Palmer fires in win­ner at death

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By James Cun­liffe

NATHAN Jones was a fire­cracker of emo­tions as Ol­lie Palmer pro­duced a 90th-minute win­ner to end a five-game win­less run and give Luton some breath­ing space in the League Two play-off race.

Jones kicked the ad­ver­tis­ing hoard­ings and ges­tured glee­fully to fans mo­ments af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle con­firmed a three-point buf­fer be­tween the Hat­ters and op­po­nents Black­pool, who slipped out of the top seven.

Jones ap­peared to mouth the word ‘be­lieve’ as he headed to the tun­nel, ser­e­naded by the home fans and after­wards he said: “We don’t mind a bit of drama around here.

“What a way to win too and I said to the play­ers ‘we’re the only side who are not re­ally nick­ing wins late on’. We haven’t had that and what a way to re­spond, they showed that they’re built of sterner stuff than be­fore.

“We’ve come un­der a lot of neg­a­tiv­ity lately with the run we’ve been on and I’ve had to de­fend that and ques­tioned my play­ers, but I thought they re­sponded fan­tas­ti­cally well.”

Palmer’s win­ner at the death came af­ter Seasiders’ keeper Dean Lyness blot­ted his copy­book with a howler to al­low the Ley­ton Ori­ent loa­nee to tap in to an empty net for his sec­ond goal in 12 Hat­ters games.

Jones added: “Ol­lie Palmer, I’m de­lighted for him that he got the goal be­cause I was crit­i­cal of him in the week. I want more ag­gres­sion from him, I want him to come on and have that bit be­tween is teeth and he did.”

Un­til the for­ward took a bite out of Black­pool, Luton were star­ing at the pos­si­bil­ity of re­main­ing in the play-offs on goal dif­fer­ence only and that’s be­cause they strug­gled to break down the vis­i­tors who had not tasted de­feat for nine game prior to this con­test.

They were kept at bay un­til the 20th minute when Isaac Vas­sell threaded through to Town top scorer Danny Hyl­ton, who volleyed first time but un­con­vinc­ingly and straight at keeper Lyness.

The pair linked up again but Vas­sell found Lyness in the way once more be­fore the vis­i­tors grad­u­ally gained more of a foothold.

Bright Osayi-Sa­muel was al­most wheel­ing away in cel­e­bra­tion af­ter a teas­ing a curler to­wards Town’s top cor­ner. How­ever, Arse­nal loan stop­per Matt Macey pulled off the first of two stun­ning saves and then, mo­ments later, kept hold of a Neil Danns stinger to keep it goal­less at the in­ter­val.

The sec­ond half was a for­get­table af­fair un­til the in­tro­duc­tion of Black­pool’s Kyle Vas­sell for Cullen in the 66th minute.

One of the striker’s first touches was an in­stinc­tive over­head kick that Macey, for the sec­ond time in the match, flung him­self ac­ro­bat­i­cally at.

And all of a sud­den the te­dium was ex­ter­mi­nated. Pelly-Rud­dock Mpanzu was de­nied by Lyness and it looked to be a day for both keep­ers to savour un­til the last minute.

Sub­sti­tute Luke Gam­bin’s shot was spilled by the Tan­ger­ines man, leav­ing Palmer to stroke in and send Ke­nil­worth Road into rap­tures.

“It's harsh on us,” said Black­pool boss Gary Bowyer.

“We’ve come across a goal­keeper that has made an un­be­liev­able save from Kyle Vas­sell, sev­eral more and we’ve had some real good chances.

“I think you judge it by saves made by the goal­keep­ers.

“Their goal­keeper has pulled out a worldie from Bright Osay­iSa­muel and he’s pulled out an­other one from Kyle Vas­sell.

“We have to take it on the chin and move on. I said dur­ing the week there’s a lot of foot­ball left to play and my opin­ion doesn’t change on that.”

OL­LIE, OL­LIE, OL­LIE: Palmer scores the late win­ner for Luton

PIC­TURES: Gareth Owen

BUN­DLE: Luton pile on to cel­e­brate Ol­lie Palmer’s 90th-minute goal

STAR MAN Black­pool

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