Match Reports

Determined Town fight back from two down to earn point


Nottingham Forest 2 Wood 48, 76

Town 2 Ogbene 73 Adebayo 90+3

With 14 minutes left, and with Nottingham Forest two goals to the good and well in command, the Hatters did what has epitomised this team – this club – over the last decade: battled, fought and eventually, through sheer determination, got their just rewards.

Forest tried to kill us off but we’re not so soft, we are the famous Luton Town – so the song goes. Chris Wood’s two goals had seemingly knocked the stuffing out of those in white and navy at the City Ground but a late, glorious comeback saw headline writers in the press box re-writing their copy as the 3,000 Hatters fans celebrated a point that felt like three thanks to goals from Chiedozie Obgene and Elijah Adebayo.

The game followed a familiar pattern to the Town’s life in the top-flight: they were always in it. Somehow, you felt there would always be a chance – and so it would ultimately prove.

Forest’s home form last term kept them in the Premier League. The City Ground was the graveyard for many of the top-flight's elite last season. Two defeats in 19 matches told its own story.

And in the first half Steve Cooper’s side should have gone in ahead at half-time. A number of glorious chances went begging for the Tricky Trees: Wood inside five minutes denied by Thomas Kaminski; the keeper then doing well to deny Harry Toffolo from close range midway through the opening period.

The Hatters were certainly not outplayed, however. Glimmers of encouragement were evident in the first half with Tahith Chong in particular exploiting the space on the City Ground pitch. The best chance fell to Jacob Brown, whose shot on the turn was low and dangerous – however just off target.

Forest missed a sitter to lead with the last kick of the first 45 – Ibrahim Sangare driving a shot wide of the goal when it seemed easier to miss.

The Town goal had lived a charmed life in the first half but their luck would run out just three minutes after the restart when Wood struck, taking advantage of some sticky defending to finish well beyond an exposed Kaminski.

Stay in the game, stay in the game – would have been the message from the touchline. Wood spurned a glorious chance to double his tally moments later, only to head over when well-placed.

Back came the Town. The chances are always there with this team. It should have been level on 52 minutes when Brown, unmarked to meet Ogbene’s teasing cross, headed into the grateful arms of keeper Matt Turner.

You sensed the Town were growing back into it.

Edwards made three changes. As a sign of how far the Town have come. 12 years ago we won 1-0 at Grimsby in the Conference and now here, in the Premier League, the manager was introducing former England internationals Andros Townsend and Ross Barkley.

Back in 2023, minutes after that triple change, reality hit as Forest doubled their lead through that man Wood, who craned every neck muscle to guide a fine header inside Kaminski’s far post.

At that point, with 15 minutes left, Forest were cruising. Cooper made three changes of his own. Willy Boly, Nicolas Dominguez and the impressive Sangare made way with 12 minutes remaining.

And then the comeback began.

Suddenly, Barkley was getting on the ball. Pulling the strings. Finding space. Passing into areas that hurt Forest and got them back-tracking. It might have been 2-0 but you just felt... get one back and there’s something here still.

With seven minutes left Ogbene started the recovery mission, lashing home from six yards after the Forest defence had made a hash of clearing Townsend’s free-kick. A deserved first goal in the top-flight. After a ridiculous wait for VAR to draw lines on a screen to work out if the Irish international was ahead of the play, the goal was given.

Stay in the game, stay in game... The Town have shown through these early stages in the Premier League that they are rubbing shoulders with England’s elite on merit and, as Forest continued to backpedal as time ticked into eight minutes of added time, the equaliser came.

Two weeks ago, Adebayo gave up a chance against Spurs and was then subjected to vile racist messages by faceless accounts on social media. As he would say afterwards, in the words of John Still - “never too high, never too low”. In the third minute of stoppage time, Tom Lockyer’s laser-like raking pass was on the money. Adebayo’s eyes lit up. Holding off two Forest defenders and chesting the ball down into his path there was only one outcome this week. His finish, magic, you know.

At 2-2 the game wasn’t done. Wood had Hatters hearts in mouths when finishing superbly across Kaminski but the hat-trick would not count and the offside flag was a welcome relief to those of a Luton persuasion.

Had the game lasted another five minutes, who know what would have happened – but the Town were in the game. They always stay in the game.

And this group, like many before in recent history, never give up.

Roll on Aston Villa next Sunday.

See you then.

Town: Kaminski; Obgene, Doughty, Mengi, Lockyer, Burke (sub Kaboré 56); Nakamba, Ruddock (sub Barkley 72), Chong (sub Townsend 72); Morris (sub Woodrow 81), Brown (sub Adebayo 72)

Subs not used: Krul, Osho, Giles, Luker.

Attendance: 29,361, including 2,893 Hatters bouncing in the away end post-match.

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