Luton suffer a severe case of the Blues for the second time this season with hefty defeat at Birmingham

Championship: Birmingham City 3 Luton 0

By Mike Simmonds
Saturday, 12th February 2022, 5:04 pm
Updated Saturday, 12th February 2022, 5:12 pm
Elijah Adebayo is put under pressure at Birmingham this afternoon
Elijah Adebayo is put under pressure at Birmingham this afternoon

Luton will be glad to see the back of Birmingham City this season after they lost their five game unbeaten run with yet another heavy defeat against the Blues this afternoon.

Battered 5-0 on home soil in August, the hosts racked up another three goals without reply at St Andrew's, as a dejected Town suffered their heaviest loss on the road this term.

The Hatters made just one change to the side who beat Barnsley 2-1 in midweek, Tom Lockyer returning at the expense of Gabe Osho who dropped to the bench.

It had looked like Town settled quickly against their struggling hosts, on the back of a four game winless run themselves, and whose fans were noticeable by the lack of noise emanating around St Andrew's as the players walked out, plus the ensuing hush that followed during the opening stages.

Luton had by far the better of proceedings without being that threatening, Amari'i Bell's instinctive toepoke when a ball dropped to him inside the area, the only real chance of note.

There was a brief stoppage when the Blues supporters, increasingly disenchanted with the manner in which the club is being run by their 'faceless' board, threw a number of tennis balls on to the pitch.

With an errant one launched on to the field as Adebayo was attacking on the left, a steward bizarrely decided that was the moment to run on and reclaim it, getting close enough to almost tackle Town's furious leading scorer, referee Darren Bond signalling a drop-ball.

After failing to even remotely test the visitors, Blues went ahead with their first attack on 25 minutes, Luton's usually solid defence being anything but on this occasion from Garry Gardner's right wing cross.

Lyle Taylor nipped in to win the ball and with James Shea unable to take it off his toes for fear of bringing him down, he teed up deadline day signing from Scottish Premier League side Rangers, Curaçao international midfielder Juninho Bacuna, who simply lofted his shot into the roof of the net.

The Hatters looked for a way back, Bell escaping on the left moments later, only to put his cross-shot too close to Etheridge.

A poor first half drew to a close, as with the second period no more than 15 seconds old, the Blues added to their tally, Henri Lansbury's touch wrong-footing his defence, sending Taylor clean through and as he usually does against Luton, comfortably beat Shea to find the net.

Hatters responded well though, Allan Campbell slicing a chance wide, before Reece Burke's wonderful crossfield ball was met on the run by James Bree, whose control was perfect, but he couldn't lift his shot over the oncoming Etheridge.

In a complete polar opposite to the first period, the game became an exciting and increasingly stretched encounter, Harry Cornick's touch letting him down he might have been in, Etheridge just about dealing with a difficult backpass.

Blues had chances too, Lockyer almost giving them an opening with his far too casual clearance, Gardner dragging wide as well.

Still Luton pressed, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu releasing Adebayo, whose near post cross was diverted behind by Campbell.

Jones then went fully on the attack just before the hour, bringing on Carlos Mendes Gomes and Fred Onyedinma for Lockyer and Lansbury.

If anything though, it led to another spell of pressure for City, as they would have had a third had Adebayo not been well positioned on the line to clear from Bacuna, although Shea looked to have been fouled when trying to claim the free kick.

The hosts then made their momentum pay, killing off any hopes of an unlikely comeback with 21 minutes to go, on-loan Norwich City winger Onel Hernandez left unmarked at the back post to collect a cross, take a touch and roll past Shea.

Confidence boosted, Bacuna unveiled some trickery on the byline to find Taylor and his curler was saved at the second attempt by Shea, while all the hosts players were encouraged to shoot, Jeremie Bela not missing by much.

Thankfully, Town kept their composure in the final stages this time to ensure it wasn't as embarrassing a defeat as in Bedfordshire, although they did drop to 10th in the table, and four points adrift of the play-off positions.

Blues: Neil Etheridge, Maxime Colin, Kristian Pedersen, Ryan Woods, Jeremie Bela (Jordan James 90), Teden Mengi, Gary Gardner ©, Juninho Bacuna (Ivan Sunjic 76), Jordan Graham, Onel Hernandez, Lyle Taylor (Lukas Jutkiewicz 74).

Subs not used: Connal Trueman, Remi Walker, Marcel Oakley, Tate Campbell.

Hatters: James Shea, James Bree, Amari'i Bell, Reece Burke, Tom Lockyer (Carlos Mendes Gomes 57), Kal Naismith (C), Henri Lansbury (Fred Onyedinma 57), Allan Campbell, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Harry Cornick (Gabe Osho 75), Elijah Adebayo.

Subs not used: Jed Steer, Dan Potts, Cameron Jerome, Danny Hylton.

Booked: Osho 88.

Referee: Darren Bond.