Match Reports

Report | Gallant Hatters lose out in seven-goal epic


Town 3Osho 25, Adebayo 59, Barkley 57

Arsenal 4Martinelli 20, Jesus 45, Havertz 60, Rice 90+7

A pulsating, gripping, intoxicating 96 minutes had passed.

Then, as an additional minute elapsed, Hatters hearts were broken in the cruellest of endings as a raucous Kenilworth Road fell silent. Declan Rice nodded past Thomas Kaminski – and the seventh and final goal won three points for the league leaders.

Once again Kenilworth Road was at its best, the atmosphere driving on those in orange to performance levels that left everyone on their feet at the end with pride.

The Hatters were behind once and then twice, trailing at 2-1 at the break. Then, incredibly, led 3-2. A famous Luton Town scoreline if ever there was one. Arsenal came back and back again until come the final peep on the referee’s whistle, which signalled a gallant defeat.

Arsenal led for the first time on 20 minutes when Gabrielle Martinelli turned home Bukayo Saka’s cross.

Yet the Hatters were level just five minutes later when Gabe Osho nodded in Alfie Doughty’s left-wing corner. Deservedly so.

The game swung from end to end. The Town attacked when they could – the issue was the Gunners were sensing blood. Kaminski was equal to numerous efforts sent his way but the Belgian could do nothing to stop Gabriel Jesus in first half stoppage time from nodding home to put the visitors in front.

Behind at the break, the Hatters resumed with intent. Just four minutes after the restart it was 2-2. Andros Townsend won a corner which was swung in beautifully by Doughty and Elijah Adebayo, making only his fourth start of the season, rose above David Raya to send Kenilworth Road into pandemonium.

Eight minutes later that turned into pure ecstasy as the Hatters, unbelievably, led. Townsend found Ross Barkley inside the penalty area and, after holding off his man, struck a low drive through the legs of Raya. 3-2.

It was breathless stuff and those inside the old ground were still catching their breath three minutes later when the Gunners levelled. Kai Havertz taking Jesus’ pass to dink past an exposed Kaminski.

All square once more, the Town were under the cosh as time ticked down and the visitors craved an equaliser. Kaminski held a Martin Odegaard effort with 15 minutes before the goalkeeper then tipped over a Havertz header with four minutes left.

Six minutes were added by the officials and then became the crushing blow. The Hatters seemed to have dealt with the Gunners’ final attack, yet as play continued, Odegaard – who had impressed all evening – sent over a teasing left-wing cross and Rice had the final say.

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