Jones left 'shell-shocked' by play-off exit

Hatters boss Nathan Jones was left completely and utterly shell-shocked that with the manner in which his were knocked out of the play-offs against Blackpool last night.

Friday, 19th May 2017, 8:20 am
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:16 pm
Town defender Glen Rea can't believe Luton won't be playing at Wembley

Luton were in total control of the tie with 14 minutes to go, leading 3-1 on the night and 5-4 on aggregate.

However, keeper Stuart Moore than rashly came racing off his line to try and claim Mark Cullen’s ball in, only to be beaten by Armand Gnanduillet whose header looped into the empty net.

Worse was to follow as with the final kick, Kelvin Mellor’s header somehow beat both Moore and Jordan Cook stationed on the line, to make it 3-3, with Blackpool progressing to Wembley 6-5.

Speaking afterwards, Jones said: “I’m devastated, a little bit shell-shocked really as for 76, 77 minutes, we were in total control of the game.

“They scored from a breakaway first half, bit of naivety really and then we came back to go 3-1 up.

“We were really in the ascendancy we had real good opportunities, had good counter attacks, we were building well, and we played magnificently well.

“But just an error really has cost us got them back in it because i could not see them coming back into the game.

“It’s what happens when you’ve got a big man on and we didn’t handle that, and that’s what’s cost us in the end.

“I’m bitterly disappointed because how we went about our work, I’m standing there really relaxed at 72, 73 minutes as I just couldn’t see them scoring.”

Luton had fallen 1-0 behind on the night and 4-2 overall when Nathan Delfouneso volleyed home, before Mellor’s own goal and a Scott Cuthbert header saw Town 2-1 in front.

Danny Hylton’s penalty on the hour mark looked to be sending the hosts to Wembley, until the late drama as Jones added: “First half, the only thing they had was that one counter attack, it really was.

“We were excellent, we really were, we started well, we moved the ball well, we were dominating and then they scored out of nothing.

“We showed real character, we came back, scored two before half time, and then we say, ‘can we go again.’

“One goal then wins it for us, we get the goal and we’re in total control, there’s no worries whatsoever, and then one moment, the whole game changes.

“That’s what sport’s about, and that’s what we need to eradicate.”