Match Reports

Report | Brilliant Hatters earn first Premier League victory


Everton 1 Calvert-Lewin 41

Town 2 Lockyer 24, Morris 30

On 25th April 1992 the Hatters beat Aston Villa at Kenilworth Road. Little did we know it would be the last time the Town would win a game in England’s top-flight.

Until today. When it happened. 11,480 days later. At Goodison Park. The home of the nine-time champions of England, Everton.

Thanks to goals from two heroes of last season – captain Tom Lockyer and top goalscorer Carlton Morris – the Hatters ended that run. Three points at Everton, via Ebbsfleet in the Conference and Exeter, only last Tuesday.

It was a wonderful day on a horrible day. The rain never ceased from the minute the Town kicked off in their white shirts until the 97th when referee Anthony Taylor blew for the final, glorious time.

Everton, struggling for form – they came into this game having lost all of their three home matches so far this season – dominated for large periods. In the first half they came close on many, many nailbiting occasions. On a day when many unsung heroes dug in, they were kept at arms length.

But after 26 minutes the game changed when the Town opened the scoring for the first time this season in the Premier League. Morris’ thumping header from a brilliant Alfie Doughty delivery hit the bar. Former Watford man Ashley Young desperately tried to hack clear the loose ball but he didn’t count on Lockyer, closing him down – and the ball deflected off the skipper and into the goal. You know, these days, fans talk about “limbs” in the away end. There were scenes of unbridled joy as the away end erupted.

It went from good to great six minutes later. And in some style. Doughty was again was the architect in devastating fashion, arching a beautiful, pin-point cross to the unmarked Morris as the back-post. The finish was first-time, graceful, clinical, unerring. His third goal of the season.

It had been the perfect, almost dream-like, first half for the Town but the Toffees gave themselves hope just before the break.

And what a mess of a goal it was on and off the field. The Hatters couldn’t clear their lines from a left-wing cross and the ball was eventually prodded home by home forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin. A VAR check lasted several agonising minutes. In the press seats the screens showed several replays, and plenty of zooming in from various angles and body parts. The goal was given. The noise went up from the locals but the Town stood firm in the final moments of the first half to lead at the break.

The Town, of course, never do things the easy way. On lookers may have believed the second half would belong to the Toffees. Yet the Hatters, when they lead, are made of stern stuff.

On 63 minutes we thought the two-goal cushion was restored when Morris nosed a goal home from a yard out following Jacob Brown’s header cross goal. But Brown, meeting Doughty’s flighted cross, was offside. 2-1 it stayed.

At half-time, Rob Edwards had introduced Mads Andersen for Reece Burke and five minutes into the second half a second Hatters defended was forced off when Lockyer, having taken a whack in the eye, needed to be withdrawn.

Everton sensed they could take advantage. But every long pass or ball that was launched forward but was dealt with by the Town defence, and met with a groan from the Goodison faithful.

Time ticked down. It was hard not to look at the clock. Everton, for all their endeavour, failed to call Thomas Kaminski into any meaningful action. The locals were not happy.

It was hearts in the mouth stuff. All hands on deck. Seven additional minutes went up. Yet the enthusiasm the home support had in the first half was washed away with the rain – they knew the time was up.

All that was left was to hear the peep of Taylor’s whistle and with it the acknowledgment that three Premier League points were – for the first time – heading to our Bedfordshire utopia.

We had longed to see the scenes we saw at the end. It was special. It was Luton. Thirty points who gives... you know the rest. We’ve come a long way and this is just the beginning.

We’re back at it on Tuesday under those famous lights of Kenilworth Road.

Luton are back and we’re up and running.

See you then.

Town: Kaminski; Kaboré, Doughty (Woodrow 83), Burke (sub Andersen 46), Lockyer (sub Mengi 55), Bell; Nakamba, Mpanzu; Ogbene, Brown, Morris (sub Adebayo 78).

Subs not used: Krul, Berry, Chong, Giles, Johnson.

Attendance: 39,289. Inside Goodison including 2,976 very happy Hatters, singing in the rain.

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