Luton 2 Blackpool 1

At the break Jack Payne was forced off through injury, meaning Ian Black took his place.

The hosts continued where they’d left off at the end of the first-half and Danny Hylton should have converted when firing wide from close range.

The striker then set up Pelly Ruddock, who got his angles wrong and fired wide on his right foot. 

They did get their goal soon after however, as Will Aimson brought down Hylton in the area and the striker dusted himself down to clip his penalty in off the underside of the bar. 

Delfouneso was forced off next through injury, with Gnanduillet coming on and Bright Osayi-Samuel followed soon after, with Andy Taylor making way.

And after a series of corners came to nothing, Blackpool pulled themselves back level in the tie. Cullen’s brilliant clipped cross was met by Gnanduillet, who beat Moore to the ball and watched his header drop in.

From there it was all Blackpool and Brad Potts, Osayi-Samuel and Gnanduillet all had chances to steal the headlines, but that honour was left to Mellor.

Blackpool’s season came down to the 95th minute of the play-off semi-final second leg. Black’s brilliant cross was met by Mellor and the full-back’s header took a number of ricochets and went in off Moore. 

That goal sparked absolute scenes, as the Blackpool players went crazy, and within seconds the final whistle went, meaning the celebrates could celebrates with the brilliant away following.

Blackpool are going to Wembley!

Full-Time: Luton 3 Blackpool 3 (5-6 on aggregate) 

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