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Season 2023-24
Luton Town (h) Premier League

 

Date: Saturday 3rd February 2024, 3pm
(not on live UK TV)

Venue:
St. James' Park

Conditions: Improbable
 



Newcastle

Luton Town

 

4 - 4


 

Teams

Goals

7 mins Finding their route forward blocked, United circulated the ball across their back line just inside their own half, Fabian Schar playing a short pass infield to Sven Botman who sent it forward into the path of the unmarked Lewis Miley in the centre of the pitch.

The youngster effortlessly made himself space before finding Kieran Trippier overlapping on the right. With Alfie Doughty content to shadow him rather than press closer, the Newcastle captain ignored a simple ball inside to Anthony Gordon, preferring instead to cut it back for Sean Longstaff.

His forward run took him clear of Albert Sambi Lokonga, steering home a low right footed effort from roughly level with the penalty spot before Ross Barkley could intervene 1-0


21 mins
Botman went through the back of Adebayo in a central area and Barkley's free kick into the box was flicked on by Carlton Morris - who ran out of the box as the kick came over before doubling back to elude his marker - for Gabe Osho to head home off the crossbar from six yards out. 1-1

23 mins A touch off Bruno saw Miggy Almiron gain possession in his own box and a smart pass set Anthony Gordon away on a lung-busting run towards the left hand touchline. Had Osho got anywhere near him the Newcastle man would no doubt have tumbled over, but he was able to dash unchecked to the Town box, cut inside and ping his right foot shot to Thomas Kaminski's left.

The visiting custodian blocked it, but the ball ran straight to Sean Longstaff in the centre of the box and he simply took a touch before stroking it home from similar range to his opener. 2-1


40 mins Barkley eluded Jacob Murphy and Longstaff in the centre circle and menaced his way towards goal, playing a short ball to Doughty beyond him on the left inside the area. His shot was scooped by Martin Dubravka into the path of Barkley, who blasted it home with ease. 2-2

Half time: Toon 2 Town 2

59 mins
Chiedozie Ogbene knocked the ball past down Dan Burn on the Luton right and the home defender pulled him back by the shoulder outside the box. An initial free kick was upgraded to a penalty by VAR and Carlton Morris stepped up Ė at the second time of asking Ė to coolly send Dubravka the wrong way (again) for his third PL spot kick success of the season. 2-3

62 mins
Luton charged forward again and Doughty fed Barkley who spotted Elijah Adebayo to his right as Botman and Bruno blocked his own route to goal, rolling the ball into his path for him to ram a low ball into the opposite corner of Dubravka's net 2-4


67 mins Miley's short pass to Bruno to the left of the box saw the Brazilian curl in a wonderful cross with the outside of his boot. Longstaff went down under challenge from Doughty but lurking behind him and ahead of Morris was Kieran Trippier, who pinged it first time into the net. Game on.3-4


73 mins Luton looked set to clear their lines when Morris found Barkley outside his own box, but Miley's intervention was crucial, seeing the ball roll clear for Harvey Barnes to sieze on, before dispatching a left footed strike into the bottom corner of the goal from just outside the box, Kaminski diving the right way but beaten, his view possibly obscured by Osho.  4-4


Full time:  Toon 4 Town 4

We Said

 
Eddie Howe said:

"Itís difficult, really difficult, to sum up my emotions. There were a lot of good things from us but a lot of bad too. It was a strange game really: (we have) so much to look back on and reflect on. We are disappointed to have not grown stronger in the game. 

"Credit to Luton on how they got back into the game. And then we had to do that as well. T
he first goal is a set play and another is a penalty. We made some poor decisions defensively. When we went 1-0 up and I don't think we handled it well until they equalised.

"I wanted us to grab control of the game but we didn't. That's the frustrating thing. In that moment we had a lack of confidence and then a real credit to the players for coming back because it is not easy to do. We scored some great goals and could have won it."

On the substitutions and Dan Burn:

"When that (Luton's fourth goal) happens, in that moment all you're focusing on is 'How can I help the team?'. The emotions you live with now after the game; in the moment, it's about 'What can we do to try to get back in the match?

"When youíre in my shoes, you have more than one thing to focus on. Itís never that clear cut.

"Luton are a really good team and we knew set-plays were going to be a huge threat, so we had to cover that. Itís not just one discipline. We conceded the first goal from a set-play.

