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Match Reports

Report | Town fight back to earn back-to-back victories

26 December 2023

Match Reports

Report | Town fight back to earn back-to-back victories

26 December 2023

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Sheffield United 2
McBurnie 61, Ahmedhodzic 69

Town 3
Doughty 17, Robinson (og) 77, Slimane (og) 81

Football is mad sometimes. You wonder sometimes why you love it. Why you travel two-and-a-half hours in the car the day after Christmas to watch 11 men fight over a football for 90 minutes.

You especially begin if it’s all worth it when you see your team comfortably and deservedly ahead at the break only to find themselves behind midway through the second half.

All of a sudden, football’s the worst game in the world. The manager’s not made the right calls. The players are not picking the right passes. Indecision creeps in. Frustration. Downright annoyance, too.

But football, as you know by now, no matter your age, is beautifully chaotic football. The unpredictably sometimes just baffling. It’s why we keep coming back again and again and again.

Here, at Bramall Lane the Town and their fans, went through the whole rollercoaster of emotions on a day in which has been good to them down the years. Three wins in their last five on Boxing Day.


Ahead at half-time. Behind on 69 minutes. Ahead again eight minutes to go. The Hatters’ Premier League journey so far has seen some wonderful moments so far. Even in defeat on occasion. These precious three points – made in even more important following an earlier win for Nottingham Forest – might not have had the allure of Everton, Palace or Newcastle but the resolve and character shown by this team to fightback among the bedlam to earn a second win on the road is sure to strengthen belief.

You couldn’t have wished for a better first half. From the first whistle the Town had the Blades back-pedalling and their reward came in the 17th minute when Alfie Doughty tucked home from close range for his first Premier League goal, cheekily beating home keeper Wes Foderingham at his near post.

A goal to the good the Hatters were defending stoutly at the other end, keeping United at arms’ length – much to the frustration of the 30,000 Yorkshire voices.

Yet as half-time approached there was a niggling feeling that one wouldn’t be enough. The Blades ended the opening 45 with a flurry of chances that threatened to sour the Hatters good work. Thomas Kaminski saved Gustavo Hamer’s free-kick. Andre Brooks rifled inches wide. Auston Trusty then flicked a header onto the crossbar.

Half-time, ahead. And good value for it.


With Chris Wilder back at the helm, the hosts will give anyone a game on home turf. The memories of a 8-0 drubbing against Newcastle a distant memory.

The Blades, looking to build on their draw at Aston Villa before Christmas, began to turn the screw. And as they saw their side upping the ante, the home support responded in kind, roaring their team forward. Sambi Lokonga did brilliantly to block a goal-bound shot from Max Lowe six minutes after the restart.

Higher and higher the hosts came.

You know when something bad is going to happen and you can’t prevent it? That’s how it felt for us watching when United levelled. The impressive twinkle-toes of James McAtee got the Hatters on the backfoot and even though he was floored by three Town men hunting the tackle on the edge of the box, the ball trickled into the path of Oliver McBurnie and he finished past Kaminski.

Okay. 1-1.

All of a sudden Sheffield voices soared. The Town, who had looked so comfortable in the first half, were now looking in the need of a breather. United did not let that happen and it got worse for the Hatters eight minutes after the equaliser when the Blades led. Somehow the Town survived a goalmouth scramble – the ball hacked from the goalline by a combination of Teden Mengi and Lokonga. Sadly the loose ball fell to home captain Anel Ahmedhodzic and he sent an assured finish into the net to spark scenes of celebration. A mess of a goal.

Football, eh?

Three minutes after the second goal, Rob Edwards introduced Carlton Morris and Chiedozie Ogbene. It would be a change that would alter moods and emotions for the rest of the day for followers of both teams.

Five minutes later – on 77 minutes – the Town levelled. Morris’ devilish inswinging right-wing cross tempted home defender Jack Robinson into getting his head to the ball and it skimmed off the top of the centre half and into the bottom corner.

Game on again.


Now, the Hatters like it up here. Something in the air or the water or something. Before this game the Town had won 11 of their last 14 away league games Yorkshire sides.

Yet not since November 1987 had a Hatters team won in the top-flight in this neck of the woods. All of that was about to change as a mind-altering second half threw up its latest surprise.

Morris, the matchwinner here last season in a crucial win on our way to third place, was the creator once more. His turn in the box made a vital yard of space for him to shape to cross, the delivery taking a deflection of Anis Slimane and looping up and up and up and up – before gloriously, somehow, incredibly, dropping into the corner of the net to send the away end into raptures.

Character, desire. This team have it all.

Ahead again, the third goal – the manner of it – completely and absolutely knocked the stuffing out of the Sheffield United and despite eight minutes of added time the Town were able to hold to secure their first back-to-back wins in the top-flight since December 1992.

Luton Town know how to win important games 3-2. It might not be Arsenal in the Littlewoods Cup, Blackburn in the Championship or Scunthorpe in the JPT. But three points in the Premier League having been behind? Yes, please, thank you very much.

Next up? Chelsea at home on Saturday.

Happy Christmas and love to you all.

Town: Kaminski; Doughty (sub, Giles (sub Ogbene 72), Osho, Mengi, Bell; Lokonga, Barkley; Townsend (sub Mpanzu 84), Adebayo (sub Morris 72), Brown.

Subs: Shea, Berry, Woodrow, Chong, Krul.

Attendance: 31,041.


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