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Luton Town 1-1 Everton: Hatters miss crucial chance to escape Premier League relegation zone

Luton’s survival hopes are dwindling with the game. A hard-fought 1-1 draw with Everton at Kenilworth Road was not enough to lift them out of the relegation zone, and they have now played one more game than the teams around them.

Everton managed to survive last weekend, which many felt increased Luton’s chances of victory, although there was never much danger of a Sean Dyche team coming calling. They defended resolutely, putting away cross after cross, and ensured Jordan Pickford had a relatively quiet night.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin put the Toffees ahead in the first half, taking a penalty right down the middle after Teden Mengi was penalized for trying to hug Jarrad Branthwaite in a corner.

Elijah Adebayo, starting for the first time since February, tied it with a great goal in the 31st minute.

Luton dominated the second half but only threatened with a winner during a pulsating attack in injury time. Luton took eight shots in as many minutes, culminating in Andros Townsend’s low shot being deflected by Branthwaite. If there were any doubts about Everton’s motivation, Branthwaite’s celebration of that saving touch dispelled them.

The draw continues a desperate run for Luton. They have only won one of their last 15 league games, picking up seven points in that time. It has left them in need of favors from elsewhere, starting tomorrow when Nottingham Forest go to Sheffield United and Burnley host Newcastle.

Talking point: Time is running out for Luton

It looked like a game Luton had to win, not mathematically, but to arrest their poor form and put maximum pressure on their relegation rivals Nottingham Forest and Burnley. Instead, Forest go to relegated Sheffield United on Saturday knowing that victory would leave them three points ahead of Luton and with a superior goal difference. Luton’s only realistic chance of survival is to win their last two games against West Ham and Fulham. Even that might not be enough.

Man of the match: Tahith Chong (Luton)

Chong’s runs through the midfield were a problem for Everton throughout the match. James Garner and Idrissa Gueye were booked for tripping Chong, whose surges energized Luton every time the game threatened to get away from them. At times his final pass was overzealous, but that was the only blemish on an excellent performance.

Player ratings

London: Kaminski 7, Burke 7, Mengi 6, Osho 6, Onyedinma 6, Sambi Lokonga 7, Barkley 7, Doughty 7, Chong 8, Morris 6, Adebayo 8. Substitutes: Berry 7, Woodrow 7, Townsend 6.

Everton: Pickford 6, Godfrey 7, Tarkowski 8, Branthwaite 8, Young 7, Harrison 6, Gueye 7, Garner 6, McNeil 7, Doucoure 6, Calvert-Lewin 8. Substitutes: Onana 7, Beto 7, Andre Gomes 6, Coleman 6, Chermiti 6.

Match highlights

23′ – PENALTY TO EVERTON! Mengi catches Branthwaite at a corner, a strange piece of defending, and this could well be a penalty. The referee goes to the monitor.. He throws a few glances, to be sure, and then signals that it’s a penalty. There are loud boos, but that was clear as day.

24′ – GOAL! LUTON 0-1 EVERTON (CALVERT-LEWIN PEN) Dominic Calvert-Lewin takes the penalty down the middle. It wasn’t the best (Kaminski was successful), but he got the job done.

31′ – GOAL! LUTON 1-1 EVERTON (ADEBAYO) Magnificent draw from Elijah Adebayo! Lokonga, 40 meters away, launched a diagonal ball towards Adebayo, who had passed the far post towards Young. Adebayo chested the ball down, pushed Young aside and fired a shot past Pickford with his left foot. It’s a fantastic ending.

45+6′ – OFF GODFREY’S LINE! Luton almost took the lead on the stroke of half-time. Doughty whips a superb cross past the far post, where Luton are a man up. Morris heads over the goal again and Godfrey, well positioned, heads the ball off the line. I’m not 100 percent sure Morris’ header went in, although Godrey wasn’t taking any chances.

77′-FINE SALVATION FROM KAMINSKI! Harrison’s deep cross is well maintained by McNeil, who tenses his neck muscles to head the ball towards the goal. Calvert-Lewin meets him with a majestic header that Kaminski tilts acrobatically.

90+8′-GREAT DEFENSE! The free kick heads straight to the edge of the box, where Townsend runs onto the ball and hits a crisp low shot. Branthwaite gets a foot in to deflect the ball towards the post and then celebrates as if he had scored the winning goal! He may not have gone in, because Coleman was on the line, but it was great instinctive defending from Branthwaite.

Key statistics

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