Luton Town beat Coventry City in the EFL Championship playoff final on Saturday to book a spot in next season’s Premier League. The exciting game had to go to penalties after the two sides could not be separated. Luton have now managed to rise from non-league to the pinnacle of English football in just nine years. was there at every promotion.
A flying start for the Hatters
The Hatters started the game on the front foot as they had the ball in the net within five minutes. However, the goal was eventually disallowed for offside. After leading much of the first 20 minutes, the Hatters finally went through. And this time it would count.
The goal came in the 23rd minute from a long ball from a Luton defender deep in their own area. Elijah Adebayo was able to get to the end of the long pass and race down the left flank. The striker then dribbled past a Coventry defender to find Jordan Clark on the edge of the box. Clark took a smart touch towards the Coventry goal and fired hard past the helpless Ben Wilson into the goal. It was only the midfielder’s third goal of the entire campaign.
Luton also had the goal in the back of the net in the 41st minute, but the assistant referee disallowed it for handball. Coventry were essentially dominated for much of the opening period. Their first shot of the game didn’t even come until the 43rd minute. However, the ball sailed over the crossbar from close range.
Coventry clawed back to draw in the second half
While they may have been anemic in the first half, Coventry came flying out of the blocks in the second half. The Sky Blues leveled in the 66th minute thanks to a goal from Gustavo Hamer. Eerily similar to Luton’s goal, Viktor Gyökeres raced down the left flank of the pitch on a counter-attack and found a teammate on the edge of the penalty area. Hamer then hit a first shot low and into the bottom corner of the net.
The goal would prove to be particularly crucial as the game would eventually go to extra time. As dominant as Luton were in the first half, in the last period they were the complete opposite. In fact, the Hatters totaled only two shots in the entire second half.
Luton Town reach Premier League on penalties
Luton looked certain to take the match winner late in extra time through a goal from Joe Taylor. However, it was ruled that the substitute controlled the ball with his arm before making his move towards goal. It was the Hatters’ third disallowed goal of the day. The match would eventually go to a penalty shootout.
After the first five penalty takers on both sides converted their shots, the match needed additional penalty kicks. Luton’s Dan Potts stepped up and scored his team’s sixth shot of the stage. This meant that Coventry had to score to keep the game going. Still, Fankaty Dabo shot his shot high and wide of American goalkeeper Ethan Horvath.
The miss would earn Luton a spot in next season’s Premier League.
PHOTO: IMAGO / PA Images
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