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Home » Luton 1-0 Newcastle: Andros Townsend scores 50th career goal in precious Hatters win

Luton 1-0 Newcastle: Andros Townsend scores 50th career goal in precious Hatters win

Luton 1-0 Newcastle

Andros Townsend scored the only goal of the game as Luton claimed a precious 1-0 win over leggy Newcastle at Kenilworth Road.

A week on from captain Tom Lockyer collapsing on the field of play against Bournemouth, causing that game to be abandoned, Luton delivered a rousing display to earn a priceless third win of the campaign courtesy of a poacher’s goal from Townsend.

The 32-year-old, rolling back the years, made a late dart to the back post, latching onto Ross Barkley’s flick-on from a corner and headed beyond Martin Dubravka for his 50th career goal.

Newcastle, laboured from midweek exploits in the Carabao Cup, were unable to get a foothold in the game and looked to be suffering from fatigue, with their only real effort of an otherwise lacklustre afternoon chalked off by VAR in the second half.

Luton 1-0 Newcastle

Miguel Almiron had nudged the ball into the path of substitute Alexander Isak, who finished emphatically into the far corner, only for the offside flag to cut celebrations short – a decision that was latterly ratified by VAR.

“We knew the whole of today was going to be tough and we failed to handle the emotion,” Eddie Howe conceded after the final whistle.

Luton boss Rob Edwards, by far the happier of the two managers, revealed post-match that he had received a message from Lockyer before kick-off: “Tom text me earlier – he said he’s bored sat at home and reminded me to stop worrying. He told me the three points were there for us today.”

How Townsend inspired upset over former club Newcastle

Luton 1-0 Newcastle

There was a touching tribute from Edwards in his pre-match notes.

He highlighted the importance of health and family, and made a point of emphasising how football comes secondary to both. He described his fear, and his panic. He thanked fans for their heartfelt support.

All of this is, of course, against the backdrop of the distressing scenes at the Vitality Stadium last Saturday, where Lockyer collapsed, and the game was left unfinished.

Lockyer’s name rang around the ground throughout an emotionally-charged afternoon at Kenilworth Road, and it appeared to serve as a rallying cry for Luton Town’s players, who delivered the perfect response.

Luton 1-0 Newcastle

The decider came during Newcastle’s only spell of first-half pressure when Hatters’ star pair, Townsend and Barkley, combined brilliantly at a corner.

Barkley was brave in getting his head to the ball six-yards out as Alfie Doughty’s corner was teased in, glancing it to the back post where Townsend had given Kieran Trippier the slip to nod past Dubravka.

Luton had led here against Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City and taken just a point from those fixtures, but against a Newcastle side tormented by injuries, belief began swirling that a big-name side would finally fall.

Just after the half-hour mark it was almost two. Barkley, fresh from his hand in the goal, tried his luck from distance and rattled the crossbar, prompting Howe into a double change.

Jamaal Lascelles departed for Sven Botman, while Isak replaced Lewis Miley, but that did very little to shift momentum as Newcastle became increasingly frustrated by failed attempts to assert some authority.

Elijah Adebayo was next to test the Magpies’ resolve, showing strength on the edge of the box, before feeding Jacob Brown who sent a rasping drive against the crossbar.

Isak then thought he had equalised when he slotting home from Almiron’s pass, but he was flagged offside and a VAR review confirmed the on-field decision. “We were reactive, rather than proactive,” Howe neatly summarised.

Newcastle have now lost their last four away games, as many as in their previous 21 on the road.

Howe: Bitterly disappointed – we lacked energy

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe:

“Very disappointed with the performance. First half especially. We knew this would be tough. We knew the whole day was going to be tough. We didn’t handle the emotion.

“We have to be consistent with home and away form. There were moments today but not enough. We didn’t compete well enough and we were reactive rather than proactive.

Asked about mentality after losing four away games on the bounce, Howe added: “We have an incredible group, but I was disappointed with the emotion and energy. The players felt that. We were well aware we were below our levels. Ultimately a mistake in the first half has cost us the match.”

Edwards: We embodied Tom in our performance

Luton manager Rob Edwards:

“I’m an emotional wreck at the moment. My kids are going to hammer me for crying again. I’ve got to stop. I’m immensely proud of everyone because this has been a really challenging week.

“They don’t teach you this on the coaching courses, how to deal with stuff like this. I’ve needed my team around me.

“The players have been really brave. We’ve rallied around each other. I’ll be honest, it’s been really hard to concentrate on a game of football this week. My focus has been on Tom and his family, but then there’s a job to do – an important game.

“We’ve all helped each other and I thought the performance was incredible. The performance was the most complete of the season. It’s not because of what’s happened, why we’ve won, but we did talk about it – we wanted to do it for Tom.

“We’ve always wanted to fight and win but today we embodied everything that Tom Lockyer is; every individual was brave and fought for one another. We were so aggressive. We deserved to win the game today because we were the better team.”