Late goal spree sees the Hatters triumph at 10-man Wycombe

Championship: Wycombe Wanderers 1 Luton Town 3

Saturday, 10th April 2021, 5:23 pm
Updated Monday, 12th April 2021, 1:20 pm
Elijah Adebayo celebrates his goal with team-mate Kazenga LuaLua

A brilliant spell of three goals in the final 10 minutes saw Luton come from behind to defeat 10-man Wycombe Wanderers and continue their proud record of never having lost at Adams Park in their history.

It had looked for large parts like the Hatters were going to be left frustrated on the road again, trailing 1-0 at half time, a scoreline they have yet to come back from this term, with little in the way of threats at home keeper David Stockdale.

However, that was to change drastically in the second period, as boss Nathan Jones went for broke with a spate of attacking changes from the word go, before the big moment seeing Wanderers' defender Josh Knight sent off for a lunging challenge on Jordan Clark just before the hour mark.

Still Luton couldn't find a way through, as they appeared on the verge of a third successive defeat, but once they did restore parity on 80 minutes through George Moncur's free kick, the floodgates opened, Kazenga LuaLua scoring a wonderful second and then Elijah Adebayo swiftly completing the rout.

The victory saw Luton score three on the road for the first time since a 3-1 win at Barnsley on August 24, 2019 and bolster a meagre away record that had seen them score just nine times previously this season.

The Hatters also won away from home after falling behind for the first time since a 2-1 success at Oxford United on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 in League One.

Before the late madness, the Hatters made four changes after Jones promised to go 'back to basics' following a second successive defeat over the Easter period, making four changes for the contest at Adams Park.

Back in came leading scorer James Collins, along with club captain Sonny Bradley, plus James Bree and Luke Berry, as Harry Cornick, Martin Cranie, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and Sam Nombe dropped to the bench.

The hosts went close first, Anis Mehmeti curling over from the edge of the box after a quickly-taken corner, but Luton looked to settle, trying to get in behind their opponents when possible.

Midway through the half, Kal Naismith, who impressed with his early forays into opposition territory, saw a drive fly well wide from 25 yards.

Luton were then fortunate not to concede a third penalty in three games, Uche Ikpeazu going down under pressure from Matty Pearson, but despite there being contact, referee Oliver Langford waved the appeals away.

Simon Sluga had to gather well from Fred Onyedinma's 25-yarder which bounced just in front of him, as Bradley saw yellow for lunging in on Admiral Muskwe, who went over theatrically despite there appearing to be no contact.

Wycombe did have a spot-kick though on 37 minutes and a controversial one at that, as Pearson went down on the touch-line claiming he had received an arm to the face from Ikpeazu, with Langford letting play continue.

The Chairboys attacker produced a cross from the left, which saw Naismith clip Muske inside the area, with a penalty awarded this time, Mehmeti beating Sluga from the spot, although the Croatian might have felt he should have saved his second in as many games.

Once more, Jones made changes at the break in a bid to get Town going, Cornick and Dewsbury-Hall on for Tunnicliffe and Berry.

Moving to a 4-2-4 formation when attacking, Luton almost restored parity early on, Bree's clipped cross finding Clark whose reverse ball was fired goalwards by Dewsbury-Hall, Stockdale parrying behind.

Jones quickly threw on Kazenga LuaLua for Bree, clearly going all-out for the victory, while Wanderers were reduced to 10 men on 57 minutes, Knight shown a straight red for his challenge on Clark.

With the man advantage and having such a forward-thinking line-up, it became a contest of attack versus defence, LuaLua picking out Collins for a chance on 65 minutes, who side-footed disappointingly over the top.

Town kept pressing, as Cornick swung a cross in from the right and Adebayo connected sweetly with a powerful volley only to miss the target.

With 18 minutes to go, Collins was inches away from an equaliser, Adebayo feeding the run of Dewsbury-Hall, whose cross beat Stockdale, but Anthony Stewart stretched to divert the ball clear just ahead of the Town forward, with Luton screaming for a spot-kick of their own.

Jones kept on bolstering his creative outlets, Moncur on for the final 15 minutes, and it was he who brought the Hatters level, in some style too after Wycombe conceded a free kick 25 yards from goal.

As he has done on a number of occasions in his Town career, the midfielder curled his set-piece around the wall and into the bottom corner, beyond the sprawling dive of Stockdale.

The goal then served to perk up Wycombe, sub Alex Samuel testing Sluga from outside the box, but Luton then turned things around in magnificent style with five left.

A short corner routine saw Moncur find LuaLua on the edge of the box and he bent a truly magnificent strike into the top corner, giving Stockdale absolutely no chance at all.

Clearly not wanting to give their hosts any respite, Luton should have had a third goal when Mpanzu found Adebayo who could only hook over on his left foot.

The forward did have his goal on 88 though, Cornick sprung on the right and his high cross saw Adebayo hang in the air to power his header into the roof of the net.

The goal finally saw Luton move off 50 points having been stuck on that number since their 1-0 win at Preston, climbing to 13th in the table and also overhauling their final tally from last season too, marking another campaign of progress under Jones.

Chairboys: David Stockdale, Jack Grimmer, Anthony Stewart, Uche Ikpeazu (Alex Samuel 78), Josh Knight, Admiral Muskwe (Adebayo Akinfenwa 84), Curtis Thompson, Fred Onyedinma, Dennis Adeniran, Jason McCarthy ©, Anis Mehmeti (David Wheeler 62).

Subs not used: Ryan Allsop, Alex Pattison, Scott Kashket, Giles Phillips, Daryl Horgan, Garath McLeary.

Hatters: Simon Sluga, James Bree (Kazenga LuaLua 54), Kal Naismith, Matty Pearson (George Moncur 77), Sonny Bradley, Ryan Tunnicliffe (Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall 46), Luke Berry (Harry Cornick 46), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Jordan Clark, Elijah Adebayo, James Collins (Glen Rea 90).

Subs not used: James Shea, Joe Morrell, Martin Cranie, Sam Nombe.

Booked: Bradley 31.

Sent off: Knight 57.

Referee: Oliver Langford.