"Yes, they were a threat down that right-hand side, and we didnít deal with it well enough. Thatís certainly something for us to focus and reflect on. But defensively all day, really, we were never totally secure.

"Dan
(Burn) has been absolutely outstanding since he arrived at the football club. He played a huge part in our brilliant season last year, and our excellent defensive record. Four days ago, I thought he was magnificent against Aston Villa - he was a big part of why we played so well. 

"Tino
(Livramento) is an outstanding player, and no doubt will have a huge bearing on our future. But as I said earlier, thereís more than one aspect of the game to think about when I pick the team."

On Anthony Gordon:

"I think he twisted his ankle. He is in a protective boot and the physios are doing the right thing."

They Said

 

Rob Edwards said:

"I just said to the lads I went from feeling sick to elation to...I experienced a lot during that 100-odd minutes. I'm obviously really proud of the players, we've just got to strap in for 16 more of those.

"I thought it was a really, really enjoyable game for all the supporters who were here. Once we were 4-2 up, I'm slightly disappointed we weren't able to see it out but they got their third back fairly quickly.

"When they got back to 4-4 maybe there were other teams that would then cave in and Newcastle would go on and win it. I'm really pleased with our reaction.

"Very mixed emotions. It was a great game and Iím proud of our performance. 

"We were brave and could have won it at the end but weíre not the finished article and weíre going to make mistakes. I felt sick at times, I felt elation at times but I think a point was a fair result.

"
It is very mixed. I am very proud and pleased with the performance. We were brave.

"They came back quickly and the way we stayed composed and didn't go under was pleasing. That could have happened in this cauldron of an atmosphere. We even had a chance to win it at the end. It was an even game, and a great game.

"I have said to the players, this is the best way for us to get results. The players have really bought in. We have been this way before, but it suits who we are and what we are. It suits the whole football club to be honest. It gives us more threat and upsets the flow of the opposition.

"I think when you look at their goals there were some things we could have done. You just need to see certain moments out. Some of the actions for their goals we could have done better on.

"They will be thinking the same as well. There are always areas to improve. We are human beings and we make mistakes and we will always make mistakes."

Stats


NUFC PL home goals against 2022/23: 14 goals in 19 games
NUFC PL home goals against 2023/24: 14 goals in 12 games

We're currently in our most porous state at SJP in the PL for over a decade:

Apr 2013 to May 2013: mackems (h) 0-3, Liverpool (h) 0-6, Arsenal (h) 0-1 (10)
Dec 2023 to Feb 2024: Forest (h) 1-3, Manchester City (h) 2-3, Luton (h) 4-4 (10)
 
4-4 draws involving NUFC - all-time:

2023/24
Luton Town (h) PL
2010/11 Arsenal (h) PL
2001/02 Troyes (h) IT
1977/78 Everton (a) D1
1962/63
Cardiff City (a) D2
1960/61
Wolves (h) D1 (White 1)
1958/59
Manchester United (a) D1 (White 2)
1954/55
Spurs (h) D1 (White 1)
1895/96
Darwen (a) D2
1894/95
Leicester Fosse (a) D2
1894/95
Port Vale (a) D2

Sean Longstaff
netted his fifth and sixth goals in all competitions this season, boosting his career total as a Magpie to 14 (eight in PL, three in FAC, two in PL, one in CL). 

That figure of eight PL strikes draws him level with current colleague Anthony Gordon and SJP old boys Philippe Albert, Ciaran Clark, Lee Clark, Duncan Ferguson and Temuri Ketsbaia.

Kieran Trippier
broke his seasonal scoring duck with his fourth goal as a Magpie, all of which have come in the PL and all at SJP. This however was his first effort from open play.

Harvey Barnes
doubled his PL goal tally for United, emulating the circumstances of his first against Aston Villa in August by coming off the bench in the second half of a home game and firing home at the Gallowgate End. 

Luton remain winless in 15 visits to Gallowgate since a 2-0 FA Cup success on this exact day back in 1973. In league fixtures only, Town have left SJP with maximum points just once in 24 attempts - a 3-1 away win in Division Two during September 1937.

As he was on the day that we shared eight goals with Arsenal here in February 2011, Tim Krul looked on from the bench as an unused substitute. The only difference was that he'd switched dugouts from home to away.

Ross Barkley netted his sixth PL goal against Newcastle, the previous five all coming in the colours of Everton. Although finishing on the winning side during his time at both Chelsea and Aston Villa, he didn't score for them in those games. 

