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Season 2023-24
Luton Town (a) Premier League


Saturday 23rd December 2023, 3pm
(not on live UK TV) 

Kenilworth Road

Conditions: Constrained


Luton Town



1 - 0





25 mins A strong run by Alfie Doughty down the Luton left ended with Kieran Trippier conceding a corner kick. Doughty took the corner and found Barkley, who was between Guimaraes and Lascelles. He headed it onwards for Andros Townsend to nod home from close range at the back post.

Some moments earlier, the goalscorer had tried his luck from distance but placed his shot on the roof of the away end, the ball rolling into a hole and out of sight amid ironic cheers. 0-1

Half time: Hatters 1 Magpies 0

Full time:
Hatters 1 Magpies 

We Said


Eddie Howe said:

"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.

"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. The second half was much better but we could not force the goal we needed and that mistake has cost us the match.

"Luton played well. It was always going to be a difficult game for us, a tough place to come. We switched off from a corner and ultimately it cost us the game.

"No excuses from our side, just on the day we weren't where we needed to be to win the game.

"I think I've got to choose my words carefully. We have an incredible group and I was disappointed with the first half performance, I thought we needed more, we needed more emotion in our performance, more energy in our performance.

"I'm not going to say any more than that really but I think the players felt that as well. We were well aware we were below our levels but second half was a lot better and we couldn't force the goal we needed and the mistake in the first half has cost us the match."

On Jamaal Lascelles' injury: 

"I'm not sure. That will need to be assessed in the next few hours."

On replacing Lewis Miley during the first half:

"Controlling his minutes is something I have wanted to do anyway, so I did not look at it based on his performance. It was not based on his performance, I know it was based on a tactical decision.

"He should have no problems, he is so young. I am going to sit down and talk to him of course, it was not something I planned to do, it was something instinctive because we weren't good in the game and we needed to make a change. But there will be no problems with him, he will totally understand.

On Newcastle's away form this season: 

"Our away form hasn't been what we wanted it to be. All we can do is try to respond on the pitch and put it right Today's performance epitomised our away form because there were some really good bits but not enough. 

"We didn't compete well enough in the first-half, I thought we were off on our duels and we were reactive rather than proactive. And that cost us the match."

They Said


Rob Edwards:

"I'm an emotional wreck at the moment, really proud of everybody. 

"It's been a tough week for the football club, it's been the greatest challenge of my football career. No coaching badges prepare you for something like this. I've needed the support of everybody and the players have been incredible - to go and perform as they have, after last week, words fail me.

"We wanted to do it for Tom. It wasn't extra motivation, we just wanted to embody what he is about. He's brave, determined, a fighter, and I thought we showed all of those attributes today. It feels strange talking about a football match with everything that's gone on, but it's a huge win.

"We've had good performances and maybe that changed the narrative a bit. We know it's going to be a huge challenge but we're moving in the right way. I like the way we're shaping up at the moment. We were incredibly aggressive against a really good Newcastle team and we've got a good blueprint that we'll continue working hard on.

"To be honest I probably would have written us off as well, from outside, but I think there�s ways of doing that and I think some people were disrespectful with how they did it That angered me a little bit, but I don�t use that. I can�t affect what other people think or say or write. 

"Some people gave good rationale; smallest budget, promoted out the play-offs, first time in the Premier League. I get that. But some of the stuff that was written was crackers.

�The performances have been good: we haven�t won the game just because of what�s happened. We wanted to do it for Tom, but the performances have been there. It was probably more complete, we were able to put it together for 97 minutes. Maybe against Arsenal we had 75 minutes, against City we had around 60.

�The players have been performing really well for a long time now. I think we�ve been changing the narrative around us as well, around the football club with those performances. We just got the result.�

On Tom Lockyer - who suffered a cardiac arrest on the field last week against Bournemouth, but is now out of hospital after having a Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) device fitted: 

"He text me and said he could feel three points coming. He's already getting bored sat at home on the sofa. I just told him to chill out and enjoy everyone looking after him at the moment."


A seventh successive failure to score here in all competitions means that Pat Heard remains the last Magpie to net for us at Kenilworth Road, in November 1984. That's 641 minutes and counting. 

A first-ever Premier League meeting with the Hatters made Luton the 50th different side we've faced in that competition and Kenilworth Road the 60th venue.  

Newcastle lost their fourth successive away game in the PL, the first time they've suffered that indignity since they lost five in a row during December 2020/January 2021.

