Thursday, May 23, 2024

West Ham 3-1 Luton Town: Hatters on the brink after second-half turnaround

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 11 May 2024

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Luton Town’s hopes of avoiding relegation from the Premier League are all but over after they squandered a 1-0 lead in a 3-1 defeat to West Ham at the London Stadium on Saturday.

In their final home game under departing boss David Moyes, the Hammers fell behind to Albert Sambi Lokonga’s header, as Rob Edwards’ side looked to pull level with 17th-placed Nottingham Forest.

However, fine second-half finishes from James Ward-Prowse and Tomas Soucek turned the game around, then teenager George Earthy marked his return from a head injury with his first Premier League goal.

While Moyes was able to enjoy his London Stadium swansong, Luton will see their return to the Championship confirmed if Forest avoid defeat to Chelsea later on Saturday.

If Forest are beaten, Luton will need to beat Fulham on the final day, hope their rivals lose to already-relegated Burnley, and overturn a huge swing in goal difference.

Desperately needing three points, Luton started brightly and took the lead in the sixth minute. A blocked Elijah Adebayo effort fell for Alfie Doughty, and his cross was perfect for Lokonga to head home from close range for his first Premier League goal of the season.

West Ham almost levelled seven minutes later, but Jarrod Bowen could only watch his effort rattle the left-hand post.

The West Ham pressure continued to mount as Emerson’s low ball across the six-yard box evaded everyone, before Mohammed Kudus blazed over the crossbar just after the half-hour mark.

Soucek also tried his luck from range just before the break but Thomas Kaminski saved easily, with boos audible as West Ham went into the break a goal down.

The hosts certainly made up for that flat first half, though, with Ward-Prowse drilling home their leveller in the 54th minute.

That sparked a relentless spell of pressure from Moyes’ men. Doughty was nearly forced into an embarrassing back-pass mistake, and Bowen fired wide following a fine Kaminski stop to deny Kudus.

Luton buckled as Soucek volleyed home superbly from the edge of the box with 65 minutes gone, then Kudus assisted West Ham’s emphatic third five minutes later, surging to the byline to square for substitute Earthy to tap home and leave Luton on the brink.

Moyes’ blushes spared

With Saturday’s second-half fightback, West Ham remained undefeated in their final home league game for a seventh successive season, winning five and drawing two in that run.

This record stands since a 4-0 loss to Liverpool in 2016-17.

Moyes might have been fearing the worst when his team were booed off at the break, but he was eventually able to enjoy his final home outing as Hammers boss.

Luton on the brink

Since beating Brighton and Hove Albion 4-0 in January and moving outside the relegation zone, Luton have won just one of their last 16 Premier League games (four draws, 11 defeats).

Defeat in this match leaves them on the cusp of relegation back to the Championship. Even if a win comes in the final home outing against Fulham, negative goal difference truly hinders their hopes of the greatest of all escapes.

While Edwards’ side have won plenty of admirers this term, their stay in the Premier League looks likely to be a short one.

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