Town clip Eagles' wings

Howard and Brkovic score in 2-1 win at Palace

Crystal Palace 1 Luton 2

Hatters proved their intentions in the Championship this season with a superb victory away at title favourites Crystal Palace.

Ahmet Brkovic followed on from where he left off last season by netting a 79th minute winner after Andy Johnson's second-half header had cancelled out Steve Howard's first-half opener for the Town.

Luton had to weather pressure from the hosts at the start of the second-period, but ended the game as worth winners after a first 45 minutes that saw Kevin Nicholls have a penalty saved by Gabor Kiraly while Brkovic also spurned a one-on-one against the Palace keeper.

Town handed full debuts to Dean Morgan and Markus Heikinnen while Paul Underwood dropped to left-back to replace the missing Sol Davis.

Hatters started commandingly, pressing the hosts back into their own third with their best opening when Howard volleyed at Kiraly from Brkovic's right wing cross in the eleventh minute.

Just seconds after that effort though, Palace showed their danger on the break as Town keeper Dean Brill cleared straight into the back of Heikkinen and the ball fell for Johnson only for Curtis Davies to block the striker's shot from the edge of the area.

Home defender Mark Hudson headed Ben Watson's corner over the bar from 10 yards in the 22nd minute.

But Hatters should have taken the lead in the 24th minute when Steve Robinson was tugged back in the box, but skipper Nicholls saw his spot-kick held by Gabor Kiraly diving low to his right.

Brkovic then squandered another great opportunity when he could only shoot weakly at Kiraly after being sent clear in on goal by a Nicholls header.

Town finally took the lead a minute before half-time when Palace tried to play the offside trap from Nicholls' free-kick on the right and Howard had space to head home powerfully from six yards.

Johnson, fresh from signing a new five year deal with Palace earlier in the week, fired in a low 20-yard effort that Dean Brill did well to push around the post in the 51st minute.

But from the resulting corner the England marksman found the net from two yards out, nodding home after Hudson had flicked on Watson's centre.

Palace tried to rally after the equaliser, but instead it was Town who snatched a winner when Warren Feeney won a free-kick wide on the right and from Nicholls' perfect delivery, Davies prodded the ball to Brkovic to slide home from a yard out.

Palace: Gabor Kiraly, Emmerson Boyne, Fitz Hall, Mark Hudson, Gary Borrowdale, Tom Soares, Ben Watson, Michael Hughes, Jobi McAnuff, Jon Macken, Andrew Johnson. Substitutes: Darren Ward, Mikele Leigertwood, Joonas Kolkka, Wayne Andrews, Julian Speroni.

Luton: Dean Brill, Kevin Foley, Curtis Davies, Markus Heikkinen, Paul Underwood, Ahmet Brkovic, Kevin Nicholls, Steve Robinson, Dean Morgan, Steve Howard, Warren Feeney. Substitutes: Rowan Vine, Enoch Showunmi, Dino Seremet, Peter Holmes, Russell Perrett.

Referee: Phil Dowd.

Attendance: 21,166 (2,474 Luton).