JOHNSTONE'S PAINT TROPHY

Wembley Stadium, London, England

Referee: P Crossley | Attendance: 55378

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Luton Town

  • Chris Martin 32'
  • Tom Craddock 70'
  • Claude Gnakpa 95'

3 - 2

FT

After Extra Time

Scunthorpe United

  • Gary Hooper 14'
  • Grant McCann 88'

Luton edge Trophy thriller

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 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.

Harford was part of the side which gave Town the greatest day in their history, the 3-2 League Cup win over Arsenal at the old Wembley in 1988.

Fast forward 21 years and the Hatters will be facing trips to Tamworth and Histon next term barring a miraculous escape from the drop.

League chairman Brian Mawhinney was left in little doubt of the fans' feelings when he was booed loudly as he took to the field to meet the teams prior to kick-off.

Luton almost took the lead in the 10th minute when a corner caused mayhem in the Scunthorpe six-yard box and Martin prodded the loose ball goalwards, only for Krystian Pearce to block on the line.

But three minutes later the Hatters fell behind when Hooper collected Paul Hayes' flick-on, ran at a hastily back-pedalling Luton defence and fired an unstoppable shot past Dean Brill from just inside the area.

Henri Lansbury thought he had doubled Scunthorpe's advantage, but Hatters captain Kevin Nicholls headed his powerful drive off the line.

And on the half-hour, Luton dragged themselves level when Rossi Jarvis picked out a 50-yard crossfield pass which found Craddock, who chested the ball before hooking it into the path of Martin to slot home.

Craddock got away with appearing to slap Iron captain Cliff Byrne as the first half drew to a close.

Town sent their travelling masses wild in the 69th minute when Martin crossed into the area, Jarvis challenged for the ball and it fell for that man Craddock to unleash a low drive which skidded into the bottom corner.

Lansbury rattled the crossbar as Scunthorpe came back strongly, and they pulled level in dramatic fashion when McCann picked up a loose ball 25 yards out and curled a stunning first-time shot over Brill and into the net with three minutes left.

But five minutes into extra time Gnakpa, on for Craddock just 10 minutes earlier, chased Keith Keane's long ball, stuck out a leg and expertly lifted it over Murphy and into the net to seal a memorable victory.

Scoring Summary

  • Luton Town
  • Scunthorpe United

Match Stats

  • Luton Town
  • Scunthorpe United
8(6) Shots (on goal) 19(11)
16 Fouls 11
8 Corner kicks 9
6 Offsides 2
39% Time of Possession 61%
2 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
5 Saves 9

Teams

  • Luton Town
  • Scunthorpe United
Substitutes
Substitutions
Yellow Cards