Ten-man Luton Town picked up a vital three points with a 1-0 win against play-off rivals Nottingham Forest on Good Friday.
A first-half penalty from Kal Naismith was enough for the Hatters to record the win, but had to do it with only ten men after Sonny Bradley’s sending off in the second half.
The result sees Town leapfrog Forest into fourth place in the Sky Bet Championship table.
Nathan Jones made two changes from Monday’s defeat away to Huddersfield Town. Reece Burke returned to the starting line-up, after injury against Preston North End. Elsewhere, Robert Snodgrass made his first start for the Hatters, replacing Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu who missed out through injury.
The game’s first chance would fall to the Hatters. Fred Onyedinma latched onto Bradley’s precise long ball, but Brice Samba made a good save to deny the shot.
Forest registered their first chance of the game just after the ten minute mark. Keinan Davis did well to power forward and slip in Lewis Grabban, who forced a smart save from James Shea.
Not long after the half hour mark, Town took the lead. James Bree broke into the area and saw the ball handled by Jack Colback, with the referee pointing to the spot. Naismith stepped up and sent Samba the wrong way from 12 yards.
Early on in the second half, the away side did have the ball in the back of the Luton net, but Djed Spence’s effort was ruled out after the 21-year-old was flagged offside.
Luton would make their first substitution of the game just after the hour mark. Danny Hylton was brought on in place of Harry Cornick.
The Hatters had a good chance from a Snodgrass corner. The Scotsman’s delivery was met by the head of Bradley, but his effort was headed downwards and bounced over the crossbar.
Shea was then called into action at the other end, saving and handling well to deny Philip Zinckernagel.
Luton were reduced to ten men with just over ten minutes left. Bradley picked up a second yellow and was sent off after a late challenge. The resulting free-kick saw Zinckernagel’s effort headed clear by the Luton wall.
Peter Kioso was Town’s second switch of the game, as he came on for Snodgrass, in a defensive reshuffle from Jones.
The away side had a couple of huge chances in quick succession. First, Zinckernagel’s effort hit the post, before Shea pushed away another effort from Brennan Johnson.
Elijah Adebayo came close to adding a second for Town late on. The striker twisted and turned to get beyond Forest defenders, before seeing his effort saved by Samba’s feet.
Town made their third and final switch as the game went into eight minutes of time added on, with Tom Lockyer replacing Adebayo.
The Luton players had to dig deep for all three points, but got over the line to claim a vital victory in the fight for the play-offs.
Town: Naismith (37’)
Att: 10,070 (1,031 away)