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Report | Hatters just fall short against Red Devils

18 February 2024

Club News

Report | Hatters just fall short against Red Devils

18 February 2024

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The Hatters slipped to a second successive home defeat but ran Manchester United close in a fascinating spectacle at Kenilworth Road.

The Town made the worst possible start when Rasmus Hojland put the visitors in front after just 37 seconds when racing through on goal following an error from Amari’i Bell.

And the Hatters’ afternoon got worse just six minutes later when Hojlund doubled the lead and his tally when getting the final touch in the box after Alejandro Garnacho’s mis-hit shot found him.

However the Town rallied and deservedly got back into it when Carlton Morris headed home from close range, bravely sticking his head where it hurt to nod beyond Andre Onana, to make it 2-1 with just 14 minutes on the clock.

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What followed was a frantic, enthralling game that saw the Hatters dominate. On the half-hour Ross Barkley, gifted the ball by Harry Maguire, fed Cauley Woodrow but his shot was deflected behind for a corner.

With the majority inside Kenilworth Road on their feet, the Town came close finding an equaliser again shortly before the break when Alfie Doughty shot wide with an effort from the edge of the box.

After the break the chances continued as they found the groove that helped them begin to boss the game in the first half.

As the Hatters pushed for a leveller, taking risks as they went, United knew there were chances on the break and only a strong arm from Thomas Kaminski denied the visitors a third when clawing away Marcus Rashford’s drive.

The visitors came even closer to extending the lead on the hour when captain Bruno Fernandes rounded Kaminski only for Sambi Lokonga to keep out the midfielder’s shot.

Half-chances fell for the Town at the other end with Onana not overly extended. But the Town survived another United break again on 67 minutes when Kaminski did well to get a hand on the ball after Garnacho looked to round him.

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Kaminski then punched away a top-corner-bound free-kick from Rashford but as the game continued to swing from end to end, Gabe Osho failed to properly connect with a strike in the six-yard box with the goal at his mercy.

As the Town pushed for a late leveller, holes appeared in defence and Kaminski earned his stripes once more when denied Hojlund his hat-trick with a strong arm with 12 minutes to play.

As time ticked down the Hatters upped the ante but it wasn’t until the final minute of four injury time minutes that they would come close to a late leveller when Ross Barkley’s header from Luke Berry’s corner hit the top of the crossbar.

The full-time whistle signalled encouragement from the Hatters faithful who rose to their feet to acknowledge another fine display from their team despite the early set-back.

Things, however, don’t get easier for the Town from here with a trip to league leaders Liverpool next up on Wednesday.
We’ll see you there.

Come on Luton.

Town: Kaminski; Ogbene, Doughty (sub Berry 82), Mengi, Osho, Bell; Lokonga, Barkley; Chong (sub Clark 68) Woodrow (sub Townsend 68), Morris.

Sub not used: Krul, Potts, Kaboré, Burke, Mpanzu, Nelson.

Attendance: 11,483 – the best league attendance at Kenilworth Road since United’s visit here in 1992, including 1,389 backing United.

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