Goal-shy Hatters are beaten despite dominating title-chasing Swansea

Championship: Luton Town 0 Swansea City 1

Saturday, 13th March 2021, 2:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 12:24 pm
Simon Sluga is beaten by Conor Hourihane this afternoon
Simon Sluga is beaten by Conor Hourihane this afternoon

Luton were once again left to rue missed chances as they fell to an extremely harsh and completely undeserved 1-0 defeat to promotion-chasing Swansea City this afternoon.

The visitors had one real chance all game, which they took after just three minutes through Conor Hourihane, as the Hatters then made all the running from that point onwards.

Despite creating a host of opportunities, as has been their Achilles heel all season, a lack of quality in the final third meant they just couldn't make them count, as they also had a goal disallowed and late penalty appeals turned away.

Boss Nathan Jones made five changes from the 3-0 defeat at Norwich City last weekend with James Bree, Jordan Clark, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Harry Cornick and Elijah Adebayo returning to the side in place of Martin Cranie, Luke Berry, George Moncur, Tom Ince and James Collins.

The hosts almost took the lead early on when a corner caused havoc and was cleared off the line, Kal Naismith's follow-up deflecting into the grateful hands of Freddie Woodman

City were ahead with their first attack though on three minutes, Matty Pearson caught out badly by a long ball, allowing Yan Dhanda to get down the left.

He easily got the better of Naismith and pulled a cross back to the completely unmarked Hourihane to sidefoot underneath the body of Simon Sluga.

Luton didn't let their heads drop with the setback, continuing to look a threat, particularly through Clark playing as a wing-back on the left in another new role for him, as he went closest on 10 minutes, breaking into the area yet again, only just missing the far post with his curler.

Town thought they had an equaliser with 13 gone, Dan Potts rising majestically to head home Cornick's hanging cross, but the linesman's flag for an apparent offside stopped the celebrations short.

Adebayo's fierce cross-shot was repelled by the legs of Woodman, who was then almost caught out when his underhit clearance went straight to Mpanzu.

The midfielder sent a first-time effort which appeared destined for the net, only for the visiting stopper to make a fine back-pedalling save, the ball just dribbling behind, before a Town attacker could pounce.

Luton remained in the ascendancy, with some fine passing creating a crossing chance for Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall on the half hour, who whipped in a delivery that Cornick couldn't get a proper contact on, his header flying well wide.

With five minutes to go, Potts went in for a challenge with Hourihane, colliding heavily with the visiting player, as after some prolonged treatment on the field, he was stretchered off in a neck brace, Martin Cranie on in his place.

The Hatters stayed on the front foot after the break, Adebayo's wonderful first time cross from the right inches away from Cornick's outstretched leg.

Naismith then put a free kick over the top from a decent position, while Adebayo, who was a real presence aerially, stabbed wide of the target, before placing his downward header too close to Woodman.

A slightly sloppy spell by the hosts saw Sluga collect Hourihane's low effort, but the fact that keeper Woodman saw yellow for time-wasting midway through the half, with Connor Roberts cautioned for kicking the ball away soon after showed just how under the cosh City were at times.

Luton kept up their attacking intent too as a wonderful break from a visiting corner saw Cornick's excellent cross missed at the near post by Clark.

With Town starting to tire, Swansea were finally able to keep their at arm's length more comfortably in the closing stages.

However, Luton had huge shouts for a penalty with nine minutes left, Adebayo charged over in the area, nothing given by referee Darren Bond despite cries from Town's players and bench.

Jones threw on Kazenga LuaLua for Pearson, meaning gaps opened up, Jamal Lowe slicing well wide on a foray forward, as did Matt Grimes.

But try as they might, the Hatters just couldn't get the goal their efforts deserved, and when Adebayo's header fell for Woodman and not James Collins, the game was up.

Hatters: Simon Sluga, James Bree, Dan Potts (Martin Cranie 45), Matty Pearson (C Kazenga LuaLua 83), Kal Naismith, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Jordan Clark, Harry Cornick (James Collins 70), Elijah Adebayo.

Subs not used: James Shea, Sam Nombe, Joe Morrell, Glen Rea, Tom Ince, Luke Berry.

Swans: Freddie Woodman, Ryan Bennett, Ryan Manning, Korey Smith, Matt Grimes ©, Andre Ayew, Conor Hourihane (Jay Fulton 65), Yan Dhanda (Jamal Lowe 65), Joel Latibeaudiere, Connor Roberts, Kyle Naughton.

Subs not used: Ben Hamer, Wayne Routledge, Morgan Whittaker, Jake Bidwell, Kieron Freeman, Brandon Cooper, Ben Cabango.

Booked: Naughton 28, Bennett 45, Woodman 60, Roberts 65.

Referee: Darren Bond.