Naismith's stoppage time stunner earns Luton a famous win over Bournemouth

Championship: Luton Town 3 Bournemouth 2

By Mike Simmonds
Saturday, 15th January 2022, 4:15 pm
Updated Saturday, 15th January 2022, 4:18 pm
Kal Naismith is mobbed after scoring his magnificent late winner
Kal Naismith is mobbed after scoring his magnificent late winner

Kal Naismith's stunning winner in the final seconds of stoppage time saw Luton record a famous victory over Championship leaders Bournemouth in a game that had absolutely everything and more.

With the clock ticking to the end of its allotted seven extra minutes, Luton fashioned one last attack, Bree sending over a hanging cross from the right which was headed out to Naismith some 20 yards from goal.

He cushioned it out of the sky on his chest perfectly, chopped inside an oncoming Cherries opponent and then bent his shot beyond Mark Travers and into the bottom corner as Kenilworth Road erupted to sounds not heard since Scott Cuthbert headed in against Blackpool or George Moncur's free kick that famously downed Portsmouth.

The goal saw scenes of unbridled joy from players, management and supporters alike, manager Nathan Jones' inner Jose Mourinho coming out with a celebratory kneeslide, as referee Leigh Doughty immediately signalled the end to proceedings from the kick-off in what was an truly absorbing contest, which reminded everyone just why they turn up every week to watch football.

Ahead of what was to be a breathless 90 minutes, boss Nathan Jones made two changes from last Sunday's FA Cup victory against Harrogate Town, with Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu and Allan Campbell in for Henri Lansbury and Carlos Mendes Gomes.

Bournemouth had former Town defender Jack Stacey in their ranks, as the Cherries looked to dominate possession in the early stages, keeping the ball with incredible ease, Ryan Christie's low shot well gathered by James Shea.

Luton looked to nick the ball off their opponents high up, Campbell doing just that, but Elijah Adebayo was flagged narrowly offside from Jerome's pass.

The visitors then went for the direct approach, Jaidon Anthony's deep cross met by Christie who had escaped at the back post, Shea doing brilliantly to get down and palm his measured volley away, also saving Emiliano Marcondes' free kick at the second attempt too.

With Jerome offering Luton an out ball, holding up the play impressively alongside Adebayo, it led to a long throw from Amari'i Bell that was flicked goalwards by Reece Burke.

Visiting keeper Mark Travers punched away, before Mpanzu's deep cross was cleverly controlled on his chest by Naismith, his instinctive volley turned behind by the Irish international.

That was the start of Town's best spell, Jordan Clark to the fore on the left, tenaciously wriggling away from his man to send over two dangerous crosses, Naismith also having an ambitious blast blocked as Luton looked to throw some punches at their opponents.

Town gained just reward for their intensity on the half hour when Mpanzu's inviting delivery was flicked on by Sonny Bradley and fell to Adebayo.

He got the ball out of his feet to shoot goalwards, with Travers sticking out a leg to save well, only to hit the unfortunate Lloyd Kelly and rebound in to his own net, as the Cherries defender scored his second own goal in successive games against Luton.

Adebayo looked up for the contest, his shot deflecting wide, as Town thought they had doubled their lead on 36 minutes when Bree's corner was met by Bradley, leading to some pinball inside the area.

When a Cherries player slipped trying to clear, Campbell charged down the loose ball, before it rebounded off Adebayo to Jerome who tucked it in, Doughty signalling the goal.

The visiting players went straight to the linesman to complain vociferously and Doughty eventually opted to rule the goal out after consultations with his assistant, a good minute after it had gone in.

Boss Jones was understandably apoplectic with rage as the home fans let the officials know in no uncertain terms what they thought of the decision for the remainder of the contest, as although replays showed Jerome was a shade offside, there was no doubt the officials caved to the prolonged protests, with no VAR in use at this level.

Rather than let their anger fester, Luton used it to their advantage, Naismith stepping out of defence with real purpose and picked out the unmarked Campbell three minutes before the break.

He was allowed to advance, the visiting defenders almost daring him to shoot, and he did just that, arrowing a drive into the bottom corner with this time, the linesman's flag staying firmly by his side.

After the break, Luton saw their advantage halved six minutes in when Stacey showed the kind of form that saw him a fans favourite during his time in Bedfordshire with a terrific run on the right, beating two men before delivering an inch perfect cross for Marcondes to head home from point blank range.

With memories of their capitulation to Swansea from a few months back, the nerves might have been jangling among the home support, Marcondes' tantalising corner saw Jefferson Lerma's deflected header bounce off the top of the bar not once, but twice, before dropping behind.

Town were then forced into two changes with Campbell and Reece Burke both pulling up within a few minutes of each other, Fred Onyedinma and Gabe Osho coming on.

Some good harrassing by Clark saw Mpanzu fail to get enough on his effort, Travers saving comfortably.

Just when it looked like Town were starting to weather the storm, they were breached again with 12 to go, Bell unable to cut out a pass to half time sub Jamal Lowe who raced away.

He showed real trickery to break into the box and cut the ball back for fellow sub Morgan Rogers to slam home with just his second touch.

Rather than go into their shells though, Town managed to get back on the front foot, which is no mean feat given their lack of match action over the Christmas period.

They went route one, Shea's clearance taken out of the sky by Jordan Ckark whose left-footer was flipped over the top by Travers.

Still Luton went for it though, and they got their rewards through Naismith's moment of magic, adding to already rich list of 'I was there' moments to come out of this famous old ground.

Hatters: James Shea, James Bree, Reece Burke (Gabe Osho 65), Sonny Bradley, Kal Naismith, Amari'i Bell, Allan Campbell (Fred Onyedinma 60), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Jordan Clark, Cameron Jerome (Henri Lansbury 81), Elijah Adebayo.

Subs not used: Simon Sluga, Dan Potts, Luke Berry, Carlos Mendes Gomes.

Cherries: Mark Travers, Lewis Cook (Morgan Rogers 76), Lloyd Kelly ©, Jefferson Lerma, Dominic Solanke, Ryan Christie, Emiliano Marcondes, Jack Stacey, Leif Davis, Gary Cahill, Jaidon Anthony (Jamal Lowe 46).

Subs not used: Orjan Nyland, Chris Mepham, Ben Pearson, James Hill, Gavin Kilkennym, Morgan Rogers.

Booked: Lerma 81, Christie 89.

Referee: Leigh Doherty.

Attendance: 9,649 (1,032 Cherries).