'Bittersweet' milestone for Mpanzu as Luton midfielder reaches 300 games for the Hatters in Baggies defeat

Former Hammer on target as Town almost grab a point

By Mike Simmonds
Sunday, 15th August 2021, 1:43 pm
Updated Sunday, 15th August 2021, 1:44 pm
Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu puts his opponent under pressure at the Hawthorns
Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu puts his opponent under pressure at the Hawthorns

Hatters midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu felt it was a ‘bittersweet’ moment to reach 300 games for the club during yesterday’s 3-2 defeat at West Bromwich Albion.

The 27-year-old, who signed for Luton back in December 2013 from West Ham United, on loan initially, making the move permanent a month later, became only the 23rd player in the club’s history to achieve the feat at the Hawthorns and the first since Jake Howells back in January 2015.

However, with Town ultimately going home empty-handed, it meant the day was slightly tainted for Mpanzu, who said: “It’s bittersweet, obviously it’s great to get 300 appearances but to get an L today, it’s tough.

"A proud moment for me, 300 appearances can come and go, but three points is what we wanted today, at least a minimum a draw, but we didn’t get that today.

“It is (a big moment), the belief that club has in me and myself, trying to keep fit, keep trying to play as many games as I can.

"The best availability is being available, so it’s try to be selected every week and try to perform week in week out.

"Luton have given me that and I’m trying to give it back every way I can.”

Mpanzu did manage to mark the day by getting on the scoresheet, with his 20th goal for the club, scoring in the eighth minute of stoppage time after 16 were added on for the head injury to Jordan Clark to make it 3-2.

He pounced from just a few yards out to tap home after Harry Cornick’s shot was blocked following after a defensive error from the Baggies, as the midfielder continued: “I’ve spoken to Chris (Cohen, first team coach), I’ve spoken to the gaffer and I want to contribute more goals, goal contributions, goal assists, that's what I’ve got to do.

“I was there following up, made the run into the box, Harry Cornick turned and shot, cramped after, but I followed it up.

“You’ve always got to follow up as we knew they played a high line, keeper comes out, fortunately I was there to tap it in.

“It’s nice to get a goal, but when you don't get a win or come away with a point, it's not meaningless, but it doesn't feel as great as it would be.”

The one record it did end though was Luton’s 18-match unbeaten run when Mpanzu has scored previously, Town earning 17 wins and one draw.

He added: “Records are meant to be broken, unfortunately it’s gone today.

"Getting on the scoresheet, today isn't so joyous but you've got to keep going as these things happen, next game hopefully I score and we win.”