Luton 3-3 Blackpool (agg 5-6): Tangerines into League Two play-off final after thriller
By Michael Hincks
Last Updated: 19/05/17 6:17am
Blackpool reached the League Two play-off final in dramatic circumstances as a last-minute own goal helped them edge past Luton 6-5 on aggregate following a 3-3 draw at Kenilworth Road.
Luton lead 3-1 on the night and 6-4 on aggregate going into the 75th minute, but Armand Gnanduillet pulled one back to seemingly send the tie into extra-time.
However, Kelvin Mellor rose highest in the 95th minute to meet a corner before Ian Black's attempted clearance came off the back of his own goalkeeper Stuart Moore and into the net.
It came after a controversial penalty decision, which featured a blatant dive from Danny Hylton, appeared to put Luton into the final.
Blackpool will now face Exeter in the final at Wembley on May 28 after they overcame Carlisle 6-5 on aggregate in another enthralling semi-final tie.
Luton took a while to get going in the first half, and just as they moved into the ascendancy, Blackpool took the lead with a blistering counter attack.
Mark Cullen, who was Blackpool's hat-trick hero in the first leg, stormed down the right before sending in an exquisite cross for Nathan Delfouneso, who turned the ball home to hand the visitors a two-goal lead on aggregate.
However, Luton soon pulled one back after a strike from Alan Sheehan - which was heading wide - deflected off Mellor and headed into his own net beyond the helpless Sam Slocombe.
Luton continued to press and took a 2-1 lead on the night just before half-time, with captain Scott Cuthbert glancing it past Slocombe following Sheehan's perfect in-swinging cross.
On the day where the FA announced they would bring in retrospective action for diving, Hylton earned a penalty for the hosts 10 minutes after the break having gone down moments after Ian Black stuck out a leg.
Hylton picked himself up to score from the spot with a coolly-taken penalty down the middle, but from then on it was Blackpool on the front foot as they chased a way back into the game.
Gnandullet came on for Blackpool after Hylton's goal, and 19 minutes later he met a Cullen cross to make it 5-5 on aggregate.
With the tie edging towards extra-time, Blackpool looked the more likely to score and came close through Gnanduillet and Bright Oyasi-Samuel.
But then at the death, the all-important goal came when Cook kicked the ball against the back of Moore following Mellor's headed.
Blackpool boss Gary Bowyer:
"We gifted them two goals. 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 February 14 and have gone on the run, we've come here to the favourites in the play-offs and won."
Luton boss Nathan Jones:
"I'm a bit shaken. 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."