Exeter & Blackpool into play-off final after both ties finish 6-5 on agg

Blackpool's players celebrate

Blackpool’s players celebrate at the end of a remarkable League Two play-off semi-final second leg

Blackpool reached the League Two play-off final as an injury-time own goal ended Luton’s promotion hopes at the end of a remarkable, see-sawing tie.

The Hatters, trailing 3-2 from the first leg, fell further behind when Nathan Delfouneso opened the scoring.

Kelvin Mellor’s own goal, Scott Cuthbert’s header and Danny Hylton’s penalty then hauled Luton in front.

But Armand Gnanduillet made it 5-5 on aggregate, before Stuart Moore’s own goal sent the visitors to Wembley.

Goalkeeper Moore’s misfortunate capped an incredible night of League Two play-off action, as Exeter City beat Carlisle United in the other semi-final – also 6-5 on aggregate and also courtesy of a 95th-minute winner.

The Grecians had looked to be coasting towards the final on Sunday, 28 May before Carlisle scored two late goals to level the tie.

But Jack Stacey’s spectacular long-range strike in stoppage time means Blackpool will face Exeter in the Wembley showpiece.

A night of comebacks at Kenilworth Road

Luton Town players at the final whistle<!–

Both League Two play-off semi-finals looked set for an additional 30 minutes as they headed into injury time

Having only confirmed their place in the play-offs on the final day of the regular season, the Tangerines’ passage to the final appeared a straightforward one when Delfouneso put them 4-2 ahead on aggregate.

But Luton, roared on by a partisan home crowd, battled back and deservedly levelled the tie by half-time of the second leg through a Mellor own goal and Cuthbert’s well-placed header.

They completed the turnaround early in the second half in controversial circumstances – striker Hylton appeared to dive to win the penalty with which he made it 5-4 on aggregate, a chipped Panenka effort that went in off the bar.

Blackpool were not to be outdone, however, and the impressive Gnanduillet headed in to level matters and send the last-four match towards extra time.

But, as at St James Park, there was more drama to come when Jordan Cook tried to clear Mellor’s header off the line, but instead hit the back of Moore and the ball crept into the net to send Blackpool, who have dropped from the top tier to the fourth tier in the space of six years, into the final.

Luton Town manager 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.”

Blackpool manager 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 14 February and have gone on the run, we’ve come here to the favourites in the play-offs and won.”

Live Text

Match ends, Luton Town 3, Blackpool 3.

Second Half ends, Luton Town 3, Blackpool 3.

Own Goal by Stuart Moore, Luton Town. Luton Town 3, Blackpool 3.

Attempt blocked. Kelvin Mellor (Blackpool) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ian Black with a cross.

Corner, Blackpool. Conceded by Glen Rea.

Attempt blocked. Neil Danns (Blackpool) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Kelvin Mellor.

Attempt saved. Armand Gnanduillet (Blackpool) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Brad Potts.

Attempt missed. Ian Black (Blackpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Bright Samuel following a corner.

Corner, Blackpool. Conceded by Stuart Moore.

Attempt missed. Bright Samuel (Blackpool) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Armand Gnanduillet.

Corner, Luton Town. Conceded by Tom Aldred.

Corner, Blackpool. Conceded by Dan Potts.

Attempt saved. Brad Potts (Blackpool) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Bright Samuel.

Attempt missed. Mark Cullen (Blackpool) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Bright Samuel with a cross.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Mark Cullen (Blackpool) because of an injury.

Substitution, Luton Town. Jordan Cook replaces Olly Lee.

Attempt missed. Olly Lee (Luton Town) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Dan Potts with a cross.

Offside, Blackpool. Ian Black tries a through ball, but Mark Cullen is caught offside.

Olly Lee (Luton Town) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Olly Lee (Luton Town).

Brad Potts (Blackpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Bright Samuel (Blackpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Armand Gnanduillet.

Isaac Vassell (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Mark Cullen (Blackpool).

Goal! Luton Town 3, Blackpool 2. Armand Gnanduillet (Blackpool) header from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Mark Cullen.

Substitution, Blackpool. Bright Samuel replaces Andy Taylor.

Pelly Ruddock (Luton Town) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Neil Danns (Blackpool).

Attempt missed. Armand Gnanduillet (Blackpool) header from the centre of the box misses to the left following a corner.

Corner, Blackpool. Conceded by Alan Sheehan.

Corner, Blackpool. Conceded by James Justin.

Foul by Pelly Ruddock (Luton Town).

Ian Black (Blackpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Danny Hylton (Luton Town) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Pelly Ruddock.

Attempt missed. Danny Hylton (Luton Town) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Olly Lee.

Attempt blocked. Glen Rea (Luton Town) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Alan Sheehan with a headed pass.

Corner, Luton Town. Conceded by Kelvin Mellor.

Attempt saved. Clark Robertson (Blackpool) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ian Black with a cross.

Corner, Blackpool. Conceded by Pelly Ruddock.

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