League Two: York City 2 Luton Town 3
A truly, truly remarkable afternoon at Bootham Crescent saw Luton Town finally end their long-running hoodoo at York in dramatic fashion thanks to Olly’s Lee wonderful late winner.
With injury time ticking down, Hatters looked like they would have to settle for a point as despite taking the lead twice through Cameron McGeehan and Jack Marriott, they had been pegged back to 2-2.
However, Lee then picked up possession from Danny Green’s throw inside the York area and set off towards goal, beating a host of York players in a marvellous solo run, before steadying himself to drill into the bottom corner with his left foot from 20 yards.
The victory saw Hatters enjoying that winning feeling for the first time at the Minstermen since September 15, 2001, a run spanning six games and 14 long years.
There was never any sign that a such a thrilling second 45 minutes was on the cards at all though, after a first half that boarded on the sleep inducing at times, particular for those of a Luton interest.
Boss Nathan Jones went with the same side who defeated Hartlepool last weekend, but they couldn’t ever get into their stride in the first period, sending nothing at Michael Ingham’s goal, with a timid display that lacked any sort of gumption.
That’s not to say struggling York were much better either as Derek Riordan’s shot was charged down, before the first effort of any note on 23 minutes as Stephen O’Donnell was beaten too easily by Vadaine Oliver on the right and he pulled the ball back for Riordan to shoot wide of Tyler’s goal.
Oliver then climbed highest to head a cross back across goal, while he was much closer on 36 minutes, escaping the attentions of Scott Cuthbert, seeing his low shot well repelled by the legs of Tyler.
Luton took almost 40 minutes to even win a corner as Danny Green’s lovely cross flicked off the head of William Boyle and behind, only for the set-piece to be easily cleared.
That was about it for Hatters though as those inside Bootham Crescent were left hoping for something resembling excitement in the second half.
And boy were they to get it too as Luton came up with an intent that had been severely lacking, as McGeehan flicked a header wide at full stretch, with Lee putting an ambitions half volley well, well off target.
Luton then went ahead with their first shot on target on 52 minutes, finally ending their goal drought now topping the 10 hours mark at the Minsterman, with Green’s corner swung in and McGeehan timing his run perfectly to stoop and head a 12th of the season past Ingham.
If anything the goal seemed to pep York up as they almost levelled immediately when Tyler raced from goal to make a hash of his clearance, but half time sub Bradley Fewster and Oliver couldn’t make the most of the opportunity, with Lawless then nicking the ball off the toes of Kyle Cameron as he was about to steer home.
Alan Sheehan then brought Fewster but escaped without even a booking as the set-piece saw Tyler parry well from Luke Summerfield and Dave Winfield shank the rebound off target.
The hosts restored parity just after the hour with a goal that was all Luton’s fault as O’Donnell sold Tyler hideously short with a backpass, who was nutmegged by Fewster, with the sub beating Sheehan to tap into the empty net.
However, Luton didn’t let the leveller affect them too much, regaining the ascendancy on 74 minutes, O’Donnell’s earning some redemption for his earlier error, linking up well with Green, before racing into the box and crossing low for Marriott to send a lovely backheel past Ingham and into the net for a 10th of the season.
With 10 minutes to go, York went close once more a chipped free kick into the box was headed across goal by Winfield and Oliver beat Tyler’s punch, but it fell wide.
It was soon 2-2 though when Hatters’ offside trap was badly undone allowing Fewster (82) to race clear and easily beat Tyler.
Town found a third wind though as a deep cross by Jake Howells was put over by O’Donnell and sub Craig Mackail-Smith’s low effort looked on its way in only for Winfield to block.
Then with seconds left, Lee produced his moment of individual brilliance to win it as Hatters recorded back-to-back wins for the first time since November.
Minstermen: Michael Ingham, Femi Ilesanmi (Kenny McEvoy 64), Luke Summerfield, Vadaine Oliver, Russell Penn (C), Derek Riordan (Bradley Fewster 46), Kyle Cameron, Dave Winfield, Luke Hendrie, William Boyle, Danny Galbraith (Reece Thompson 80).
Subs not used: Scott Flinders, James Berrett, Josh Carson, Jake Hyde, Reece Thompson, Kenny McEvoy.
Hatters: Mark Tyler, Stephen O’Donnell, Jake Howells, Scott Cuthbert (C), Alan Sheehan (Magnus Okuonghae 87), Olly Lee, Alex Lawless (Jonathan Smith 61), Cameron McGeehan, Danny Green, Jack Marriott, Joe Pigott (Craig Mackail-Smith 61).
Subs not used: Elliot Justham, Paddy McCourt, Paul Benson, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu.
Booked: McGeehan 27, Mackail-Smith 81, Green 86.
Attendance: 3,628 (Luton 715).
Referee: Geoff Eltringham.
Hatters MOM: Olly Lee. Solid display topped off by that winner.