Luton Town 1-1 Everton: Adebayo earns much-needed point for relegation-threatened Hatters

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Luton Everton
Elijah Adebayo celebrates scoring for Luton Town.

Luton Town kept their Premier League survival hopes alive as Elijah Adebayo’s brilliant equaliser earned a 1-1 home draw against Everton on Friday night.

Having not started a game since February, Luton’s top scorer announced his return from injury in stunning fashion by collecting a high ball on his chest and bamboozling Ashley Young before netting via clinical finish beyond Jordan Pickford to earn a valuable point for his side.

It moved Rob Edwards’ side level with 17th-place Nottingham Forest ahead of their relegation rivals’ meeting with Sheffield United on Saturday. But it is worth noting that with the Hatters only winning one of their last 14 league matches, they still face an uphill battle to remain in the top flight.

It had looked set to get tougher when Everton took the lead after 24 minutes, Luton defender Teden Mengi hauling Jarrad Branthwaite to the ground at a corner, allowing Dominic Calvert-Lewin the chance to net his seventh league goal of the season from the penalty spot.

Thomas Kaminski in the Luton goal twice saved his team with superb saves in the second half, as the hosts held on to prolong their survival hopes.

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It took until midway through the first half for either side to threaten, Dwight McNeil’s fizzing cross turned in the direction of his own goal by Mengi, the defender bailed out by a point-blank save from Kaminski.

Luton had survived an early calamity but Mengi would yet be the architect of his team’s downfall. Grappling with Branthwaite at an Everton corner, he wrestled his opponent to the ground as the ball was floated over, though neither player was anywhere near the play.

VAR called referee Tim Robinson to the monitor and the award was a penalty from which Calvert-Lewin, amid a volley of boos and jeers directed at the officials by home fans, slotted coolly home.

The reply from Luton was imminent. Albert Sambi Lokonga started it, hitting a raking pass high towards Adebayo who was being closely attended by Young. The Luton striker took the ball on his chest and as he did so the over-balanced Young crumpled to the ground, leaving Adebayo unimpeded eight yards out as he swept the equaliser in left-footed past Pickford.

Edwards’ side deserved to be level. It had been a cohesive, committed first half in which the urgency of their predicament came to the fore in a blizzard of running and harrying.

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It might even have ended with Luton in the lead, had Carlton Morris’ 18-yard effort curled inside the post rather than spinning beyond it.

The second half brought an onslaught of Luton pressure.

Tahith Chong produced a series of rampaging sprints down the left while on the other flank Fred Onyedinma was a threat, as the home side sought to attack from the wings in search of a winner.

However, it was Everton that nearly stole in front after 68 minutes, Jack Harrison letting fly towards the top corner only to be denied by the first of two superb finger-tip stops from Kaminski.

The second came with 13 minutes to play as Everton’s pressure grew, this time Calvert-Lewin rising to head goalwards but thwarted by the Belgian goalkeeper’s reflexes.

Luke Berry’s spectacular overhead kick in stoppage time was deflected wide, as Luton were made to settle for what yet might be a critical point.