The Magpies wore their dark blue change strip for the third time in the PL, following airings at Sheffield United (won 8-0) and Spurs (lost 1-4).

This was defeat number 400 in the Premier League for Newcastle in their 1090th match. Away from SJP we've lost 261, with the other 139 coming on home territory.

Hatters v Magpies - all time:

2023/24 lost 0-1 (PL)
1993/94 lost 0-2 (FAC)
drew 0-0 (Ch)
1988/89 drew 0-0 (D1) 
1987/88 lost 0-4 (D1)
1986/87 drew 0-0 (D1)
1985/86 lost 0-2 (D1)
1984/85 drew 2-2 (D1)
1981/82 lost 2-3 (D2)
1980/81 won 1-0 (D2)
1979/80 drew 1-1 (D2)
1978/79 lost 0-2 (D2)
1974/75 lost 0-1 (D1)
1962/63 won 3-2 (D2)
1961/62 lost 0-1 (D2)
1959/60 won 4-3 (D1)
1958/59 lost 1-2 (D1)
1957/58 won 3-0 (D1)
1956/57 lost 1-4 (D1)
1955/56 lost 2-4 (D1)
1947/48 lost 1-2 (D2)
1946/47 lost 3-4 (D2)
1938/39 lost 1-2 (D2)
1937/38 lost 1-4 (D2)
1897/98 lost 1-3 (D2)*

All games played at Kenilworth Road except * Dunstable Road.

Andros Townsend's first Luton goal was his first in the PL since netting for Everton in October 2021 and a career first in games against Newcastle, having previously faced us for QPR, Spurs, Crystal Palace and Everton. He's the first ex-Mag to score against us in the PL since Ivan Toney.


VAR humbug


The executive chalets may have gone the same way as the plastic pitch, but nothing much else has changed round here since Newcastle' last visit here in 1993 - including the cow byre away end.

What could be termed a Cup tie atmosphere in an old-fashioned ground bore all the hallmarks of an upset except for the lack of live TV coverage and tinfoil trophies.  

And sadly, the ghosts of Kenilworth Road past continue to haunt the current crop of Magpies, who emulated their predecessors in failing to get to grips with their surroundings; discomfort beginning when Dan Burn had to duck when passing through the passageway leading to the pitch.

Negotiating a route to goal was something that Eddie Howe's side also struggled with; former Magpie Andros Townsend showing them the way with a rare headed goal and his current colleagues Ross Barkley and Jacob Brown then both striking the frame of Martin Dubravka's goal. 

Townsend's goal condemning his old side to their sixth away league defeat - already twice as many as they suffered in the whole of last season. United's ongoing travel sickness has seen them collect just five Premier League points on the road from nine outings; today the fourth time that they have failed to score. At the other end, they've managed just one clean sheet.

Callum Wilson had gone close to opening the scoring shortly before Townsend but his close range header was straight at Thomas Kaminski during an all-too brief period when the visitors enjoyed a measure of control. Bruno's shot soon after also looked goalbound until Gabriel Osho blocked.

0-1 down, United were forced into a first half replacement for the third game in eight days; the ailing Jamaal Lascelles replaced by Sven Botman. A tactical switch meanwhile Lewis Miley make way for Isak, something Howe stressed afterwards was no reflection on a neat display by the youngster.

That ploy seemed to have worked just after the hour mark when Isak collected the ball in the box and proceeded to drive it home for Christmas in front of the away section - only for VAR to confirm the linesman's flag for a marginal but correct offside decision. 

From that moment on, an equaliser looked less and less likely as the Magpies were unable to create any more clear-cut chances despite dominating possession. The Hatters were good value for what was only their third-ever Premier League victory and a maiden clean sheet; showing superior spirit and tenacity, "wanting it more" as the football cliche goes.

It's incorrect to label this result as a giant-killing, although there was clearly something lacking here today and it was difficult to argue with the home fan who reckoned we just didn't fancy it. This Luton side were seconds away from beating Liverpool and drawing with Arsenal here, gave Manchester City a run for their money and haven't yet lost by more than one goal at home.

Victory over Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day would leave us just three points shy of where we stood halfway through last season, thanks to our outstanding home record this time round.

It's that lamentable away record that causes concern though, especially given that our next two PL trips take us to teams with similarly fortress-like status to ours - Liverpool and Villa. The other trip in the FA Cup doesn't really bear thinking about with us in this mood, but it's worth pointing out that this travel sickness pre-dates the much-publicised squad injuries and fatigue. Not good.



Page last updated 15 January, 2024