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Match Reports

Report | Blackpool 0-1 Luton Town

5 November 2022

Match Reports

Report | Blackpool 0-1 Luton Town

5 November 2022

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The Hatters overcame more injury adversity to record another fantastic victory on the road, with Luke Berry's first goal of the season - and Tom Lockyer's brilliant blocks in front of his own net - seeing off Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.

Berry came in for his first league start of the campaign and grabbed the second half winner, with Lockyer providing the assist with a header back from the far post, to lift the Hatters up to eighth place in the Championship table, two points off the play-offs with a game in hand on sixth-placed Preston.

Manager Nathan Jones made three changes to his starting XI from the midweek draw with Reading. Berry came in for his first start since the Carabao Cup defeat against Newport County in August, while Jordan Clark returned in a right-wing-back role after missing out in midweek, with Alfie Doughty sidelined by a tight hamstring.

Top scorer Carlton Morris also returned up front alongside Elijah Adebayo, with Harry Cornick on the bench. Development Squad midfielder Conor Lawless was involved in the first team matchday squad for the first time, joining Casey Pettit amongst the substitutes.

The first incident of any note came in the 14th minute when Dan Potts became the latest central defender to be forced off by injury. The captain, returning to the ground where he scored his first Luton goal in the League Two play-off semi-final, landed awkwardly on his back after clearing the ball close to the byline, under challenge from the division's leading scorer Jerry Yates.

After several minutes of treatment, Potts tried to come back on, twice, but ultimately had to give in with 20 minutes on the clock. Cornick came on in his place with a defensive reshuffle seeing Town switch to a back four, with Bell and Clark becoming orthodox full-backs either side of Lockyer and Bree.

Cornick joined Adebayo and Morris in a front three, and it was the substitute who had Town's first shot at goal, although his 25 yarder was deflected high and wide for a corner, from which Bell then sent a 30-yard bullet goalward, only for that to end in the same way.

Morris forced a save from home keeper Chris Maxwell with a powerful header, although referee Tim Robinson penalised the striker for climbing on his marker, and a scrappy period of midfield stalemate ensued, with neither side able to build any real momentum.

Grant Ward fired a 28th-minute shot well wide and left-back James Husband floated a 37th-minute cross onto the roof of Ethan Horvath's net to draw a gasp from the home crowd, although it never looked like going under the bar.

Then the diminutive Clark won two towering headers to clear balls into the box from Callum Connolly, while Berry got back to tidy up a couple of others before ex-Hatters junior Charlie Patino - currently on loan at Bloomfield Road from Arsenal - blazed over as Town defended their area well once again.

Luton created their best opportunities of the half in the closing two minutes of normal time, first with Campbell releasing Cornick down the right to slide a low cross in for Adebayo, who was denied a tap-in by a brilliant sliding clearance from Seasiders' captain Marvin Ekpiteta in front of his own goal.

Seconds later, Clark found Adebayo's head with another cross from the right, but Berry couldn't get enough purchase on his close range volley and his former Cambridge team-mate Maxwell gathered comfortably.

The third opprtunity came as play entered the 45th minute, with Mpanzu pinging a right-footer from distance, although the ball wouldn't come back enough to turn it into a trademark Pelly banger and the half-time whistle blew with the deadlock unbroken.

Town had to be on their mettle to keep the hosts out five minutes after the half-time, when Lockyer blocked a Madine shot, before Horvath saved the striker's follow-up. Seconds later, Campbell got half a block on Ward's shot and Lockyer cleared off the line, then Horvath produced another sharp save to deny half-time sub Keshi Anderson with his feet.

It was developing into an end-to-end affair, with Adebayo breaking down the left and winning a free-kick, before Morris bent a 54th-minute beauty that was heading into the top corner, only for Jordan Thorniley to divert it behind for a corner with his head, the Blackpool defender forced off after a couple of minutes of treatment.

The breakthrough came from that right-wing corner, eventually delivered by Bree in the 57th minute, with Lockyer meeting his deep delivery with a header back into the six-yard box, where Berry stole in to stab the ball into the top corner.

Town survived a scare in the 65th minute when Madine fired over from close range after Ekpiteta nodded the ball into his path from a free-kick that Berry had been shown a yellow card for trying to delay.

The goalscorer was soon withdrawn, along with Adebayo, as Luke Freeman and Cameron Jerome came on in their place.

Blackpool continued their search for a leveller, but every ball into the Town penalty area seemed to be dealt with by the magnificent Lockyer, continuing his brilliant form that surely has to have him back in contention for the Wales World Cup squad.

Bell was penalised for a push in Madine's back right on the edge of the area, but sub Theo Corbeanu curled his free-kick high and wide as the Hatters continued their rigid rearguard action, Horvath racing out of his area to clear the danger when Blackpool went long to try to get iin behind.

Morris looked to add to the lead in the 87th-minute, but Husband got back to deflect his effort into the side-netting. Then the top scorer headed Bree's corner back for Lockyer to head straight at Maxwell. If only the centre-half hadn't made such a good connection, either side of the keeper and it was game over.

Still in it, Blackpool broke down the right, but Campbell got back to produce a brilliant block as Yates pulled the trigger in the 88th minute. Then, back at the other end, Morris sent a wonderful curler towards the top corner, but it was just an inch too high.

In the first minute of six added on, the Hatters rode their luck with Hamilton hitting the woodwork after Lockyer had blocked one cross at the near post, before the Welshman spread himself across the goalline to make yet another brilliant stop on the line with what he described as his "groin area", as Blackpool's Connolly looked to force the ball home in an almighty six-yard box scramble.

Town had once again pulled off the best away result possible to send the 1,208 Hatters off to enjoy their night at the seaside in great spirits, and look forward to a Tuesday night trip to Stoke.

Goals:

LT - Berry 57'

Att: 11,452 (1,208 Hatters)


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