Luton Town 1-0 Nottingham Forest (EFL Championship) 15.04.22
It wasn’t to be for Nottingham Forest at Kenilworth Road on this ‘no’ Good Friday afternoon in the Championship promotion race as they were edged by a physical Luton who leapfrog the Reds in the table after a scrappy and bitty affair which was decided by a contentious penalty.
Quickest out of the blocks, the home side started the stronger of the two teams with much more intent, Onyedinma on eight forcing Samba into a save as he raced onto a ball over the top before the best early opportunity for the visitors went to Lewis Grabban on twelve minutes who when put through by Davis shot low into the bottom corner but Town goalkeeper James Shea managed to get down to his right well and flick around the posts.
It would seem Forest had weathered the early Luton storm under the bliss sun kissed skies of Bedfordshire, but ten minutes before half time, Jack Colback was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area despite the fact it was actually off the arm of Drew Bree, that gave Kal Naismith the chance to send Brice Samba the wrong way and put the Hatters ahead.
Two minutes into the second half another decision went against the Reds as Djed Spence played through on goal finished to what he thought would level things up, only to be denied by the linesman’s flag.
Thereafter it became a niggly affair with a number of bookings with the match in particular flaring up following an incident in the corner of the pitch between Keinan Davis and Reece Burke. Luton then missed a very good chance to go two up when Naismith was left unmarked from a corner but the midfielder headed into the ground and over the bar.
Forest made an attacking change as Zinckernagel came on for McKenna and a minute after coming on the Dane should have levelled things up, Grabban breaking to find Johnson who dinked a perfect ball for the substitute to head but his diving effort was straight at the relieved goalkeeper.
Djed Spence then picked out Ryan Yates who flashed his effort inside the box wide and Forest continued to press with new introduction Sam Surridge making an instant impact himself, bundled over by Sonny Brandley who received his second booking of the match and inevitably his marching orders.
Late on Zinckernagel cracked a post with a curling effort before Brennan Johnson’s low shot on the rebound was cleared to safety, Adebayo at the other end shot at the legs of Samba on the break and as Forest pressed, Zinckernagel hit high wide and not so handsome, to the cheers of the home fans.
Twelve bookings in all, four for Forest, eight (including the sending off) for Luton, a real tense and scrappy defeat but to move on, chance to immediately pick things up on Monday as the Reds host West Bromwich Albion at the City Ground. With six games to go there’s still plenty of points on offer.
Luton Town: Shea, Burke, Bradley, Bell, Campbell, Naismith, Bree, Snodgrass (Kioso 81), Onyedinma, Cornick (Hylton 65), Adebayo (Lockyer 90).
Nottingham Forest: Samba, Figueiredo, Worrall, McKenna (Zinckernagel 66), Spence, Yates, Garner, Colback (Lolley 80), Johnson, Grabban (Surridge 75), Davis.
Venue: Kenilworth Road
*Main image @NFFC Brennan Johnson tussles for the ball with Luton’s Onyedinma.