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Report | Last-gasp Woodrow equaliser gives Town a point at Palace

9 March 2024

Club News

Report | Last-gasp Woodrow equaliser gives Town a point at Palace

9 March 2024

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The late hurt and heartbreak from last weekend’s defeat to Aston Villa was quickly banished as the Hatters served up a late show of their own to earn what could be a crucial point come the end of the season.

As the games begin to runout, all of a sudden every point becomes more precious – and when an equaliser comes in the final moments of a game which the Town had not been at their best – the scenes of jubilation in the away end and among the squad come the end told its own story.

As Rob Edwards would say afterwards, the Hatters were not at their best but Cauley Woodrow’s 96th-minute header gave them reward on an afternoon that seemed to be drifting to disappointment.

Trailing to Jean-Phillippe Mateta’s 11th-minute goal, the Town rallied in the second half but all seemed lost but with one final action two substitutes combined to breathe new life in the Hatters’ survival hopes. Andros Townsend, a former Palace favourite who was given a fine reception throughout, flew down the right, cut inside on his left foot and arced a dangerous cross that found the head of Woodrow. 10 years ago the striker scored his last in the Premier League for Fulham – against the Eagles – and the striker sunk the home crowd here as his effort bounced gloriously into the bottom corner past the outstretched gloves of Sam Johnstone, the Palace goalkeeper.

It was reward for the Town’s own survival instinct in this game. Palace, buoyed by the arrival of a new manager, could have extended their lead throughout had half-chances gone the other way.

Yet the Hatters clung on, and stayed in – like so often this season in this Premier League adventure – the game.

Mateta’s opener exasperated those of a Town persuasion as the striker nonchalantly turned home inside the six-yard box after Alfie Doughty’s back-pass left Thomas Kaminski and Gabe Osho leaving the ball for each other.

Palace spurned several chances to double their lead. Mateta heading over on the half-hour before shooting wide after being gifted the ball by Jordan Clark shortly before the break.

After the break the Hatters’ chances of a positive result took a turn for worse when Edwards lost Osho and the impressive Teden Mengi in the space of 15 minutes as the Town revered to a back-four with Daiki Hashioka and Reece Burke operating in the centre.

But the Town upped their enterprise in the search of a leveller and on 67 minutes their efforts were nearly rewarded when Carlton Morris struck a volley straight at Johnstone.

After that let off Palace then should have been out of sight on 74 minutes when Kaminski produced a fantastic save to thwart Mateta from close range. It would turn out to be a key moment.

Eberechi Eze almost scored from 50 yards with an audacious effort that clipped the crossbar and, as time ticked down, it seemed that the Town were running out of ideas in their quest for a late point.

But just when it looked all over, Townsend and Woodrow combined and the Hatters were left to celebrate a momentous point with their travelling fans at the end.

Town: Kaminski; Kaboré, Doughty, Osho (sub Woodrow 81), Mengi (sub Hashioka 62), Burke; Barkley, Clark (sub Nelson 88); Chong (sub Berry 88), Ogbene (sub Townsend 87), Morris.

Subs not used: Shea, Krul, Mpanzu Piesold.

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