Mar­riott dou­ble a per­fect warm-up

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

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

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