Hylton and Jerome on target as superb second half display from Luton sees the Hatters finally end Stoke hoodoo

Championship: Stoke City 1 Luton Town 2

By Mike Simmonds
Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 10:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 10:48 pm
Danny Hylton wheels away after opening the scoring for Luton this evening
Danny Hylton wheels away after opening the scoring for Luton this evening

Luton's habit under Nathan Jones of banishing long-standing hoodoos struck yet again this evening as they ended an 11-game winless run against Stoke City with a first victory over the Potters since December 2000.

Second half goals from Danny Hylton and Cameron Jerome were to prove the difference on another statement evening for the Hatters and manager Jones, who was triumphant on his return to his former club, as they kept up their play-off push with an eighth victory in 12.

The boss had made three changes from the 2-0 win against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, Hylton himself coming in, along with Harry Cornick and Reece Burke, Jerome and Admiral Muskwe dropping to the bench, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu missing out completely.

Defender James Bree made his 100th appearance for the Hatters, who lined up with Gabe Osho in midfield alongside Allan Campbell, Hylton playing just behind a front two of Elijah Adebayo and Cornick.

An even opening saw Town unable to quite make the most of their opportunities, although Adebayo was causing problems to the Stoke defence whenever he gained possession.

The Potters looked dangerous at times, but the best they could muster was a low attempt from Tyrese Campbell that Jed Steer comfortably gathered on 18 minutes, the on-loan stopper also displaying excellent handling from another fierce cross-shot moments later.

A scrappy affair laced with some increasingly bizarre calls from referee John Busby then ensued, one barge on Amari'i Bell somehow going unpunished with play continuing.

In the closing stages of the first half, Luton almost conceded after a needless mistake, Osho's pass lacking power, Tom Lockyer across bravely to deflect Nick Powell's effort behind.

Bell was almost in when his run was brilliantly seen by the left foot of fellow wing-back Bree, but he couldn't quite work out how to attack the delivery and it ended up running harmlessly out.

After the break, Luton were in the ascendancy immediately, almost in when Adebayo sprung Cornick away on the right who he did fantastically to hurdle a challenge and pick out Campbell, the midfielder denied by a wonderful last-ditch tackle from Joe Allen.

Town then took the lead with their first shot on target on 56 minutes with a wonderful strike, Bree finding Cornick who scampered down the flank once more.

He looked up and delivered a low cross that Hylton met first time to arrow his volley beyond a motionless Joe Bursik and into the bottom corner for his second of the season.

Luton should have doubled their advantage 62 minutes when Cornick once more did superbly to drive forward and thread the perfect through ball for Adebayo.

Clean through on Bursik, his side-footed attempt was well saved by the keeper, crucially preventing the striker from making it 2-0, which would have further deflated the already frustrated atmosphere inside the ground.

Cornick, now looking a threat every single time he got on the ball, continued to torment the Potters defence, one shot deflecting for Campbell to prod goalwards, Bursik able to fall on it.

With 20 minutes to go, Town were so close to adding to their lead once more, Adebayo sprinting on to a hopeful Hylton punt and with two defenders for company, twisted them inside and out.

Just when he looked to have beaten Bursik, a lunging Taylor Harwood-Bellis stuck a leg out from nowhere to block, Hatters' top scorer thumping the turf in frustration.

With Cornick off for Jerome, the former Stoke striker then had the desired impact as from an excellent short corner routine, Bree teed up Naismith whose first time cross was neatly turned home by the substitute for his second goal in as many games.

Just when it looked the contest was done, seven minutes of stoppage were signalled and in the second of those, the visitors switched off from a corner, Lewis Baker curling home a magnificent 25-yard effort to halve the deficit and get the nerves jangling.

However, the Hatters managed to defend the closing stages with real professionalism, ensuring Steer had little to do, as they headed home with another three points to move back up to eighth place and are now just two points off the top six.

Potters: Joe Bursik, Ben Wilmot, Liam Moore, Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Josh Tymon (Tommy Smith 64), Joe Allen (C), Lewis Baker, Nick Powell, Tyrese Campbell, Jaden Philogene-Bidace Jacob Brown 54), Josh Maja (Steven Fletcher 72)

Subs not used: Jack Bonham, Sam Cucas, Romaine Sawyers, D'Margio Wright-Phillips.

Hatters: Jed Steer, James Bree, Amari'i Bell, Tom Lockyer, Reece Burke, Kal Naismith (C), Gabe Osho, Allan Campbell (Peter Kioso 90), Harry Cornick (Cameron Jerome 75), Danny Hylton, Elijah Adebayo.

Subs not used: James Shea, Dan Potts, Carlos Mendes Gomes, Fred Onyedinma, Admiral Muskwe.

Booked: Campbell 29, Cornick 51, Lockyer 80, Powell 80, Hylton 82, Burke 90, Adebayo 90.

Referee: John Busby.

Attendance: 18,270 (581 Luton).