McManaman scores late on to rescue a point for Luton

Championship: Luton Town 1 Millwall 1

Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 11:27 pm
Sonny Bradley in action for the Hatters this evening

Substitute Callum McManaman's first goal for the club saw the Hatters rescue a thoroughly deserved point against Millwall this evening.

The winger pounced from close range, turning home fellow replacement Luke Bolton's cross, finally beating visiting keeper Bartosz Bialkowski.

It had looked like the former Ipswich stopper would be the hero for his side, with a string of superb stops to frustrate leading scorer James Collins.

But McManaman's first goals since November 2018 ensured that wasn't the case, the Hatters remaining five points clear of the drop zone..

Town were unsurprisingly unchanged for the clash, staying with the exactly same 11 and bench who won 2-1 at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

The visitors looked dangerous from corners early on, while Town's best chance was a set-piece of their own, Izzy Brown disappointingly over from a free kick 20 yards out.

Brown had a better attempt a few minutes later, rolling his free kick across the box for Dan Potts whose left footed blast thudded into a covering defender.

Relaxed in possession, Luton were producing some thoroughly pleasing football in the early stages, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu driving into the box and Potts crossing, Harry Cornick unable to turn the ball over the line at the far post.

Another clever set-play routine saw Brown's low corner met first time by James Collins, Bialkowski showing swift reflexes to parry.

With 15 to go until the break, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu had a go after Town won possession back from a throw, but 22 yards from goal he leaned back and skied his attempt.

The visitors brought on Ben Thompson at the break and he had an early chance, sending an ambitious header behind.

Yet another clever free kick saw Brown find Collins whose effort was deflected behind, before Bialkowski made the save of the night, a superhuman effort to fingertip Collins' volley from the resulting corner on to the bar.

Millwall weren't able to mount too many attacks, Jayson Molumby volleying hopefully over from range, but they then had the lead on the hour mark, Sluga making a fine save from Jed Wallace's angled drive, but Tom Bradshaw was lurking at the back post to slide home.

Collins then had a go from distance, his effort not coming down in time, while Millwall should have doubled their lead, Smith somehow heading wide from almost on the goal-line.

Town boss Graeme Jones brought on Kazenga LuaLua and McManaman as Brown curled disappointingly over from the edge of the box.

Bialkowski then kept his side in front, when LuaLua tricked his way to the byline, and his low cross was met by Collins, the keeper making another brilliant stop.

Sluga had to be alert to beat away Thompson's drive from 25 yards, as Town were then level with four minutes left, Bolton doing superbly to reach the byline and McManaman adjusting his feet cleverly to sidefoot home, eventually beating the resistance of Bialkowski.

Molumby's dipping late volley didn't miss by much, but although Luton pressed, they couldn't find a late winner, having to settle for a hard-fought point.

Hatters: Simon Sluga, James Bree, Dan Potts, Sonny Bradley (C), Matty Pearson, Jacob Butterfield (Kazenga LuaLua 65), Ryan Tunnicliffe, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Izzy Brown (Luke Bolton 85), Harry Cornick (Callum McManaman 65), James Collins.

Subs not used: James Shea, Lloyd Jones, Elliot Lee, Luke Berry.

Rovers: Bartosz Bialkowski, Murray Wallace, Shaun Hutchinson ©, Jake Cooper, Jed Wallace, Tom Bradshaw, Matt Smith (Aiden O'Brien 81), Mahlon Romeo, Jayson Molumby, Ryan Leonard, Connor Mahoney (Ben Thompson 46).

Subs not used: Jason McCarthy, Shaun Williams, Luke Steele, Alex Pearce, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.

Booked: Molumby 74, J Wallace 77.

Referee: Darren Bond.

Attendance: 10,049 (1,032 Millwall).