Luton are held to a stalemate by struggling Rotherham

Championship: Luton Town 0 Rotherham United 0

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 9:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 9:36 pm
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall curls wide for Luton this evening

Luton ended their 2020-21 home campaign with a goalless draw against relegation strugglers Rotherham United this evening.

The visitors went into the game needing to win to keep their survival hopes in their own hands going into the weekend finale at Cardiff City, which made it into a frantic evening at times, with real quality at a premium, but plenty of near misses at both ends.

Town boss Nathan Jones made two changes from the 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough on Saturday, Dan Potts and Ryan Tunnicliffe in for Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu and Harry Cornick who dropped to the bench.

Adopting a 3-5-2 formation with Potts and James Bree the wing backs, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall had the opening effort, his 25-yarder comfortable for Jamal Blackman.

Town stopper Simon Sluga then had to quickly change direction to save Lewis Wing's long range free kick which took a slight deflection on its way through, the midfielder having beaten the Croatian with a wonderful effort on his Championship debut when at parent club Middlesbrough last term.

Dewsbury-Hall had Town's only other effort in the opening 15 minutes, another curler out of the reach of Blackman this time, but also wide of the target, while Sonny Bradley bravely threw himself in the way of Ben Wiles' powerful drive from outside the box that looked to be seriously troubling Sluga.

Striker Elijah Adebayo came the closest for both sides with 20 minutes gone, bursting into the area and thrashing a shot against the bar from 10 yards.

Some sloppy play at the back by Naismith and Glen Rea led to a great opening for Rotherham as Ryan Giles' inviting cross was met by Michael Smith, whose glancing header was only narrowly wide.

A poor mistake by Wes Harding allowed Adebayo to get away on the right, his delivery only just over the head of Potts who was careering in at the far post.

The woodwork came to Rotherham's rescue again on the half hour, Dewsbury-Hall's wickedly inswinging corner palmed on to his own post by Blackman as the Millers survived the pinball that followed.

A lovely cushioned header by Adebayo, who was Town's biggest threat all night, sent James Bree away, but as the right back closed in on the box, he bizarrely opted to try and find Luton's deadline day signing rather than go for goal himself and the move eventually broke down.

It was Town who were grateful to the post on 42 minutes when Smith's header saw Matt Cross deftly lob Sluga from close range, the ball carressing the woodwork before Town's Croatian international got back in the nick of time, as a quick check of the watch by referee David Webb signalled it hadn't crossed the line.

Luton forced a flurry of corners to end the half, Blackman palming one behind, the second cleared to Dewsbury-Hall who volleyed wide from the edge of the box.

The hosts made a change at the break, with Harry Cornick on for Potts as Town switched back to the diamond they adopted against Middlesbrough, Collins dropping slightly deeper once more.

A scrappy start to proceedings saw the hosts bring on Mpanzu for Collins, with the midfielder's first action to set off on a driving run, the ball ricocheting for Adebayo whose curler was straight at Blackman.

Rotherham, getting increasingly desperate for the win they required, had a glorious chance, the impressive Giles sending over another pinpoint cross that a back-pedalling Crooks could only nod wide.

Luton still couldn't create anything clear-cut though, Matty Pearson meeting Naismith's deep free kick, his header easy for Blackman, while Mpanzu ought to have done better when the ball dropped to them just outside the box, skying disappointingly over.

Moments later it was Naismith who had a crack from a similar position, his rising shot also clearing Blackman's goal.

Wing had a pop from a free kick 25 yards from goal that Sluga scampered to palm behind, as from the corner, Town broke with a wonderful flowing move that saw Adebayo unable to apply the finishing touch, slamming waywardly behind.

Right at the death, Luton thought they had won it, Bradley's header from Dewsbury-Hall's corner beating Blackman to find the net, but it was ruled out for a push.

The result did see Jones' side make it six unbeaten, as they stayed in 12th place ahead of their final match at QPR on Saturday, while United need to win their game and hope other scorelines go their way.

Hatters: Simon Sluga, James Bree, Dan Potts (Harry Cornick 46), Matty Pearson, Sonny Bradley ©, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Glen Rea, Ryan Tunnicliffe (Kazenga LuaLua 75), Kal Naismith, James Collins (Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu 63), Elijah Adebayo.

Subs not used: James Shea, Martin Cranie, Joe Morrell, Dion Pereira, George Moncur, Sam Nombe.

Millers: Jamal Blackman, Lewis Wing, Richard Wood (C), Ben Wiles, Wes Harding, Michael Ihiekwe, Matthew Olosunde (Freddie Ladapo 65),Michael Smith (Chiedozie Ogbene 65) Matt Crooks, Dan Barlaser (Joe Mattock 74), Ryan Giles.

Subs not used: Viktor Johansson, Shaun MacDonald, Jamie Lindsay, Kieran Sadlier, Angus MacDonald, Florian Jozefzoon.

Bookings: Smith 43.

Referee: David Webb.