Luton snatch point against Forest in survival battle
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Luton snatch point against Forest in survival battle

Mar 17, 2024
Chris Wood scores for Nottingham Forest at Luton in the Premier League
Chris Wood put Nottingham Forest ahead with his ninth Premier League goal of the season

Luke Berry scored an 89th-minute equaliser for Luton as they salvaged a point at home to Nottingham Forest as both teams battle for Premier League survival.

Chris Wood had put Forest ahead when he stretched to convert Morgan Gibbs-White’s dink to the back post.

With time running out, Reece Burke headed Ross Barkley’s corner towards goal and Berry finished on the spin from six yards.

Ryan Yates nearly gave Forest all three points in the final minute of added time but his sweet strike flew just wide to keep the gap between the sides at three points, with Luton in 18th, a place below their visitors.

Luton started brightly and Barkley’s 20-yard shot, one of three efforts from outside the box early on, clipped the post, but Forest were in the ascendancy by the time their goal came.

Divock Origi had seen two efforts cleared off the line, the second just moments before Neco Williams found Gibbs-White, who crossed for Wood to score.

Teden Mengi did have the ball in the net for Luton before half-time but it came off his arm before he bundled it in and his celebrations were cut short.

There were more chances for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side after the break with Issa Kabore hooking the ball off the line from Anthony Elanga.

Luton kept the deficit at one, though, and put the pressure on in the closing stages, albeit without creating anything of note until Berry’s goal which keeps the Hatters within striking distance of the sides above.

Luton fighting spirit rewarded

This was always going to be a big week for Luton in their battle to avoid relegation.

After snatching a late equaliser at Crystal Palace a week ago and having found themselves 3-0 up at half-time at Bournemouth on Wednesday, they might have had visions of ending this weekend clear of the drop zone.

Instead, after a 4-3 loss at the Vitality Stadium and trailing late on to Forest, they were facing being four points from safety – with Everton above them having played a game fewer and also holding the goal difference advantage.

As ever with Luton, there was no shortage of effort but for much of the game, they lacked the quality in both boxes to back it up.

When there was a spark, it often came from the quick feet of Barkley but his flurry of shots from distance in the first few minutes was the best that they had offered as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes.

Rob Edwards’ side are always a threat from set-pieces, though, and once again, that was their salvation.

Berry was alert to Burke’s knockdown and, while their winless run extends to eight league games, Luton refuse to know when they are beaten.

It is a quality that they may have to rely on again with trips to Tottenham and Arsenal to come after the international break.

“There is no other option than to keep going and keep fighting,” Edwards told BBC Match of the Day.

“We’ll never give up, we’ll always keep going. They’re a special, special group.

“To be 3-0 up and lose the game midweek was tough for us all, so to come back in such a big game – and for Luke Berry, who has now scored in every league, to get that equaliser is a really special moment for him and this football club.”

Late blow for Forest as they await PSR outcome

If Luton have completed a big week, Forest’s might just have begun with reports suggesting they will discover the outcome of their profit and sustainability charge on Monday.

There is no bad time to secure a win against a relegation rival but, with the club braced for a possible points deduction, this would have been among the best of them.

Victory would have put them six points clear of Luton and they had enough chances to have killed the game off.

“We did enough in the game to win it with the chances that we had and the way we played. We should have taken three points,” Nuno told Match of the Day.

“The only thing that we could have done better is be clinical with the final touch, the finishing, because we had clear chances to kill the game and the result would be different.”

Burke did well for the second of Origi’s two shots cleared off the line, but the former Liverpool forward should have got more on his chip for the first.

Similarly, Elanga did superbly to burst through for his chance after the break but his shot was too close to goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski and a slight touch was enough to take pace off the ball and enable Kabore to keep it out.

Defensively, they comfortably repelled Luton for the most part but were punished for one lapse at a corner. Such is the way of things in a relegation scrap.

Nuno’s side have ended a four-match losing streak but will believe they deserved to win the game.

Player of the match

BerryLuke Berry

Luton Town

  1. Squad number8Player nameBerry

  2. Squad number6Player nameBarkley

  3. Squad number30Player nameTownsend

  4. Squad number9Player nameMorris

  5. Squad number45Player nameDoughty

  6. Squad number7Player nameOgbene

  7. Squad number15Player nameMengi

  8. Squad number17Player nameMpanzu

  9. Squad number24Player nameKaminski

  10. Squad number12Player nameKaboré

  11. Squad number16Player nameBurke

  12. Squad number18Player nameClark

  13. Squad number14Player nameChong

  14. Squad number10Player nameWoodrow

Nottingham Forest

  1. Squad number11Player nameWood

  2. Squad number7Player nameN Williams

  3. Squad number21Player nameElanga

  4. Squad number40Player nameMurillo

  5. Squad number30Player nameBoly

  6. Squad number27Player nameOrigi

  7. Squad number22Player nameYates

  8. Squad number10Player nameGibbs-White

  9. Squad number15Player nameToffolo

  10. Squad number26Player nameSels

  11. Squad number6Player nameSangaré

  12. Squad number14Player nameHudson-Odoi

  13. Squad number16Player nameDomínguez

  14. Squad number18Player nameFelipe

Line-ups

Luton

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 24Kaminski
  • 16Burke
  • 15Mengi
  • 12KaboréBooked at 30mins
  • 7Ogbene
  • 17MpanzuSubstituted forTownsendat 60′minutes
  • 6Barkley
  • 45DoughtySubstituted forWoodrowat 45′minutes
  • 18ClarkSubstituted forBerryat 85′minutes
  • 14Chong
  • 9Morris

Substitutes

  • 1Shea
  • 8Berry
  • 10Woodrow
  • 23Krul
  • 27Hashioka
  • 30Townsend
  • 43Nelson
  • 44Piesold
  • 48Dos Santos Martins

Nottm Forest

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 26SelsBooked at 90mins
  • 7N Williams
  • 30Boly
  • 40Santiago Costa dos Santos
  • 15ToffoloBooked at 84mins
  • 22Yates
  • 6Sangaré
  • 27OrigiSubstituted forHudson-Odoiat 75′minutes
  • 10Gibbs-WhiteSubstituted forDomínguezat 82′minutes
  • 21Elanga
  • 11WoodSubstituted forFelipeat 75′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Turner
  • 8Kouyaté
  • 14Hudson-Odoi
  • 16Domínguez
  • 18Felipe
  • 20Reyna
  • 28Danilo
  • 32Omobamidele
  • 37Duarte Ribeiro

Referee:
Darren England

Attendance:
11,630

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