Lindelof grabs the only goal as Luton fall to narrow defeat at Manchester United
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Luton produced yet another battling display full of fighting spirit as they were edged out by Manchester United, who eased the pressure on manager Erik ten Hag with a narrow 1-0 victory this afternoon.
The visitors went with the same XI who produced a marvellous performance when drawing 1-1 against Liverpool last Sunday, although Luke Berry was fit enough to take his place on the bench.
Looking to take advantage of a Red Devils side who had lost four from their last six at home, Town simply didn’t have the ball in the opening stages, a needless VAR check for a handball against Carlton Morris thankfully brushed aside.
England attacker Marcus Rashford, eager to make up for his controversial red card against Copenhagen in midweek had an early sighter, lifting his attempt over following a poor clearance by Gabe Osho.
Luton were indebted to a magnificent stop on 10 minutes from Thomas Kaminski as Harry Maguire's clearance turned into a great pass for Rashford on the right.
He sent over a cross that deflected off Osho and landed perfectly for Rasmus Hojland whose prod goalwards from a matter of yards saw Kamsinki, as he had done against Aston Villa recently, throw out an arm to somehow deflect it away.
Luton did start to finally move their possession percentage stats into double figures with bursts upfield from Issa Kabore and Osho, although United threatened again on 15 minutes, Diogo Dalot's cross headed over by Scott McTominay.
Although they were getting a foothold, the hosts remained a threat, Maguire's ball out to the left wing taken on by Alejandro Garnacho, he advanced into the area with ease, lashing over the top.
Luton responded with their first attempt on target on 20 minutes, a meek one after some neat build-up play, Chiedozie Ogbene straight at Andre Onana from 18 yards.
Bruno Fernandes had a crack moments later, unable to keep his left footer down, as the odd murmur of discontent came through from the Old Trafford crowd when the hosts didn’t force things, their play often laboured and easy to defend against.
Having said that, Maguire took it on himself to get down the wing, Osho standing up well to make an important block as Hojlund looked to spin from close range.
Staying increasingly patient, Town had a let-off on the half hour, a corner finding the unmarked Rashford at the back post, his first time drive cannoning off Osho and flying fortunately wide.
With 10 minutes to go until the break, the Hatters then created their best opportunity when a poor clearing header fell to Kabore, whose cross was met by a fine header from Morris, drawing a decent stop by Onana.
When the hosts then tried to play their way out, Luton won it back and Andros Townsend had a crack, this one far easier for the Cameroon international.
United had to change the injured Christian Eriksen for £55m summer signing Mason Mount, the sub seeing Luton lose their defensive shape, Garnacho left completely unmarked.
He looked to round Kaminski, the Belgian holding him up enough for Town to get players back on the line, Tom Lockyer hammering the shot away from danger.
In the second period, Luton almost fell back into their ways of conceding immediately, a simple free kick played in and Hojlund's downward header bouncing wide.
Town looked to respond, Townsend going for glory from 25 yards, only to shoot well over, as at the other end, Sergio Reguilon couldn't keep his attempt down from inside the area when under pressure from ex-Red Devils' centre half Teden Mengi.
Just as they had done in the first half, United began to dominate the ball but unlike the first period, this time they made it count, a corner not cleared properly by the visitors and there was Viktor Lindelof to slam home from close range, finally breaking Town's resistance.
Edwards brought on ex-United midfielder Tahith Chong for Townsend straight away as Luton didn't let their heads drop, fashioning an opportunity for Barkley who once more was wayward from 20 yards.
United sniffed a second that you'd think would have been too much for the Hatters to come back from, Rashford released in the area and Kaminski doing well to stand up and repel his effort.
An injury to Doughty saw him forced off in the 72nd minute, as Jordan Clark came on to huge cheers from the away end in what was his first appearance since the play-off final and Premier League debut as well.
Chong won a free kick 20 yards out that saw Barkley shoot disappointingly straight into the wall, Clark getting back to make a wonderful block when Fernandes pulled the trigger.
Kaminski was determined to keep Luton in the game, getting down well to his left to parry McTominay's header away.
At the start of the season you wouldn’t have thought the Red Devils would be timewasting from goal kicks in order to cling on to a victory, but that was what was happening, such was the importance of three points to the hosts.
With time running out, Edwards made one final throw of the dice, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Elijah Adebayo and Ryan Giles on for Ogbene, Kabore and Nakamba as Luton looked to snatch yet another late goal.
It was United who looked the more likely though, but they didn’t have their shooting boots on, Dalot's volley always rising, as was Fernandes’ awful free kick.
Mengi almost had the fairy-tale he wanted in eight minutes of stoppage time, only to see his low drive gathered by Onana, as Town went into the international break with yet another valiant defeat.
Red Devils: Andre Onana, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes (C), Marcus Rashford, Rasmus Hojlund (Martial 78), Christian Eriksen (Mason Mount 40), Sergio Reguilon (Raphael Varane 79), Alejandro Garnacho (Antony 68), Diogo Dalot, Scott McTominay.
Subs not used: Altay Bayindir, Sofyan Amrabat, Facundo Pellistri, Kobbie Mainoo, Hannibal.
Hatters: Thomas Kaminski, Issa Kabore (Ryan Giles 85), Gabe Osho, Tom Lockyer (C), Teden Mengi, Alfie Doughty (Jordan Clark 72), Marvelous Nakamba (Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu 85), Ross Barkley, Andros Towsend (Tahith Chong 60), Chiedozie Ogbene (Elijah Adebayo 85), Carlton Morris.
Subs not used: Tim Krul, Jacob Brown, Luke Berry, Zack Nelson.
Booked: Kabore 73, Lockyer 90.
Referee: Graham Scott.