Iversen's own goal hands Luton a first victory at Preston since 1972

Championship: Preston North End 0 Luton Town 1

Saturday, 20th March 2021, 5:19 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd March 2021, 4:02 pm
Kal Naismith gets stuck in during Luton's 1-0 win at Preston this afternoon

A unfortunate late own goal from Preston keeper Daniel Iversen saw Luton win at Deepdale for the first time since January 1972 as they reached 50 points with a hard-fought 1-0 victory this afternoon.

The Hatters were having the better of a scrappy game, but it looked like they would be forced to settle for a share of the spoils until seven minutes remaining.

Then, a fine cross from Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, who was Town's best attacking player throughout the 90 minutes was met by Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, with Iversen making a tremendous point blank save, only to then divert James Collins' follow up into his own net.

That was enough for the Hatters to end an almost 50-year wait for victory at the Lilywhites, as they also reached the magical target of a half century of points, which will mean they stay in the second tier for a third consecutive season, with nine games still to go.

The Hatters were unchanged as they kept the same side who beat Coventry City 2-0 in midweek, although Welsh international Tom Lockyer was fit enough to return to the bench.

Nathan Jones opted to start with a four man defence though, Glen Rea advancing out of the back-line and into the holding midfield role for the formation that had looked far more comfortable when ending the Sky Blues game.

A scrappy opening 10 minutes was only briefly enlivened when Harry Cornick broke on the right hand side, with the ball teed up to Elijah Adebayo whose left-footed attempt was deflected behind.

Bar a Sepp Van Den Berg header from a corner that flew harmlessly over, the hosts didn't threaten once, with the half hour mark seeing a Cornick strike that was charged down the only noteworthy moment.

Luton did start to show the odd glimpse of quality, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu twisting his hips to beat a man and set up a crossing chance, before he then had a go from 25 yards, a deflecting taking his drive narrowly off target.

Lilywhites keeper Daniel Iversen collected Adebayo's cross-shot , before he was properly extended just prior to the break, getting down well to touch James Bree's 30-yard skimmer behind.

The corner was then cleared as far as Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall whose angled volley dropped just wide of Iversen's goal to bring the curtain down on a fairly uninspiring half of football.

After the break, Preston had the odd flicker of excitement when Scott Sinclair sporadically advanced into the area but Luton created the best chance on 56 minutes when Bree's cross from the right was headed firmly by Adebayo, Iversen making an excellent low save to his left.

Luton then had Simon Sluga to thank for bravely keeping the scores goalless on 71 minutes when the visiting defence appealed for an offside flag that wasn't forthcoming, the Croatian diverting Ched Evans' close range effort behind before getting clattered.

Town brought on James Collins and Sam Nombe for the final 15 minutes, to follow Tom Ince's earlier introduction, as Ben Whiteman and Bree exchanged speculative attempts that sailed into the stands.

Ince produced some clever skill to manufacture a shooting opportunity which was charged away, dragging a second effort that Collins rather ungainly diverted behind.

However, with seven to go, Town struck, as they do so often late in a game on their travels, with Collins claiming it, but it will no doubt go down as Iversen's aberration.

In the closing stages, Tom Barkhuizen's long throw was flicked on as Sluga finger-tipped away, before Sean Maguire hooked the rebound well over.

Luton should have added to their margin of victory when Nombe was sent clean through by Mpanzu's lovely long pass out defence, only for his radar to go awry when sizing up the bottom corner.

However, a very ordinary Preston side couldn't mount anything remotely resembling a fight back as Town can go into the international break safe in the knowledge they will be in the second tier once more next term.

Lilywhites: Daniel Iversen, Sepp Van Den Berg, Liam Lindsay, Daniel Johnson (C Billy Bodin 80), Jordan Storey, Joe Rafferty, Ben Whiteman, Ryan Ledson, Ched Evans (Brad Potts 80), Scott Sinclair (Sean Maguire 66), Anthony Gordon (Tom Barkhuizen 66).

Subs not used: Connor Ripley, Paul Gallagher, Emil Riis, Jayson Molumby, Paul Huntington.

Hatters: Simon Sluga, James Bree, Matty Pearson, Glen Rea, Kal Naismith, Ryan Tunnicliffe (Tom Ince 70), Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Jordan Clark, Harry Cornick (Sam Nombe 75), Elijah Adebayo (James Collins 75).

Subs not used: James Shea, Joe Morrell, Luke Berry, Tom Lockyer, Kazenga LuaLua, Martin Cranie.

Referee: Thomas Bramall.