Luton up to fifth in the Championship after Adebayo's goal sinks Hull

Championship: Luton Town 1 Hull City 0

Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 6:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 9:04 am
Elijah Adebayo heads home the only goal of the game against Hull this afternoon

Luton shot up the table to sit in the Championship play-offs for the first time this season after a workmanlike 1-0 victory over struggling Hull City this afternoon.

Although never at their sparkling best to produce the kind of free-flowing attacking football that saw Coventry put to the sword recently, this win was no less important as it showed the Hatters are capable of doing the hard yards and grinding out a victory, such a vital asset to have at this level.

It also took Luton's tally of points for the week to seven, no mean feat after back-to-back away games at Millwall and Derby County, with the clean sheet a seventh of the season already for Nathan Jones' side, who are beginning to show signs of achieving their in-house ambitions, and becoming a top six team this term.

Jones made two changes to his side for the fixture as Fred Onyedinma returned following his goalscoring appearance from the bench during Tuesday night's 2-2 draw at Pride Park, Luke Berry back as well.

They replaced the suspended Kal Naismith, while Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu dropped to the bench, joining former Tigers defender Reece Burke.

For City, ex-Luton midfielder George Moncur was also named among the substitutes in his first trip back to Kenilworth Road since leaving in the summer.

Luton almost had the lead inside five minutes as Hull got themselves into trouble trying to clear, the ball looping back into the area and Berry's effort clipped a defender, trickling against the outside the of the post and put behind by a covering City player.

The Hatters kept the pressure on, Hull barely able to get out of their half during the opening exchanges, Town finally making the breakthrough on 17 minutes.

It was a goal of pure simplicity as well, Amari'i Bell finding Onyedinma out on the left and he did a few step-overs, before crossing to the back post where an unmarked Elijah Adebayo stooped to head past Ingram and into the net for his seventh of the season and sixth in seven outings.

Town were then forced into an early change on 22 minutes as Berry, who had injured himself when making a block tackle in midfield, couldn't carry on and was replaced by Mpanzu.

Despite having the lead, Luton couldn't really hammer home their advantage as they had done in the past, unable to gather any kind of momentum in what was a stop-start affair.

With six minutes to go to the break, the Hatters almost moved 2-0 in front though when a good burst by Adebayo saw him find Cornick, the ball transferred to out Onyedinma.

His cross was bizarrely chested clear by Ingram, who might have thought Jordan Clark was going to get a touch, although the keeper did well to keep out Glen Rea's first time deflected follow-up.

The visitors then had their first effort of note in the closing seconds, Mallik Wilks doggedly advancing forward, hit tame shot no trouble for Sluga.

Town were forced into a change at the break as Adebayo, who had excelled in the first period, with his hold-up play and present up front, couldn't recover from a slight injury in the closing stages, replaced by Cameron Jerome.

Luton weren't able to get going fully after the break, Jerome taking a while to get used to proceedings, but just before the hour, he did collect Rea's pass and find Clark whose low left-footer was gathered by Ingram.

The Hatters still struggled to go through the gears, passes often overhit or misplaced and they were in danger of it costing them what should have been a comfortable three points, Magennis connecting with Richard Smallwood's cross, sending his diving header wide.

Hull wasted a marvellous opportunity to level on 74 minutes, Sluga needlessly coming out to try and collect a ball forward, only for Keane Lewis-Potter to nip in.

With the goal vacant, Tom Eaves tried to tee up a team-mate rather than find the net himself, the impressive Rea back to make a crucial interception.

An equaliser was starting to look a distinct possibility, although not with efforts by Lewis-Potter, slicing miles wide after coming off his left flank.

Defender Burke, on against his former club might have sealed the win with three minutes to go, but rising to meet James Bree's corner, couldn't get enough on his header as it skewed behind.

The tiring Cornick then tried to race through the middle, but with the ball not sticking, City had enough men back to clear the danger, quickly springing Greg Docherty in the area.

However, his cross-shot flashed behind, Town digging deep in injury time to extend their unbeaten run to five games and ensure their supporters will enjoy checking out the league table no no doubt more than once over the weekend.

Hatters: Simon Sluga, James Bree, Tom Lockyer, Sonny Bradley ©, Amari'i Bell, Glen Rea , Jordan Clark, Luke Berry (Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu 22), Fred Onyedinma (Reece Burke 78), Harry Cornick, Elijah Adebayo (Cameron Jerome 46).

Subs not used: James Shea, Carlos Mendes Gomes, Allan Campbell, Admiral Muskwe, Reece Burke.

Tigers: Matt Ingram, Lewis Coyle, Callum Elder, Jacob Greaves, Richard Smallwood ©., Mallik Wilks (George Moncur 64), Greg Docherty, George Honeyman (Randell Williams 83), Keane Lewis-Potter, Di'Shon Bernard, Josh Magennis (Tom Eaves 69).

Subs not used: Josh Emmanuel, Andy Cannon, Sean McLoughlin, Harvey Cartwright.

Bookings: Bernard 27.

Referee: John Busby.

Attendance: 9,999 (793 Hull).