Thursday, May 23, 2024

Luton Town 1-1 Everton: Hatters squander opportunity to climb out of relegation zone

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 3 May 2024


Luton Town missed an inviting chance to escape the Premier League’s bottom three after Friday’s hard-fought 1-1 draw with Everton at Kenilworth Road.

Rob Edwards’ side would have leapfrogged 17th-placed Nottingham Forest – who visit Sheffield United on Saturday – with a victory, but were instead left level on points with Nuno Espirito Santo’s team.

The fit-again Elijah Adebayo cancelled out Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s 24th-minute penalty in an entertaining first half, though neither side could find a winner in an end-to-end second period.

Despite an encouraging performance, Luton – who almost snatched a late victory – stay 18th and below Forest on goal difference, while Everton remain 15th in the table.

A tense opening offered few opportunities as Dwight McNeil’s left-wing cross deflected off Teden Mengi and forced Thomas Kaminski into a smart reflex stop, but Everton hit the front soon after.

VAR David Coote recommended a pitch-side review before referee Tim Robinson awarded a penalty for a needless Mengi pull on Jarrad Branthwaite’s shirt from McNeil’s corner, with Calvert-Lewin squeezing his spot-kick under Kaminski.

Yet Luton responded after 31 minutes when Adebayo ushered Ashley Young out of the way from Albert Sambi Lokonga’s hanging delivery before swivelling to finish into the bottom-left corner.

Clear-cut chances remained sparse before Carlton Morris’ looping header from Alfie Doughty’s pinpoint back-post delivery was headed off the line by Ben Godfrey on the stroke of half-time.

Gabriel Osho curled a bending effort narrowly wide of Jordan Pickford’s left-hand post shortly after the interval, while former Toffee Ross Barkley headed over from Tahith Chong’s left-wing centre.

Jack Harrison’s deflected effort almost caught Luton off-guard, though, as Kaminski produced an eye-catching stop before denying a thumping Calvert-Lewin header.

Luton laid siege to Everton’s area in stoppage time, but the Toffees clung on, Pickford turning Luke Berry’s header wide before a heroic Branthwaite block denied Andros Townsend a last-gasp winner against his former club.

Luton entertain without victory

Prior to Friday’s match, Luton had won just one of their last 14 Premier League games (three draws, 10 defeats), with no side picking up fewer points than the Hatters since the start of this run (six).

Edwards’ winless misery was further compounded when Mengi’s mindless foul on Branthwaite afforded Everton their opener, yet Luton responded to keep their hopes of Premier League safety alive and cement their status among the competition’s entertainers.

Luton have both scored and conceded in 29 of their 36 Premier League games this season, a joint-record by any side in a single campaign in the competition, along with Swindon Town in 1993-94 and Southampton in 1994-95.

Everton not resting on laurels

Everton could have been forgiven for letting this game pass them by, having already secured their top-flight status with three straight victories over Forest, Liverpool and Brentford.

Yet the Toffees started well and were good value for their lead as Calvert-Lewin scored his fourth goal in his last five Premier League appearances, as many as he managed in his previous 38.

Some disappointing defending for Adebayo’s leveller may frustrate Sean Dyche, but his side still made it four games unbeaten since their 6-0 hammering at Chelsea in the middle of April.


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