Adebayo on the spot as Luton finally end Barnsley's hoodoo at Kenilworth Road

Championship: Luton Town 2 Barnsley 1

By Mike Simmonds
Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 10:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 10:32 pm
Elijah Adebayo scored his 13th goal of the season this evening
Elijah Adebayo scored his 13th goal of the season this evening

Luton finally ended their long, long wait for home league win over Barnsley, registering a first victory since October 1993 in a game that won't live long in the memory bar for that fact this evening.

It was been almost 30 long years since the Hatters took the points against their Yorkshire opponents at Kenilworth Road, that coming when Scott Oakes' double and a young John Hartson were on target helped Town on their way to 5-0 hammering.

Nine meetings since had seen the visitors win seven and draw nine, and even though it looked like their best chance in all that time, the Tykes bottom of the table and 12 without a win, with no away triumph all term, it looked like their hoodoo was going to continue a fairly dismal first half.

That came after Town boss Nathan Jones had brought his two leading scorers back for the contest too, Elijah Adebayo and Harry Cornick replacing Danny Hylton and Fred Onyedinma from Luton's last Championship contest, that a 1-0 win at Swansea City last Tuesday night.

Although it meant the hosts' front two had 20 Championship goals between them, they could just not get going in the early stages, looking a mile off the pace and unable to wake themselves from their slumber that was enveloping the Kenilworth Road pitch and stands, with a display well below their usual standards.

Callum Styles curled wide of the target after the visitors, despite their perilous position, settled into their task well, first to second balls and having by far the better of what little quality was on show.

Luton finally looked like they were starting to get some kind of momentum building as the game progressed, Adebayo convinced he had won a penalty after appearing to have his legs clipped by Remy Vita, only for referee Andy Davies to wave his appeals away.

Town then had the ball in the net through Cornick, but defender James Bree was flagged offside in the build-up, but Luton did somehow have the lead on 28 minutes when Bree's corner from the left was on the money once more, punched up rather than out by Bradley Collins.

It landed for Allan Campbell to prod goalwards, the ball just crossing the line before Gabe Osho made sure, as Town's defender had to cut his celebrations short when it became apparent the Scot had his third of the season.

Josh Benson tried to restore parity, slicing wildly over the top, while another good set-piece routine saw Naismith's cross flick off the top of Cornick's head, Mads Andersen well placed to clear.

Luton still weren't defending with any real authority though, Shea dropping a simple ball into the area, Amari'i Bell then needlessly trying to clear with no danger around him, getting in all sorts of trouble and only just able to get back to prevent Amine Bassi from unleashing his shot.

Still, the Hatters couldn't exact any control though, and they paid the price just two minutes before half time, as Collins' throw caught Town's midfield square, with Carlton Morris getting the better of an unusually erratic Naismith and the sliding Osho to go through and coolly dink Shea.

After the break, Benson had a go from 25 yards, Shea solidly behind his free kick, before Bell then set off a wonderful run on the left, delivering a cross for Cornick to sidefoot wide.

Jones opted to bring on Fred Onyedinma for Osho, swapping to a 4-3-3, and it worked within seconds, the sub bursting on to a loose ball in the area, tripped by Collins for a clear spot-kick.

The Tykes players delayed the effort as much as they could, appealing for a handball, while Collins almost refused to get back on his line, standing on the six yard box, somehow avoiding punishment from Davies.

Try as they might, they couldn't put off Adebayo, who despite missing his last attempt at Nottingham Forest in November, kept his cool impressively to hammer his shot into the top corner for a 13th of the season.

He might have had a 14th moments later, Cornick sprinting away on the right and picking out his strike partner, who just couldn't sort his feet out in time, the effort dribbling behind.

Luton almost had breathing space, Campbell unable to grow enough inches at the back post to get over Onyedinma's deflected cross, the sub continuing to live things up since his introduction.

Cornick sent a header straight at Collins, who was now getting roundly booed whenever the ball came near him, as Town with Onyedinma in particular causing problem, were far more comfortable, Barnsley's first half confidence draining away as the finally looked a side who appear doomed for League One this term.

They still might have snatched a point though to extend their Indian sign over the Hatters, Romal Palmer's effort from range flying into the stands, before fortunately for Luton, Styles' glancing header in stoppage time dropped wide.

Hatters: James Shea, James Bree, Amari'i Bell, Reece Burke, Gabe Osho (Fred Onyedinma 55), Kal Naismith (C), Henri Lansbury, Allan Campbell, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Harry Cornick (Peter Kioso 80), Elijah Adebayo (Danny Hylton 85).

Subs not used: Jed Steer, Dan Potts, Carlos Mendes Gomes, Tom Lockyer.

Tykes: Bradley Collins, Callum Styles, Liam Kitching, Mads Andersen ©, Josh Benson (Romal Palmer 78), Carlton Morris, Claudio Gomes, Remy Vita (Jordan Williams 64), Amine Bassi (Devante Cole 64), Domingos Quina, Michal Helik.

Subs not used: Jack Walton, Jordan Williams, Aaron Leya Iseka, William Hondermarck, Aapo Halme.

Booked: Collins 59, Mpanzu 86, Anderson 89.

Referee: Andy Davies.

Attendance: 9,101 (306 Barnsley).