Adebayo scores late on to rescue a point for the Hatters at Derby
Championship: Derby County 2 Luton Town 2
Town striker Elijah Adebayo scored a late equaliser as Luton hit back twice to extend their unbeaten run to four games in a battling 2-2 draw at Derby County this evening.
It looked like the Hatters would once again suffer defeat at Pride Park, a ground they have never won at, until Adebayo took advantage of a mistake by home keeper Ryan Allsop to net his sixth of the season and earn the visitors a point.
Luton boss Nathan Jones went with an unchanged side for the clash following their 2-0 win at Millwall on Saturday, while Derby, who began the evening bottom of the table following their 12-point deduction for entering administration last month, threatened first, Max Bird off target from 20 yards.
Although not doing a great deal in terms of attacking sense, the Rams dominated possession in the first 20 minutes, Kal Naismith picking up a booking for a rash challenge that rules him out of Saturday's home game with Hull City.
Derby broke the deadlock though, when Luton were caught out trying to play the ball out from the back, skipper Sonny Bradley having his pocket picked, allowing Kamil Jozwiak to find the unmarked Tom Lawrence who struck firmly into the bottom corner, ending Town's run of three successive clean sheets.
Jordan Clark tried to restore parity immediately, his ambitious 25-yard snapshot skidding off target, but boss Jones, clearly annoyed by what he was witnessing and worried over the booking for Naismith, made two changes on the half hour, withdrawing the Scottish defender and Clark for two attacking options in Fred Onyedinma, getting his first action since late August, and Admiral Muskwe.
Rams attacker Ravel Morrison saw his claims for a penalty turned down by referee Geoff Eltringham after tricking his way past Tom Lockyer and going over inside the area under pressure from Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, much to the frustration of the ex-Manchester United youngster.
Jason Knight's blasted into the stands as despite the double substitution, Luton didn't appear to have any more of a foothold in the contest.
Experienced defender Phil Jagielka's hooked volley was straight at Sluga, before the keeper's clearance saw Cornick do superbly to win the ball from Nathan Byrne and deliver an inviting cross that Muskwe headed wide via a deflection.
Whatever Jones said to his side at the break clearly worked, as the Hatters were level just three minutes into the second period, Muskwe doing well to win a throw which was launched into the box by Cornick.
It flicked off a home defender, with Onyedinma charging into bundle the ball over the line and equalise, Town's first goal at Pride Park since Boxing Day, 2005 when Ahmet Brokvic was on target.
The Rams almost retook the lead straight away, Morrison's jinking run causing havoc, his through ball was met by Knight, who under pressure from Sluga could only divert over the bar.
With the contest finally opening up, Luton went close, Cornick's cross dropping for Adebayo whose goalbound shot had the string taken out of it by a terrific last-ditch block from Jagielka.
Despite Town's pressure, it was Derby who had their noses in front again, Knight rolling Bell inside the box and then powering a shot that went through Sluga's legs, the keeper once again not enjoying his trip to the East Midlands.
Luton made their third change with Henri Lansbury on, as they tried for a second leveller, Bradley heading Bree's free kick over and Cornick prodding the full back's cross wide.
Lawrence attempted to settle the contest from 25 yards, his fizzer always veering away from goal, but with seven minutes of normal time remaining, the Hatters were level once more, courtesy of an error from Allsop.
The former Wycombe stopper came charging out to try and claim Bree's dinked cross into the area when he should have stayed at home, Adebayo, who had a tough evening against the Rams' centre backs, rising highest to cushion his header into the empty net.
Luton were inches away from a third when Adebayo won a flick on, with Onyedinma latching on to the ball, his chip from the tightest of angles beating the back-pedalling Allsop but bouncing off the top of the bar.
Despite the result, the Hatters actually moved up a place in the table to ninth, and now face Hull this weekend looking to make it a more than healthy return of seven points for the week.
Rams: Ryan Allsop, Nathan Byrne, Graeme Shinnie, Phil Jagielka, Kamil Jozwiak (Dylan Williams 82), Max Bird, Tom Lawrence ©, Ravel Morrison (Colin Kazim-Richards 74), Lee Buchanan, Curtis Davies, Jason Knight (Festy Ebosele 88).
Subs not used: Kelle Roos, Richard Stearman, Louie Sibley, Louie Watson.
Hatters: Simon Sluga, James Bree, Tom Lockyer, Sonny Bradley ©, Kal Naismith (Admirak Muskwe 31), Amari'i Bell, Glen Rea (Henri Lansbury 65), Jordan Clark (Fred Onyedinma 31), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Harry Cornick, Elijah Adebayo.
Subs not used: James Shea, Luke Berry, Cameron Jerome, Reece Burke.
Bookings: Naismith 15, Lawrence 90, Mpanzu 90.
Referee: Geoff Eltringham.
Attendance: 20,258 (1,057 Luton).