Berry on target as Luton claim a point against Blackburn

Championship: Luton Town 1 Blackburn Rovers 1
Luke Berry steals in to put Luton in front against Blackburn RoversLuke Berry steals in to put Luton in front against Blackburn Rovers
Luke Berry steals in to put Luton in front against Blackburn Rovers

Luton picked up an excellent point with a 1-1 draw against Blackburn Rovers at Kenilworth Road this afternoon to continue their lengthy unbeaten league run against the visitors.

The Hatters had never tasted defeat to their Lancashire opponents in 19 previous meetings and looked all set to register another win on that record when Luke Berry arrived to put the hosts in front on 69 minutes.

The advantage was to last just three minutes though, Town switching off defensively allowing Sam Gallagher to equalise, as they had to make do with a draw to extend their impressive sequence to a round 20.

A draw was a fair result on the whole though, as although the Hatters had the better of both the start of the first and second half, there was no doubting Rovers' attacking prowess, top scorers in the division and with Adam Armstong and Ben Brereton upfront, plus exciting Liverpool youngster Harvey Elliot pulling the strings, a;ways a threat from start to finish.

Town made two changes from the 1-1 draw at Huddersfield a fortnight ago, with Rhys Norrington-Davies and Elliot Lee back in the starting line-up for James Collins and Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu.

The recalled Norrington-Davies was involved in two of the best early moments, with his low cross gathered by keeper Thomas Kaminski, who appeared to have a penchant for being well outside his box during the game, making him a definite candidate for a long-range chip.

He was almost picking the ball out of his net on five minutes, Norrington-Davies looking to have recaptured his early season form, cutting on to his right foot and only missing the bottom corner from 20 yards by inches.

It looked like Town had the lead from a well-worked corner moments later, Sonny Bradley heading back into the danger area when Lee connected from 10 yards, his blockbuster cannoning off a defender, the follow-up also smuggled away.

Moncur then went for goal himself as Luton made an excellent start to proceedings, before Rovers were quick showed their danger, Brereton forcing Simon Sluga into an excellent stop from his downward header, although unbeknown to the Croatian stopper, the whistle was about to go for a push by the striker.

Town's impressive opening began to be negated as Blackburn gained a foothold, Sluga again called into action on 20 minutes when Scott Wharton was left completely unmarked from a corner, Armstrong flagged offside as he tucked away the rebound.

The game then settled down into a very watchable and even affair, with Moncur's work-rate catching the eye, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall starting to get on the ball and making things tick too, Matty Pearson unable to divert his corner on target.

Visiting midfielder Joe Rothwell had commented before the match that Town were a side Blackburn should 'expect to beat', but Tony Mowbray's men certainly weren't finding it that way during a testing opening 45 minutes.

Moments before the break, Blackburn threatened again, Harvey Elliot's free kick glancing off Pearson's head and on to the roof of the net, with the following corner nodded wide by Darragh Lenihan.

As they had in the first period, Town began the brighter after the interval, with a clever passing move seeing Dewsbury-Hall release Moncur on the left, his drilled effort drawing a big stop from Kaminski, who stood up strongly at his near post.

Dewsbury-Hall then went for goal himself, collecting a clearance and driving across the area, but falling backwards, his tame effort dribbled through to Kaminski.

Rovers though, as they had before half time, steadied the ship and had a fine chance of their own, Wharton in acres of space to smash wide from just outside the box.

Ahead of the hour mark, Jones made two of his allowed five substitutions after the EFL's rule change earlier in the week, with Collins and James Bree on for Lee and Cornick.

The game then started to become far more stretched affair as both sides sensed an opener, Rothwell's viciously swerving potshot bringing a brilliant stop from Sluga who not only changed direction quickly, prevented the effort rolling free too.

Town's subs then almost combined for the opener, with Dewsbury-Hall winning the ball back well and finding Bree whose dinked cross was nodded over at the back post by Collins.

Armstrong then put an inviting chance over as from his high standards, he would have expected to test Sluga, Town swiftly making them pay, taking the lead on 69 minutes.

Collins gained possession on the right, switching to his less favoured left foot, as a slipping in the act of shooting confused the visitors' defence, Berry gambling to slide and toepoke an effort beyond Kaminski.

Rather than consolidate their lead, Luton were pegged back three minutes later, conceding in almost the same fashion to as they had during last season's final day 3-2 win, a deep cross met by Armstrong who headed back across goal for sub Gallagher to stab into the net, just as he had done a few months previously.

Jones brought on Kazenga LuaLua and Mpanzu for goalscorer Berry and Moncur, LuaLua winning a corner which was delivered in for Rea to almost make it 2-1, his header excellently clawed away by Kaminski.

During the final stages, Rovers upped their tempo, dominating both possession and territory with Luton struggling to clear their lines at times.

They were almost left empty-handed, Sluga smothering Brereton's effort and then getting up quickly to make another brave stop to prevent that man Rothwell from sealing what would have been a cruel victory for the visitors.

Jones' side had a few slices of luck too, Norrington-Davies hauling back Armstrong, only to see nothing given, while Brereton was booked for a perceived dive by official Gavin Ward, Martin Cranie clearly looking like he had brought him down on the edge of the box with what was virtually the final kick of the game.

Hatters: Simon Sluga, Martin Cranie (Ryan Tunnicliffe 90), Rhys Norrington-Davies, Matty Pearson, Sonny Bradley ©, Glen Rea, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Luke Berry (Kazenga LuaLua 77), George Moncur (Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu 77), Harry Cornick (James Bree 59), Elliot Lee (James Collins 59).

Subs not used: James Shea, Tom Lockyer, Jordan Clark, Sam Nombe.

Rovers: Thomas Kaminski, Bradley Johnson, Adam Armstrong, Joe Rothwell, Barry Douglas, Harvey Elliot, Tom Trybull (Sam Gallagher 68), Ben Brereton, Joe Rankin-Costello (Ryan Nambe 76), Darragh Lenihan ©, Scott Wharton.

Subs not used: Stewart Downing, Aynsley Pears, Amari'i Bell, Jacob Davenport, John Buckley, Hayden Carter, Tyrhys Dolan.

Booked: Rothwell 31, Johnson 70, Elliot 81, Brereton 90.

Referee: Gavin Ward.