Marriott double a perfect warm-up
LUTON hotshot Jack Marriott came off the bench to beat Morecambe with a double and set up a play-off semi against Blackpool.
The Hatters, who were already guaranteed a spot in the end-of-season shake-up, were comfortably better than the Shrimps with man-ofthe-match Isaac Vassell leading the charge by bagging his 13th of the season from closerange.
The hosts, and chiefly Scott Cuthbert, blundered for Michael Rose’s penalty leveller, but then came Marriott’s cameo. The striker was introduced in the 72nd minute and, two minutes later, with his first touches, drilled the hosts in front.
For good measure, the forward notched again late on – his 12th of the campaign – to ensure his side finally recorded three straight League Two victories for the first time this term – a welcome confidence boost going into the play-offs.
“Beautiful,” said boss Nathan Jones, adding: “We couldn’t affect who we were playing. All we could affect was finishing as high in the league as we wanted to and we finished fourth. We’ve got Blackpool.
“There are a lot of twists and turns but it will be a very, very difficult game. They are a real potent side but, also, they know that we’re a good side.
“Anything can happen in the play-offs, they’re so tight. I envisage two tight games and hopefully I’m standing here on the night of the 18th and let’s hope we’re going to Wembley.”
The Hatters chief said it was a difficult decision to leave Marriott on the bench, but added: “He’s got the bit between his teeth and it’s great to have. We’ve got four (strikers) that are flying. We’ve got Danny (Hylton) to come back so we’re in good shape in terms of our front men.”
For Morecambe, the clash was a dead rubber, and boss Jim Bentley said: “They (Luton) are a very good side and that’s why they are where they are in the league. They had a strong side out, we came here and treated the game as we’ve treated every other game before, we wanted to win and were competitive.
“We’ve said to the players in there, ‘you can be proud of your efforts this season, it’s been a massive achievement what we’ve done with what we’ve got and all the things that have gone against us’.
“Now it’s a big summer for us. We’ve got to regroup, get things sorted and hopefully move on for a brighter future.”
STAR MAN ISAAC VASSELL Luton