Valiant Hatters are beaten by West Ham as Bowen and Zouma send the Hammers top

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Premier League: Luton Town 1 West Ham United 2

Luton's first top flight game in over 30 years at Kenilworth Road ended in a narrow defeat as they were beaten 2-1 by West Ham United this evening, the Hammers going to the top of the table.

With home supporters having waited since 1992 to witness a game at this level, and for a number in the atmospheric stadium, the first time they would have ever seen a game of this magnitude, there was an air of excitement around the ground beforehand.

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Town boss Rob Edwards made two changes from the side who lost 3-0 at Chelsea, captain Tom Lockyer missing out with injury and Issa Kabore on the bench, Mads Andersen and Alfie Doughty coming in.

Ross Barkley goes close for the Hatters during tonight's 2-1 defeat to West Ham - pic: Liam SmithRoss Barkley goes close for the Hatters during tonight's 2-1 defeat to West Ham - pic: Liam Smith
Ross Barkley goes close for the Hatters during tonight's 2-1 defeat to West Ham - pic: Liam Smith

The Hatters looked to make a quick start to proceedings, Tahith Chong allowed time to motor forward on the left and his cross was headed out where Ross Barkley dragged a 20-yard volley wide.

Making their best start to a top flight game so far, the Hatters weren't fussed when the Hammers looked to dominate possession, snapping into their opponents whenever there was a sniff of winning the ball back.

It took 13 minutes for David Moyes' side to really threaten themselves, Said Benrahma not getting hold of his attempt as Thomas Kaminski could watch it fly behind.

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Another spell of pressure from the hosts saw Chong's shot charged down, as Giles' cross squirmed out of the hands of keeper Alphonse Areola, only for the visitors to get back in the nick of time.

Luton kept the pressure up, Doughty finding Barkley on 15 minutes, the former Everton man spinning on to his left but once more was wayward, when he should have at least tested Areola.

Having defended so well, Town were given a warning when a simple ball forward was on to the chest of Jarrod Bowen, and with Ryan Giles and Amari'i Bell not close enough, was able to have a crack which thankfully went wide.

As the half wore on, the visitors began to exert more control on proceedings and went close on 36 minutes, Mexican international Edson Alvarez denied by a last ditch block from Andersen, Benrahma curling over.

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However, they weren't to be denied just 60 seconds later with a goal that was a poor one to concede from Luton's perspective.

The impressive Lucas Paqueta was given time and space to pick out a cross, as he did just that, finding Bowen who had once more escaped Bell and Giles, his close range header straight at Kamsinki, who couldn't keep it out.

Luton reacted well to going behind, Elijah Adebayo finding space in the box but opted to swivel and shoot in an instant when he had time, lofting over.

With five minutes until the break, Giles strode away on the left, his cross met by Morris whose looping header landed on the roof of the net.

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Luton kept up the pressure, forcing a corner that bounced invitingly for Chong, who couldn't adjust his feet in time, nudging behind on his hip.

After the break, the Hammers thought they had extended their lead after just five minutes, Emerson taking advantage of some charitable defending to blast home, but thankfully the offside flag was raised and after the first VAR check of the season at Kenilworth Road, it was ruled out.

Luton's defensive issues were still a concern, Bell giving the ball away and thankful that Reece Burke was well positioned to clear from Benrahma at the back post.

Still in the game, the hosts were starting to create moments of their own, Marvelous Nakamba's inviting ball into the box causing confusion, but Adebyao hadn't gambled, as when he finally did, was unable to turn the ball in under pressure from Nayef Aguerd.

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Town kept on trying gamely to restore parity, winning a number of corners, Burke off target against his former side with a header from one.

With their extra quality, West Ham always posed a threat whenever they ventured into Luton's half, Bowen left unmarked once more, as he couldn't beat Kaminski this time.

With 20 to go, Edwards rang the changes, bringing on another former Hammer in Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Jacob Brown and Kabore, as they looked to try and salvage a point.

Town's best chance fell to Morris with six minutes to go, his close range attempt flying over, via what looked like a crucial intervention from a prostrate defender, which went unseen by referee Paul Tierney.

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Luton were then made to pay just moments later, a James Ward-Prowse corner, that the hosts had defended so well all evening, seeing Kurt Zouma rise highest to power a downward header beyond the motionless Kaminski.

In stoppage time, the Hatters gave themselves a lifeline, Morris's header back into the danger area turned in by Andersen.

They then could and probably should have had a penalty with seconds to go, Ward-Prowse handling a corner, but it wasn't noticed by Tierney, and there was no VAR check to give Luton the opportunity of salvaging a last-ditch point.

Hatters: Thomas Kaminski, Alfie Doughty (Chiedozie Ogbene 77), Reece Burke, Mads Andersen, Amari’i Bell, Ryan Giles (Issa Kabore 71), Marvelous Nakamba, Ross Barkley (Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu 71), Tahith Chong (Cauley Woodrow 84), Carlton Morris (C), Elijah Adebayo (Jacob Brown 71).

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Subs not used: Tim Krul, Luke Berry, Aidan Francis-Clarke, Joe Johnson.

Hammers: Alphonse Areola, Kurt Zouma (C), Vladimir Coufal, James Ward-Prowse, Michail Antonio (Danny Ings 80), Lucas Paqueta (Mohammed Kudus 90), Edson Alvarez, Jarrod Bowen, Said Benrahma (Pablo Fornals 71), Nayef Aguerd, Emerson.

Subs not used: Lukasz Fabianski, Aaron Cresswell, Maxwel Cornet, Angelo Ogbonna, Thilo Kehrer, Divin Mubama.

Referee: Paul Tierney.

Booked: Emerson 82, Nakamba 88.

Attendance: 10,802.