Play-off defeat is easily Hylton's worst feeling in football

Town striker Danny Hylton celebrates his goal from the penalty spot against Blackpool
Town striker Danny Hylton celebrates his goal from the penalty spot against Blackpool

Losing out in the play-off semi-finals was by far away and the lowest point of his football career for Luton striker Danny Hylton.

The top scorer had seemingly sent the Hatters on their way to Wembley by netting his 27th from spot just before the hour mark and making it 3-1 on the night, with Luton leading 5-4.

However, with 14 minutes to go, Armand Gnanduillet headed the visitors level, while Kelvin Mellor’s header in the final 10 seconds saw Blackpool draw 3-3 and win the tie 6-5 on aggregate.

A distraught Hylton said: “By a million miles it’s the the worst thing that’s happened.

“I know I lost at Wembley last year in the JPT (for Oxford), but that was a day out and a cup competition. We went and got promoted, that was our main thing.

“This year everything we worked towards, every day you came in, every sacrifice, everything comes down to a play-off game.

“If someone said over the two legs we’d have scored five goals I’d have bet my life on that we would have gone and got through, but we’ve conceded six goals and it wasn’t good enough.

“I’m going to find it really hard to get over it next in the next few days. I’m going to my best to put it to one side, put my feet up, enjoy the summer and come back ready next season.”

The forward was almost lost for words on just how Luton threw their advantage away, and the manner in which they did too, as he continued: "To be honest, I’m a little bit speechless, it’s still not really sunk in yet, I’m just numb to it all, I can’t believe how we can get ourselves into a lead in a ridiculous game and what are we 10 minutes, 15 minutes away from winning the game? And then blown it, I can’t believe it, can’t believe it.

“Last kick of the game, last corner, the ref said as he’s going to take it, 'this is your last chance.' And to concede, I don’t know, I don’t know, it’s rubbish. We should never do it, naive, and that’s what we’ve been all season, naive and it’s cost us.

“It’s hard to take any positives, it doesn’t matter what we’ve done, we’ve conceded six goals in two games, that’s ridiculous.

"That’s not me blaming the defenders or the goalie, we’re in it together, we’ve conceded six goals and to do that you can’t expect to win a game of football or go through, so we’ve got no-one to blame but ourselves."

Getting past the feeling of such bitter disappointment is going to be a tough one for Hylton too, as the leading marksman said: "It’s going to be hard. We go away now, we've got a little bit of time off to freshen up, think about what’s happened and then by the time we come in a few weeks time, put it to one side, brush it off and we go again.

"But it’s going to be hard, certainly for the next couple of weeks, it’s going to be hard to put it to one side. I don’t quite know I’m going to think of anything else other than that over the summer and going to have to do it and go one better next season."

When asked about next term and going up automatically, without the repeat of a heartbreaking failed play-off campaign, Hylton added: "Of course, that’s what I hope.

"To be honest though, I don’t even want to think about next season or anything about football for the time being.

"I want to put that to bed, I want to switch off completely from football, enjoy the time with my family, getting married.

"I’m going to look forward to that now and then get my football head back on when we come in."