Wasteful Hatters throw two points away at Preston

Jordan Clark goes for goal against Preston this eveningJordan Clark goes for goal against Preston this evening
Jordan Clark goes for goal against Preston this evening
Championship: Preston North End 1 Luton Town 1

A wasteful performance in front of goal saw Luton held to a 1-1 draw against 10-man Preston North End at Deepdale this evening.

The Hatters missed a number of excellent chances throughout the contest against a poor home side, who had Ben Whiteman sent off five minutes into the second period.

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With Carlton Morris looking like he had sealed another away victory on 72 minutes, heading home his 12th of the season, Troy Parrott's penalty with nine to go saw the Lilywhites somehow escape with a point and almost go on to win it.

Luton made one change, Fred Onyedinma starting a first league game for the first time since October as Alfie Doughty didn't recover from his groin problem, Dan Potts fit enough to earn a place on the bench.

Although unable to replicate their lightning start at Coventry on Saturday, Town had the better of the opening exchanges, the ball spending the majority of its time in the home side's half.

With 13 minutes gone, the hosts were able to force Ethan Horvath into some meaningful action, the USA international palming away Troy Parrot's back post volley that bounced awkwardly, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu completing the clearance.

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Luton were then inches away from taking the lead themselves on 21 minutes, Elijah Adebayo's deflected cross drawing a fine reactionary save from Freddie Woodman, the rebound falling invitingly for Jordan Clark.

His first effort was blocked, before taking his time over a second, saw Alvaro Fernandez's head divert it over the bar from virtually on the line, ensuring the scores remained goalless.

Luton should have been ahead on 33 minutes though, when Gabe Osho beat his man and picked out Adebayo with a diagonal ball that left the striker clean through on Woodman.

He had time to go on, round the keeper and pick his spot, but ended up being almost too casual, attempting a first time half volley and missing the target badly.

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Town then wasted their second significant chance just before the break, Clark finding the overlapping Onyedinma who picked out Amari'i Bell.

As at Huddersfield he made a true connection on his less preferred right foot, but unlike against the Terriers, this time his radar was awry and his blast flew the wrong side of the post.

Hoping that they didn't live to regret those chances and that Preston didn't come out a different side, the Lilywhites were in that category just five minutes in, for a reason Town wouldn't have minded one iota, reduced to 10 men.

Whiteman went sliding in to win a loose ball from Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu and was deemed to be out of control by referee Josh Smith, shown a straight red, with very few complaints from the home player as he trudged off.

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Town should have made them pay instantly, Clark's terrifically weighted pass releasing Adebayo for a second time, but after opening his body up, he tried to locate the far corner, and for the second time, failed to do so, missing by a matter of inches.

Although dominating all aspects, Luton had to make sure they kept things tight at the back, Parrott wriggling away to shoot into the side-netting.

Back came the Hatters once more, Morris meeting Clark's inswinging corner, his header from close range crashing against the underside of the bar, before Adebayo got to another ball ahead of Woodman, but once more was wayward.

Edwards looked to swap things around on 70 minutes, with Henri Lansbury and Cauley Woodrow on for Mpanzu and the misfiring Adebayo, but Horvath had to remain alert to collect McCann's deflected attempt.

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The breakthrough did finally come on 72 minutes though, and it was no more than Edwards' side deserved.

Bell did brilliantly to engineer a cross from the left hand side, as rather than play an easy pass, he drew his man on to him and sent over a deflected cross.

It deceived Woodman, with Morris free at the back post to send his header back across, the keeper getting something on it, only for Smith's watch to signal it was over the line as Luton finally went in front.

Clark tried to drive the ball in for a second, but then completely against the run of play, Preston were awarded a penalty on 80 minutes when Parrott's shot struck the outstretched arm of Lockyer in the area.

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Parrott stepped up himself and gave Horvath no chance at all, as Preston then should have been ahead as Luton were caught out from their own restart, Tom Cannon going clean through only to miss by a matter of inches.

Substitute Luke almost put Town back ahead when picked out by the unselfish Clark, who might have gone for goal himself, the replacement taking a heavy touch and Woodman collecting.

In stoppage time, Reece Burke’s deep cross saw Clark put his diving header straight at Woodman, as did Woodrow from 25 yards, with Lansbury’s blast charged down by a desperate block as the Hatters had to make do with a mere point.

Lilywhites: Freddie Woodman, Alvaro Fernandez, Greg Cunningham, Ben Whiteman, Alan Browne (C), Ali McCann, Jordan Storey, Troy Parrott, Andrew Hughes, Tom Cannon (Liam Delap 89), Brad Potts (Ben Woodburn 72).

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Subs not used: Dai Cornell, Liam Lindsay, Daniel Johnson, Robbie Brady, Ryan Ledson.

Hatters: Ethan Horvath, Fred Onyedinma, Reece Burke, Tom Lockyer (C), Gabe Osho, Amari'i Bell, Marvelous Nakamba (Luke Berry 84), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Henri Lansbury 70), Jordan Clark, Elijah Adebayo (Cauley Woodrow 70), Carlton Morris.

Subs not used: James Shea, Allan Campbell, Dan Potts, Joe Taylor.

Bookings: McCann 19, Morris 81, Nakamba 83, Brown 86.

Sent off: Whiteman 50.

Referee: Josh Smith.