Adebayo misses from the spot as Luton are held by 10-man Forest
Championship: Nottingham Forest 0 Luton Town 0
Striker Elijah Adebayo missed a second half penalty as the Hatters were held to a goalless draw by Nottingham Forest this evening.
Although Town might have accepted a point ahead of the match, especially with a clean sheet, the feeling afterwards would be one of disappointment that they didn't leave with all three, especially with the hosts playing the final half hour with just 10 men, Joe Colback sent off.
Boss Nathan Jones, in charge of his 250th game for the Hatters, made two changes for the contest, one of them enforced with keeper Simon Sluga having been identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive for Covid-19 while he was away on international duty with Croatia.
That saw James Shea come in for his first start since the 2-1 defeat at Reading on Boxing Day 2020, while Admiral Muskwe was preferred to Harry Cornick upfront, partnering Adebayo.
The hosts had the first efforts of significance, Braian Ojeda's blast never testing Shea, although Fred Onyedinma almost got in for Luton, keeper Brice Samba, who was to have a major impact as the game wore on, nicking the ball off his toes.
James Bree drilled a low shot across goal, with Muskwe unable to get enough of a touch to divert it on target, while at the other end, Scott McKenna's header from James Garner's corner flew over the top.
Town created their first meaningful attempt on 26 minutes when Bree slipped Allan Campbell in on the right hand side and his cross was nodded off target by the lurking Adebayo.
Campbell then advanced himself but when faced with a shooting opportunity 25 yards out, could only drag tamely wide, while against his former club, Henri Lansbury's goalbound drive was charged down by a covering defender.
In between those rare passages of something near to excitement, Town looked solid at the back, able to withstand the hosts' dominance of possession, 61 per cent in their favour at the break, Shea able to have a relatively untroubled opening 45 minutes.
Town's only issue was a lack of any concerted pressure in the final third, with the ball not sticking with Adebayo enough, while at times, Onyedinma had his pocket picked too easily.
After the break, the Hatters were almost architects of their own downfall on 51 minutes, Tom Lockyer miscontrolling a high ball allowing Joe Lolley to pounce and tee up Lyle Taylor on his left, but Shea did his job, staying big to save with his legs.
As in the first period, Forest continued to have most of the ball, keeping it away from the visitors at will, with Philip Zinckernagel bending one over the bar.
Out of nowhere the game then came to life on the hour mark, when Town won a disputed corner which Lansbury sent into the area.
Colback pulled Lockyer back as the Welshman looked to win a header, referee Jeremy Simpson spotting the offence and to the fury of the previously quiet home support, awarded spot-kick, also showing Colback his second yellow.
Adebayo stepped up, but for the first time in his Luton career, couldn't convert, Samba's legs sending the ball flying over the bar.
Now with a man advantage, Luton could have had another penalty, Onyedinma tripped by sub Tobias Figueriedo, but having given one, it was unlikely they'd get another, this time Simpson waving the appeals away.
Jones threw on Harry Cornick and Jordan Clark with 16 minutes to go, Clark quickly arrowing a low shot just past the post with Samba at full stretch.
Although Town went on to boss the latter stages, throwing Danny Hylton on, bar a few Onyedinma bursts on the left to win the odd corner, they didn't look like breaking the 10 men down.
That was until late in stoppage time when the classy Naismith connected sweetly with a volley that the man of the hour Samba did excellently to parry away, earning a hero's ovation from the majority of the City Ground once the full time whistle went.
For Luton, it did end their run of back-to-back defeats, but Jones' men are now three games without a win, while haven't scored in four of their last five outings, a stat they will look to put right against Cardiff City this weekend.
Forest: Brice Samba, Djed Spence, Joe Worrall (C), Jack Colback, Philip Zinckernagel (Cafu 81), Brennan Johnson, Braian Ojeda, Joe Lolley (Gaetan Bong 69), Scott McKenna, Lyle Taylor (Tobias Figueiredo 65), James Garner.
Subs not used: Ethan Horvath, Joao Carvalho, Lewis Grabban, Alex Mighten.
Hatters: James Shea, James Bree, Tom Lockyer, Sonny Bradley (C), Kal Naismith, Fred Onyedinma, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Allan Campbell, Henri Lansbury (Jordan Clark 74), Admiral Muskwe (Harry Cornick 74), Elijah Adebayo (Danny Hylton 85).
Subs not used: Harry Isted, Glen Rea, Amari'i Bell, Cameron Jerome.
Bookings: Taylor 26, Lockyer 45, Colback 47, McKenna 58, Mpanzu 68, Bradley 90.
Sent off: Colback 61.
Referee: Jeremy Simpson.
Attendance: 25,715 (Luton 1,418).