Luton's struggles on the road continue with defeat at Baggies

Championship: West Bromwich Albion 2 Luton Town 0

Saturday, 1st February 2020, 5:07 pm
Updated Saturday, 1st February 2020, 5:09 pm
Simon Sluga made two fine saves for the Hatters at West Bromwich Albion
Simon Sluga made two fine saves for the Hatters at West Bromwich Albion

Luton's hunt for a first away point since September 28 continued as they lost 2-0 at promotion-chasing West Bromwich Albion this afternoon.

As with most games in their now 11-match league run, 12 in all competitions, Town had their moments in this contest, threatening a goal on more than one occasion, only to as per usual, pay the price for individual errors at crucial times, remaining bottom of the table.

The visitors made one change, Sonny Bradley missing out due to the injury picked up against Derby County in midweek, as Donervon Daniels was handed a first start in his preferred centre back role, against the club where he started his career.

He partnered Matty Pearson, passed fit to start his 76th consecutive game for the club, recovering from the hip injury that forced him off in midweek, with striker James Collins taking the captain's armband.

Transfer window acquisition Cameron Carter-Vickers was on the bench after joining from Spurs, while the hosts' new arrival Callum Robinson started upfront, Hull attacker Kamil Grosicki and Cardiff City defender Lee Peltier signed too late for inclusion.

It was the impressive Robinson who had the first opening on five minutes, his deflected shot simple enough for Simon Sluga.

The on-loan Sheffield United attacker then had a big hard in the opening goal on 15 minutes, as James Bree gave the ball away on the right and from the break, his low cross was turned past Sluga by Daniels, capping a miserable return to his old side.

Luton tried to respond, Kazenga LuaLua firing over the bar from the edge of the box, while they thought they were level on 33 minutes, when a corner was cleared as far as Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu.

His scuffed shot was flicked into the six-yard box by Harry Cornick, where Collins tapped home, only for the linesman's flag to cut short the visitors' celebrations.

Robinson was the hosts' main threat, escaping on the left as Luton switched off from a corner, cutting inside to shoot goalwards, Sluga hanging on well, also denying Matt Phillips, who tried his luck from 40 yards.

Baggies almost had what you felt would be a killer second on the stroke of half time, but Charlie Austin's close range stab cannoned into Pearson and flew wide of the target.

After the break, Sluga was required early on, producing a strong parry from Robinson's 20-yard drive.

Luton however might have equalised 10 minutes in, as LuaLua's quick feet saw him pick out Mpanzu eight yards out, but the midfielder crucially took two touches and allowed the block to come in, his effort deflecting behind.

Izzy Brown was introduced on the hour against his former side for Ryan Tunnicliffe, while Town had penalty appeals when Mpanzu went over following pressure from Semi Ajayi, nothing given by official Stephen Martin.

Sluga prevented Town from going further behind on 67 minutes, as after Daniels couldn't see the ball out, he reacted excellently to tip Matt Phillips' sweet strike over the bar.

There was little he could do though three minutes later, as Phillips swung over a cross from the right and there was Ajayi to outjump Dan Potts and power his header past Sluga.

Town chief Graeme Jones brought on Carter-Vickers for his Luton debut, Daniels making way, with Callum McManaman replacing LuaLua to face his former side, the winger close to pulling one back immediately, denied by a last-gasp block.

Robinson could have made the advantage even greater, taking the ball down on his left foot, only to slice over the top, with Sluga then at full stretch to just prevent Mpanzu's overhit backpass creeping in.

Try as they might though, the visitors just couldn't find even a consolation, now seven points from safety after Charlton's home win over fellow relegation rivals Barnsley.

Baggies: Sam Johnstone, Kyle Bartley, Semi Ajayi, Filip Krovinovic (Rekeem Harper 85), Jake Livermore ©, Matt Phillips (Darnell Furlong 78), Conor Townsend, Charlie Austin (Hal Robson-Kanu 60), Romaine Sawyers, Dara O'Shea, Callum Robinson.

Subs not used: Jonathan Bond, Kyle Edwards, Ahmed Hegazi, Rayhaan Tulloch.

Hatters: Simon Sluga, James Bree, Dan Potts, Matty Pearson, Donervon Daniels (Cameron Carter-Vickers 73), Glen Rea, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Ryan Tunnicliffe (Izzy Brown 61), Kazenga LuaLua (Callum McManaman 73), Harry Cornick, James Collins (C).

Subs not used: James Shea, Andrew Shinnie, George Moncur, Luke Berry.

Booked: Potts 23.

Referee: Stephen Martin.