03 December 2020 02:39
James Shea starts in goal in place of Simon Sluga who picked up an injury during the defeat to Cardiff on Saturday. Glen Rea, Luke Berry and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall line-up together in midfield, whilst George Moncur and Jordan Clark both start out wide supporting James Collins up-front. Town: Shea; Cranie, Pearson, Lockyer, Norrington-Davies; Rea, Berry, Dewsbury-Hall; Clark, Moncur; Collins. James Collins has scored four of his six goals this season at Kenilworth Road and all against Norwich City - but this was the first he has celebrated with the fans Luton Town celebrated the return of some of their fans by consigning leaders Norwich City to a first defeat in 11 Championship games. In front of a limited home following of 1,000 balloted supporters, Nathan Jones' Hatters won at Kenilworth Road for the first time in two months.
Three of the goals came inside seven first-half minutes as George Moncur and Matty Pearson scored either side of Emiliano Buendia's fortuitously awarded penalty for injury-hit Norwich. But Luton then wrapped up the three points early in the second half with an equally soft penalty of their own, converted by James Collins, for handball against a luckless Grant Hanley. It takes Jones' side within four points of the play-off places, while Norwich remain top, as Watford and Reading wasted the chance to go above the Canaries, both being held away from home. James Shea was judged to have brought down Przemyslaw Placheta, the Luton keeper being booked for the foray from his line that caused the Norwich man to spreadeagle himself in the box. But, just three minutes later, Luton were in front again when defender Pearson headed home Rhys Norrington-Davies's cross.
Injury-hit Norwich remain on top of the Championship table however, as Watford, Reading and Swansea City were unable to come up with a result that would help overtake them, with Bournemouth having passed up a similar opportunity on Tuesday. James Collins slams home from the spot against Norwich City this evening Luton Town gave their 1,000 fans a night to remember after producing a magnificent display to defeat Championship leaders Norwich City at Kenilworth Road this evening. The Town chief had made wholesale changes to his side following the 4-0 defeat at Cardiff City on Saturday, five in fact, James Shea replacing the injured Simon Sluga in goal, Tom Lockyer, Jordan Clark, Martin Cranie and George Moncur also included too. They were in for Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, captain Sonny Bradley and Elliot Lee, who missed out completely, with Ryan Tunnicliffe dropping to the bench, joined for the first time this season by Dan Potts and Brendan Galloway, the latter's first inclusion since his horror injury against Brentford in November 2019. A blitz of goals then followed when Collins cleverly won a free kick on 15 minutes from a hopeful punt forward by Matty Pearson which was quickly taken to Moncur.
He set off into the area and this time didn't reject the opening to shoot, bending a gorgeous effort beyond McGovern and into the net via the post as Town's home supporters had their first goal to cheer since Collins' penalty against Stoke over nine months ago. Town weren't pegged back for long though, as another set-piece, won by the impressive Clark this time three minutes later, saw Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall produce a pinpoint delivery for Pearson to thump his header past McGovern, as Town notched two goals in a game for the first time in 10 games. Cranie had to replaced on the stroke of half time after picking up an injury when sliding in to prevent a break, James Bree on, while Dewsbury-Hall's ambitious half volley was off target, as was Moncur's free kick from range. After the break, Town got off to the perfect start when they took advantage of some sloppy passing at the back by Norwich, Clark winning it back and finding Bree, his low cross handled by Grant Hanley under pressure from Collins, the City skipper appealing that he had been impeded. The cries fell on deaf ears though as referee Darren England whistled for his second spot-kick of the night, Collins battering his effort into the roof of the net ending a run of four games without a goal and also scoring a first in the league at home this term. Norwich showed they weren't out of it by any means, Buendia's shot parried by Shea from 20 yards, but Town should have added to their cushion, Dewsbury-Hall doing superbly to get round the back, his cross side-footed wastefully over Berry from eight yards. Josh Martin, born in Luton, tried for the bottom corner, missing, while Moncur wanted another penalty when his volley deflected behind off a defender, but a corner was all Town got. Norwich looked like they had a goal back with six minutes remaining, Christoph Zimmermann's blast from distance hitting Jacob Sorensen to leave Shea cruelly wrong-footed and drop into the net, although fortunately for the Hatters, the offside flag was raised. Town almost put the result beyond doubt in the final minute, a wonderful crossfield pass by Bree finding Collins, who shot straight at McGovern. Shea confidently claimed two late crosses to ensure the points stayed in Bedfordshire, Luton picking the perfect moment to register a first home win in almost two months, and continuing a quite remarkable run of unbeaten league matches under the lights at Kenilworth Road. Hatters: James Shea, Martin Cranie (James Bree 45), Rhys Norrington-Davies, Matty Pearson, Tom Lockyer, Glen Rea ©, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (Dan Potts 90), Luke Berry, Jordan Clark, George Moncur (Joe Morrell 70), James Collins.