Hatters let a three-goal lead slip as Swansea net stoppage time equaliser

Championship: Luton Town 3 Swansea City 3

By Mike Simmonds
Saturday, 18th September 2021, 5:55 pm
Updated Saturday, 18th September 2021, 5:56 pm
Luke Berry fires home an acrobatic volley to open the scoring against Swansea this afternoon
Luke Berry fires home an acrobatic volley to open the scoring against Swansea this afternoon

For the third game running, Luton were involved in a game with a stoppage time equaliser, although this time it wasn't the Hatters celebrating as Swansea City hit back from 3-0 down at half time to earn a point at Kenilworth Road.

After a first period in which the Hatters simply bossed proceedings, scoring three times, they looked to have the points in the bag on the hour mark when Harry Cornick was played clean through by Elijah Adebayo.

Faced with just Ben Hamer to beat and add a fourth that would have surely killed off the Swans, Cornick could only sidefoot against the inside of the post, City making them pay wit three goals in the final 25 minutes to secure what had looked an unlikely share of the spoils.

Boss Nathan Jones made two changes for the contest, Adebayo and Gabe Osho coming into the side for Cameron Jerome, who dropped to the bench and Amari'i Bell, who dropped out completely.

For the third game running though, Luton were forced into a change prior to kick-off, although this time it was among the substitutes, Danny Hylton missing out, with youth teamer Aidan Francis-Clarke named instead, although there was a return for Jordan Clark following his sickening collision against West Bromwich Albion last month.

Osho began at left back rather the holding role it had looked like he might occupy, as Jones stuck with his three man defence, the hosts starting with a real spring in their step.

The Hatters took the lead after just seven minutes with a marvellous finish, Cornick, who didn't need a towel to launch his long throw into the area, did just that, and when the ball was headed up into the air, Luke Berry took off to unleash a magnificent flying acrobatic volley which simply thundered past Hamer.

The visitors came with a clear gameplan in mind, which was to play out of the back at all costs, almost coming a cropper when gifting the ball straight to Henri Lansbury, who found Adebayo and he slammed over the top.

There was no such missing the target on 15minutes though when Cornick did superbly to nick the ball off Kyle Naughton, who then tripped him just inside the box for a clear penalty.

Adebyao took the ball and fairly hammered it past Hamer who had gone the right way for his second of the season, but first since the opening day.

Berry sent a left footer over the top as Town scented blood, with Swansea unable to find a plan B or C, other than a Liam Walsh free kick from 25 which was wide.

Luton's terrific start was then cemented with a truly wonderful goal on 23 minutes when Naismith, who had already found Cornick with one lovely outside of the boot pass, released a stunning crossfield pass to the right for the onrushing James Bree.

The defender controlled it in full light, looked up and slid an inch perfect cross to the back post for Adebayo to double his tally, tapping into the net from close range.

Still Luton sniffed blood, Naismith heading Lansbury's corner over the bar, as Adebayo should have completed a 18-minute hat-trick, racing through on goal, City caught square by Osho's clearance, but took a heavy touch and ended up toe-poking wide when faced with just Hamer to beat.

With the first half entering stoppage time, Swansea had their best chance, Ethan Laird doing well on the right and his cross was volleyed wide by Jamie Paterson from a few yards out.

The visitor made a triple substitution at the break, Olivier Ntcham, Ben Cabango and top scorer Joel Piroe on as they fired some early warning shots, Michael Obafemi rifling narrowly over and then Paterson clipping the bar from 20 yards.

Still Luton pressed themselves, Osho foraging down the left, his cross sliced off target by fellow full back Bree.

Just before the hour mark, Town wasted a glorious chance to sew the game up once and for all, Mpanzu doing superbly on the left to power away and keep the ball in play before finding Adebayo.

He unselfishly teed up Cornick rather than go for a treble, but with just the keeper to beat, the attacker could only hit the frame of the goal, with Bree's spectacular overhead effort from the rebound going straight to Hamer.

Luton were left to rue that miss almost immediately, as on 66 minutes, the Swans had one back, Paterson's shot deflecting off Naismith to beat Sluga who got a good hand to it, but couldn't prevent it from bouncing over the line.

Naismith sent a free kick over the top, but City kept on going, Piroe finding space to sidefoot his volley into the visiting fans behind the goal, the half time replacement then putting another decent sighter over.

Just as Luton looked like they had seen out the danger, their nerve were jangling once more with five minutes left, as Ntcham took aim from 25 yards, his effort hitting Mpanzu, veering away from the motionless Sluga, to find the top corner.

As the game entered stoppage time though, Swans had the goal they had been threatening, Piroe left in acres of space to clinically find the bottom corner.

The Hatters might have then won it themselves, Naismith's header straight at Hamer, before City almost left with all three points too, Sluga and Osho involved in a mix-up, as Obafemi was denied a decider by the outstretched legs of Lockyer and Burke.

Hatters: Simon Sluga, James Bree, Kal Naismith (C), Reece Burke, Tom Lockyer, Gabe Osho, Henri Lansbury, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Luke Berry (Jordan Clark 61) , Harry Cornick (Cameron Jerome 76), Elijah Adebayo (Glen Rea 90).

Subs not used: James Shea, Dion Pereira, Danny Hylton, Carlos Mendes Gomes.

Swans: Ben Hamer, Ryan Bennett, Ryan Manning, Flynn Downes (Joel Piroe 46), Matt Grimes ©, Michael Obafemi, Jamie Paterson, Kyle Naughton, Ethan Laird, Liam Walsh (Olivier Ntcham 46), Rhys Williams (Ben Cabango 46).

Subs not used: Steven Benda, Jay Fulton, Korey Smith, Joel Latibeaudiere.

Bookings: Lansbury 28, Manning 28, Naismith 47.

Referee: Tony Harrington.

Attendance: 9,721 (831 Swans).