Collins misses from the spot as Luton are held by Boro

Championship: Luton 1 Middlesbrough 1

Saturday, 1st May 2021, 5:13 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd May 2021, 2:22 pm
Glen Rea stoops to put Luton 1-0 in front this afternoon

Striker James Collins was unable to be the hero from the spot once more as the Hatters were held to a 1-1 draw by Middlesbrough at Kenilworth Road this afternoon.

With just 19 minutes to go, the hosts were awarded a spot-kick once Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall was felled in the area by former Manchester United defender Paddy McNair.

Collins stepped up to try and notch his 14th of the season, but unlike his starring role against Watford when he came off the bench to find the net with his first touch, this time Boro keeper Jordan Archer guessed right to make a comfortable save.

It was the second time this season that Luton's top scorer had failed from the spot against Boro, as although he did find the net at the Riverside back in December, it was ruled out for a double kick by the striker, as the Hatters went down to a 1-0 defeat.

Home boss Nathan Jones had made three changes to the side following the 3-2 victory at Bristol City last Sunday, with both goalscoring substitutes Harry Cornick and Collins in from the start, joined by Glen Rea, as Ryan Tunnicliffe and Kazenga LuaLua dropped to the bench, Jordan Clark missing out completely.

Town skipper Sonny Bradley made an important block inside his own six yard box from Grant Hall early on, as the Boro defender was then involved at the other end, getting a vital header to turn Harry Cornick's dangerous cross over his own goal, for one of five Hatters corners before the midway point of the half.

Luton made their set-piece dominance pay on 19 minutes though, with their sixth flag-kick, Kal Naismith's downward header from James Bree's delivery clawed up and on to the bar by keeper Archer, only for the stooping Glen Rea to nod the loose ball home.

The lead lasted barely 30 seconds though as the hosts just didn't switch on from the restart, allowing Boro to break on the left and Marvin Johnson's dinked cross was met by a completely unmarked Duncan Watmore whose header deflected past Sluga off the unfortunate Naismith.

With both teams then not creating too much in terms of goalscoring chances, it wasn't until the 35 minutes that Luton went close again, Collins hooking an acrobatic volley over the top after Rea's header fell to him.

Some astonishing play from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, who shrugged off his marker despite being clearly held back, led to a wonderful chance for Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu who just had to pull the trigger on his left foot, but lacking confidence, opted to come back on to his right and the ball was nicked off his toe by a covering defender.

After the break, Bree produced an excellent free kick from the right that Collins couldn't divert on target, while the visitors' £25m winger Yannick Bolasie, on loan from Everton, whistled over after getting the better of Matty Pearson.

Town bravely threw themselves in the way of two piledrivers, Pearson ensuring there was no way through for George Saville.

With 65 minutes gone, Adebayo had huge shouts for a penalty as after getting the better of Marc Bola, he then went to ground, only to see referee Jeremy Simpson remain unmoved, waving the vociferous appeals away.

Six minutes later, Simpson was pointing to the spot though, only for Collins to be denied by Archer.

From the resulting corner, Town should have moved ahead, Mpanzu unable to keep his composure, whacking well wide as the ball dropped invitingly for him.

With 12 minutes left, Boro had a great chance to move ahead themselves, Bola's excellent cross from the flank found Bolasie who couldn't pick out the top corner with his header.

The woodwork came to Luton's rescue when Saville's close range shot deflected off Bradley and hit the underside of the bar, Town immediately attacking themselves, Dewsbury-Hall's cross finding Bree who fired a cross-shot that was just out of substitute Sam Nombe's reach.

It was the same outcome for the on-loan MK Dons striker when Adebayo took advantage of some hesitancy from Hall, as Town might have won it at the death, Dewsbury-Hall doing superbly to skate past two men and tee up Mpanzu, who opted to use his left foot this time, shanking into the stands.

Hatters: Simon Sluga, James Bree, Kal Naismith, Matty Pearson, Sonny Bradley ©, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Glen Rea, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Harry Cornick (George Moncur 71), James Collins (Sam Nombe 83), Elijah Adebayo.

Subs not used: James Shea, Martin Cranie, Joe Morrell, Dion Pereira, Kazenga LuaLua, Dan Potts, Ryan Tunnicliffe.

Boro: Jordan Archer, Marvin Johnson, Grant Hall, Yannick Bolasie (Josh Coburn 83), Jonny Howson (C), Paddy McNair, Duncan Watmore, Neeskens Kebano, George Saville, Marc Bola, Hayden Coulson.

Subs not used: Marcus Bettinelli, Djed Spence, Hayden Hackney, Williams Kokolo, Connor Malley, Jack Robinson.

Bookings: Rea 75.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson.