Two points dropped for Luton as Hatters concede late Posh leveller

Hatters were held by Peterborough this eveningHatters were held by Peterborough this evening
Hatters were held by Peterborough this evening
Championship: Peterborough 1 Luton Town 1

Luton saw their play-off hopes take a dent as a precious victory was snatched from their play-off by a late equaliser for struggling Peterborough United at the Weston Homes Stadium this evening.

It had looked like Danny Hylton's fourth goal of the season just after half time would be enough for the visitors to gain all three points, but Jonson Clarke-Harris rose highest to head home with four minutes to go and earn the Posh what was a deserved share of the spoils.

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The visitors made four changes for the clash, Fred Onyedinma coming back in after manager Nathan Jones admitted he hadn't been quite as bold as he wanted with his team selection against Millwall at the weekend, the winger scoring once and setting up two in the 3-0 win over United on the opening day back in August.

Also back in were Peter Kioso, Cameron Jerome and Hylton, with Tom Lockyer out injured, while Dan Potts, Henri Lansbury and Harry Cornick dropped to the bench.

Town were indebted to keeper James Shea for keeping them on level terms in the opening eight minutes as from a corner, he sprung to his left to somehow palm a Frankie Kent header that looked destined for the back of his net, making an absolutely terrific save, with a little help from his post too.

He was called into action again moments later, once more having to fly to his left, although this time it was to parry Jack Taylor's low daisycutter to safety.

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Town started to grow into the contest, getting some joy on their left through Jerome and Elijah Adebayo, but it was the opposite flank where the first real opportunity came, Onyedinma taking on and beating his man, whipping over an inviting cross that was met by Adebayo, Dai Cornell tipping behind.

The hosts weren't afraid to have a pop from range, Taylor once more trying his luck and an unsure Shea having to shovel behind midway through the half, the keeper having a far easier task moments later when ex-Hatter Jack Marriott couldn't get enough on Joe Ward's right wing cross.

Luton were forced into a change on 33 minutes as Jerome appeared to injure his calf and was replaced by Lansbury, Hylton pushing further forward to partner Adebayo.

Posh looked the more likely going into the break though, a good move on the right seeing James Bree do well to beat Marriott to the ball, Poku slicing his volley wide.

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Luton did create an opening too, Adebayo teeing up Allan Campbell, whose effort lacked the kind of conviction shown recently, not testing Cornell.

A flurry of chances on the stroke of half time saw Marriott's angled snapshot fly into the side-netting, with Adebayo immediately flicking on for Hylton, his effort repelled by a covering defender.

Luton made a fast start to proceedings after the interval, a number of shots drawing desperate blocks, with Lansbury's effort from outside the box straight at Cornell.

Jones' side were rewarded for their positive intentions just four minutes in too, with a quite magnificent pass inside the full back from Lansbury picking out Onyedinma.

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He took the ball on, looked up, and put it on a plate for the lurking Hylton, who bundled his effort over the line.

Posh didn't let their heads drop though, Marriott's low attempt skidding off the turf but into Shea's gloves at his near post, while he could watch Poku's speculative attempt fly in the packed stand of away fans behind him.

As Luton looked to keep the hosts at arm's length for the remainder of the game, with Onyedinma in particular giving his markers a torrid time, they went close to what have been a victory sealing second, Naismith crowded out.

Town were given a huge let-off with 12 minutes to go, a pinpoint cross from the right met by the completely unmarked sub Ricky-Jade Jones, who got his feet all wrong and somehow sent it out for a goal kick.

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Sprung into action by that miss, Jones brought on club captain Sonny Bradley for his first outing since January to shore up the defence for the closing 10 minutes.

It didn't work though, the hosts level with four minutes to play, Joe Ward sending over another top drawer delivery from the right and Clarke-Harris showed how it was down, arrowing his downward header into the bottom corner.

From a winning position, Town should have been trailing in stoppage time, a brilliant cross from the left this time met by Taylor in splendid isolation, as he powered his header wastefully over the bar.

That led to some really nervy moments for the 3,600 travelling fans, as Posh might have won it with virtually the last kick, Clarke-Harris's drive from 25 yards thudding against the foot of the post and away.

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The Hatters did manage to see out the final few seconds, staying fourth in the table as they are now three points clear of sixth place going into a bitterly tough period of fixtures, travelling to Huddersfield next Monday and then hosting Nottingham Forest on Good Friday.

Posh: Dai Cornell, Ronnie Edwards, Frankie Kent (C, Sammie Szmodics 73), Jack Taylor, Jonson Clarke-Harris. Josh Knight, Jack Marriott (Ricky-Jade Jones 68), Kwame Poku, Harrison Burrows, Joe Ward, Jeando Fuchs.

Subs not used: Will Blackmore, Reece Brown, Jorge Grant, Bali Mumba, Emmanuel Fernandez.

Hatters: James Shea, Fred Onyedinma (Harry Cornick 90), Amari'i Bell, James Bree, Peter Kioso, Kal Naismith (C), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Allan Campbell, Danny Hylton (Sonny Bradley 82), Cameron Jerome (Henri Lansbury 32), Elijah Adebayo.

Subs not used: Harry Isted, Carlos Mendes Gomes, Robert Snodgrass.

Bookings: Fuchs 15, Mpanzu 16, Marriott 41, Kent 69, Jones 75, Adebayo 90.

Referee: Thomas Bramall.