O’Donnell happy to claim Orient match-winner

Whose goal was it? Stephen O'Donnell raises Ryan Hall's hand after Town's late winner
Whose goal was it? Stephen O'Donnell raises Ryan Hall's hand after Town's late winner

Hatters defender Stephen O’Donnell was more than happy to open his account for the club in the most fortuitous of fashions on Tuesday night.

With seconds remaining in Hatters’ Johnstone’s Paint Trophy first round clash against Leyton Orient and the scores tied at 1-1, Luton winger Ryan Hall lined up a free kick just outside the box.

“I was trying to get out of the way, but I just flicked it over with my back.”

Stephen O’Donnell

His first effort cannoned into the wall, but his second flew towards goal, hit the back of O’Donnell and beat O’s keeper Charlie Grainger for a last-gasp winner.

O’Donnell said: “I don’t think it was the most elegant strike I’ve ever had, but I’ll take it.

“I think it’s the first goal of my professional career that’s been a deflection, most of them have a wee bit more panache about them.

“Ryan seemed to have a good strike on it after the free kick, so I was trying to get out of the way, but I just flicked it over with my back.”

Centre half Magnus Okuonghae was not convinced O’Donnell should have been awarded the goal, as he said: “I’d be surprised if he claimed that!

“I’d personally give it to Hally, but he was in the right place at the right time I suppose.”

Assistant boss Terry Harris felt the slice of good fortune had been long overdue for Town after conceding three stoppage time goals themselves this season, including one against Portsmouth at the weekend.

He said: “Maybe the gods were smiling on us, we got a break in the last minute that we haven’t had in the last three home games in the league.

“It will be interesting to see who claims the goal, I’m sure Ryan Hall will be the first one too, but at the moment I don’t care how it goes in.”

O’Donnell was also left hoping that any further late strikes will be in the opponents net rather than Hatters’ after witnessing Pompey snatch the points through Matt Tubbs on Saturday.

He added: “It’s good when they come for us, but more than not recently they’ve been against us.

“It’s something that’s hard to work on as a lot of the things are daft things that happen.

“On Saturday, they shank a goal kick and we’re caught off guard, it shouldn’t happen but it did.

“Then myself and Wilko (Luke Wilkinson) got in each others way, but I hope these things will start going in our favour.

“It’s good entertainment for our fans, if they are going in our favour, which hopefully they will be.”