Blackpool 0-1 Luton: Berry scores to get the Hatters back on track
Luke Berry’s first goal since March secured play-off chasing Luton a 1-0 Championship win over Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.
The midfielder’s 57th-minute strike proved the difference as the struggling Hatters ended a three-game winless run, leaving them two points off the top six.
Defeat for the Seasiders was their second in a week after Tuesday night’s frustrating 1-0 away loss to West Brom.
Blackpool were handed a major boost before kick-off with the news that Arsenal loanee Charlie Patino had recovered from a sickness bug and was able to start in midfield.
And he was joined by midfielder Grant Ward, who made his first appearance since re-signing on a free transfer for Michael Appleton’s men.
However, Luton were dealt an early blow as skipper Dan Potts was forced to limp off injured after only 17 minutes and Harry Cornick replaced him as manager Nathan Jones was forced to shuffle his pack.
Cornick immediately had a shot blocked on the edge of the box as the unplanned change nearly worked wonders.
The visitors had an even better chance to break the deadlock just three minutes later, but striker Carlton Morris’ powerful header was smartly saved by Blackpool goalkeeper Chris Maxwell.
Blackpool defender Jordan Thorniley tried his luck from distance, but his ambitious left-foot shot from distance flew wide of the right post.
Ward also had a good chance, but he rifled wide of the left upright from Kenny Dougall’s clever pass.
Patino found space just before the break, but he smashed over with his unfavoured right foot.
Then defender Marvin Ekpiteta made a fine goalline clearance to prevent Elijah Adebayo from giving the Hatters a welcome half-time lead.
Appleton introduced forward Keshi Anderson at the start of the second half as Patino made way – and the hosts had three chances in quick succession to score after the restart.
Striker Jerry Yates had a shot blocked, before Ward’s effort was charged down and substitute Anderson’s strike was well-saved by Luton keeper Ethan Horvath.
Morris had a decent effort not long after as Luton countered, but his strike flew wide of the left post.
But the breakthrough was just around the corner as Berry pounced to fire the visitors ahead from close range.
The Seasiders failed to deal with Adebayo’s inswinging corner and Berry finished smartly.
At the other end striker Gary Madine blasted high and wide with a wayward shot from Ekpiteta’s headed pass.
Morris came within a whisker of doubling the Hatters’ lead with three minutes left, but he shot wide from inside the box.
Yates could have snatched a draw at the death, only for his shot to be brilliantly blocked by Allan Campbell.
And then agonisingly CJ Hamilton struck a post in a crazy goalmouth scramble in stoppage time in which the home side failed to get the ball into the back of the net.