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MATCH REPORT | LUTON TOWN 3-2 BLACKBURN ROVERS

Town win five-goal thriller to survive relegation at Kenilworth Road!

22 July 2020

The Hatters pulled off the great escape against all the odds, securing their Sky Bet Championship status for another season with a memorable 3-2 victory against Blackburn Rovers.

Before the Championship season restarted just over a month ago, Town were six points adrift of safety and in 23rd place but with just one defeat in nine games, the Hatters recovered brilliantly to avoid relegation.

Town came from behind on the night to lead 3-1, with two own goals and a James Collins penalty, before Sam Gallagher pulled a goal back for the visitors to set-up a tense finale.

Manager Nathan Jones named an unchanged starting line-up from the side that defeated Hull City 1-0 on Saturday, and the Hatters began on the front foot in the hope of opening the scoring for the fifth match running, but Elliot Lee was unable to connect properly with James Bree’s cross and Blackburn managed to clear.

The away side grew into the game and in the 10th minute, hit the front courtesy of Armstrong, who prodded home inside the six-yard box.

Town remained positive despite going behind and had two chances in quick succession just before the first-half drinks break. Firstly, Bree’s left-footed cross was nodded onto the roof the net by Harry Cornick and then the former Bournemouth man turned provider for Collins, but his effort went over the bar.

Fortunately, it wasn’t long before the Hatters’ pressure paid off. Bree’s free-kick from a central position was whipped into a dangerous area and Blackburn’s Hayden Carter headed into the back of his own net.

One quickly became two in the 35th minute when Town took the lead. Bree was again provider and the scorer was once again courtesy of a Blackburn player – this time Bradley Johnson was the unfortunate one for Rovers.

Bree was again at the forefront of the action in the early stages of the second period, in the right place at the right time to head clear Ben Brereton’s cross which was fired across the face of goal.

Town’s evening got even better when Cornick was brought down in the area by Jacob Davenport, Collo stepped up and fiercely struck his penalty down the middle to give the Hatters a two-goal advantage with half-an-hour to play.

Cornick continued to cause problems for the Rovers defence as he beat Carter for pace, got to the by-line and crossed towards Collins but Lenihan intercepted just in time.

But the drama continued, and Blackburn pulled a goal back through Gallagher with 15 minutes remaining, who flicked his shot into the top corner from close range.

Substitute Danny Hylton went close to restoring the two-goal cushion for the Hatters, but he dragged his shot wide of the goal.

Town survived an aerial bombardment from the visitors and seven minutes of added time at the end of the match to hold onto all three points and beat the drop, moving out of the relegation zone for the first time since December to finish in 20th place.

 

TOWN: Sluga, Bree, Carter-Vickers, Bradley (C), Potts; Rea, Mpanzu, Berry, Lee (Pearson 78); Cornick (LuaLua 72), Collins (Hylton 72).

Subs not used: Shea, McManaman, Shinnie, Moncur, Kioso.

Goals: Carter (28’ og), Johnson (35’ og), Collins (60)

Yellows: Cornick, Carter-Vickers, Hylton, Berry

 

BLACKBURN: Walton, Nyambe, Lenihan (C), Carter, Rankin-Costello; Travis (Davenport 45), Johnson, Rothwell (Bennett 78); Holtby (Buckley 45), Armstrong (Graham 61); Brereton (Gallagher 61).

Subs not used: Eastham, Chapman, Bell, Vale.

Goals: Armstrong (10), Gallagher (75)

Yellows: Travis

 

Referee: Darren Bond


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