Football

Hatters triumph in Wembley thriller

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Claude Gnakpa was the unlikely hero as Luton, the Football League's bottom club, pulled off a stunning Wembley shock to beat Scunthorpe 3-2 after extra time in the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

The Frenchman, usually a defender, was thrown up front as an 85th-minute substitute by Town manager Mick Harford and sent the Hatters' orange hoards into dreamland when he struck an extra-time winner.

Should Luton drop out of the Football League this season - they are still 11 points adrift of safety - then they certainly said goodbye with a bang.

They brought an incredible 40,000 fans down the M1 to Wembley - a defiant showing from a club deducted 30 points by the FA and Football League at the start of the season for financial irregularities.

Gary Hooper fired Scunthorpe, who are 42 places above in the League One play-off spots, into an early lead but Chris Martin dragged Luton level before the interval.

Tom Craddock, Luton's £80,000 bargain buy from Middlesbrough, then put the Hatters in front only for Grant McCann to conjure up a stunning equaliser three minutes from the end of normal time.

But in the 95th minute, Gnakpa raced through to lob Scunthorpe goalkeeper Joe Murphy and cap a fairytale journey for the beleaguered Bedfordshire club.

Harford was restrained enough not to re-enact David Pleat's famous sprint across the pitch at the full-time whistle, but the man with a thankless task at the foot of the league will be immensely proud to have guided the club where he made his name to some silverware.

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Topics:
Chris Martin
Chris Martin
Football
Scunthorpe United
League One
Joe Murphy
Tom Craddock
League Two
Claude Gnakpa
Gary Hooper
Middlesbrough
Grant McCann

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