Remember when I said it would be the hope that kills me!?! I think it finally did Tuesday night. 1-0 up in a game where if we get all three points we will be out of the relegation zone and the hope got too much. Not just for me but for the players too. I don’t think I have any nails left. Despite James Collins cooly slotting home a first-half penalty Luton sat off Queens Park Rangers and let them have too much of the ball, meaning the 65th-minute equalizer by Dominic Ball was never really in doubt. Just a case of when not if.
Luton took the lead after 20 minutes when Elliott Lee won the ball at the halfway mark on the left and moved inside to play it to Luke Berry. The former Cambridge United man picked out James Bree on the right-wing who slid a ball into to Lee who had continued his cross-field run. Lee turned and picked out Berry in oceans of space and the midfielder’s delicate chip into the box met Bree who had cut in from the right-hand side only to be taken down by Ryan Manning. Despite the QPR players appeals and goalkeeper Lumley getting in James Collins face to try put him off the Irish international made no mistake from the spot, sending Lumley the wrong way and slotting it to his left.
Two minutes later Luton could have doubled their lead. Midfielder Andrew Shinnie won a foul in midfield which was taken quickly by Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu. After a short one-two with Bree, Pelly picked out Harry Cornick who flicked it on for Collins on the right-hand side of the 18-yard box. The striker’s cross fizzed across the box but was just too far ahead of Lee who despite sliding in was only able to direct the ball wide of the goalpost.
Luton started the second half brightly and had the ball in the back of the net only to see Dan Potts header from a James Bree corner harshly ruled out for an infringement considering Sonny Bradley was also been held down by a Rangers defender. Again it was James Bree causing the problems for Luton after Manager Nathan Jones admitted to having a ‘frank discussion’ with the defender upon his arrival at the club. “We spoke to him, we spoke frankly to him, because I didn’t think certain elements of his games meant enough to him,” Jones said. “So we spoke to him and we were honest, he’s bought into that and the boy’s an athlete, has wonderful quality.”
Rangers continued to dominate possession, finishing the game with 67%, and were having success down their left, especially after the removal of Elliott Lee for Martin Cranie pushed Bree more forward. Luton goalkeeper Simon Sluga had to be at his absolute best on a number of occasions but could do nothing about the well crafted Rangers goal on the 65th minute. It was no surprise it came down the left as Osayi-Samuel took on and beat Cameron Carter-Vickers to the byline before pulling the ball back into the 18-yard box. Ilias Chair dummied the ball letting it run through to Dominic Ball who slammed home past Sluga to even the game up.
Things nearly got worse for Luton nine minutes later when Sluga dropped a routine catch and Pelly panicked, tried to clear the ball out for a corner, and needed Sluga to dive back to his own goal line and turn it around the post.
Despite Rangers having the possession, it was Luton who had the best chance to win the game at the very last minute. Substitute Danny Hylton got down the right-hand side and placed a lovely ball into the box but Dan Potts saw his shot saved by Joe Lumley in the Rangers goal. Two more corners put pressure on the London side who are comfortably mid-table but Luton couldn’t find a way through.
Alas, it’s on to Saturday to face Hull City who are at the moment a complete shambles of a football team on and off the pitch and were embarrassed by Wigan on Tuesday with an 8-0 thumping. Knowing Luton we’ll roll them over on Saturday, bring it down to the last day of the season next Wednesday only to get beaten by Blackburn Rovers. But that’s the life of a Luton Town fan. We don’t do anything easy and us fans wouldn’t have it any other way.