Hatters in Toon - last 10:

2023/24
drew 4-4 (PL) Longstaff 2, Trippier, Barnes
2017/18
won 3-1 (FAC) Perez 2, Shelvey
1993/94 drew 1-1 (FAC) Beardsley pen 
1992/93 won 2-0 (Ch) Clark, Kelly 
1988/89 drew 0-0 (D1)
1987/88 won 4-0 (D1) O'Neill 3, Goddard 
1986/87 drew 2-2 (D1) P.Jackson, Goddard
1985/86 drew 2-2 (D1) Roeder, Beardsley
1984/85 won 1-0 (D1) Wharton
1981/82 won 3-2 (D2) Brown 2, Varadi


Waffle

Luton's Premier League debut at Gallowgate proved to be an enthralling one on Saturday; playing their part in one of the most unforgettable games there in living memory.   

For only the second time in 1,095 Premier League fixtures, United and their opponents shared eight goals - coming from behind as they had against Arsenal on Tyneside almost thirteen years to the day to gain a point - and ending up agonisingly close to grabbing all three.

Missing Friday's press call due to illness, Eddie Howe was in the dugout but could have been forgiven for checking the side-effects of his medication by full time after what unfolded before his eyes.

Ahead early on through Sean Longstaff's first-time shot, the Hatters soon levelled through Gabriel Osho's header - only for Longstaff to almost instantly restore his side's advantage, firing in the rebound after Anthony Gordon's initial shot was beaten out by Thomas Kaminski.

Having his usual good game here, Ross Barkley scored a carbon copy of Longstaff's second before half time to tie the match at 2-2, with the prospect of further goals given the open nature of the contest; this had all the hallmarks of a "we're gonna score one more than you" thrill fest. 

Gordon had looked in discomfort leaving the field at the interval and failed to return; fit-again Callum Wilson taking his place and full of running as Newcastle looked to regain the lead for a third time. 

Dan Burn's foul on Ogbene just before the hour was indicated by the linesman nearby to have taken place outside the box, but the intervention of VAR belatedly saw the free kick upgraded to a penalty that Carlton Morris twice placed identically past Martin Dubravka - the first effort ruled out for taking it too early.

Within three minutes the visitors had opened up a two goal lead after a breakaway goal reminiscent of AC Milan's winner at the same end was scored by Elijah Adebayo - his fourth in four days and Luton's eighth. 

Having seen his side turn 1-0 and 2-1 advantages into a 2-4 deficit, Howe heeded the shouts from the crowd and replaced the ailing Burn with Tino Livramento - Harvey Barnes also making a welcome return after missing 26 league and cup fixtures with a foot injury.

Within five minutes the difference between the sides was back to one goal as Kieran Trippier hooked in from close range. And by the 73rd minute it was 4-4 after Barnes found the bottom corner of the goal with a left footer from just outside the box at the Gallowgate End. 

The remaining 17 minutes of normal time plus what ultimately became 11 more added on seemed to pass by in a flash; chances at both ends and what seemed to be an inevitable home winner just never ending up in the back of the Luton net. 

Barnes twice saw goalbound efforts deflected and after some wizardry from Bruno on the right, Jacob Murphy somehow failed to make reach a speeding ball from roughly where he forced a goal at Villa.  

What was at times admirable vision, potency and mobility on other occasions was lightweight, offering flimsy protection to a defence lacking pace when the preferred senior quartet are all in situ. The back four today were mainly responsible for last season's home shutout of over five hours, but personnel changes in front and behind have changed. 

The bare facts are that United have conceded ten goals in three home games but scored seven; managing to avert what would have been a third successive home league defeat for the first time in Howe's reign here. That's hardly a crisis but deeply concerning. 

Given the largesse of the referee, had Joelinton been available today we'd have won and several of the Luton players would have needed helping on to the bus. As it was though, he won't feature again this season and with the transfer window now closed we need to address the issue of solidity in central midfield from within. The inevitable suspension of Bruno remains a massive headache.

The return of Callum Wilson offset the absence of Alexander Isak, but although Bruno and Gordon both avoided bookings the latter left the stadium wearing a protective boot; yet another fitness worry just as Harvey Barnes has become available. 

Far beyond those statistics though is an irresistible spectacle after a typical week in our history. Logic suggested that a total of four points from a trip to Villa and the visit of Luton would have come via a draw on the road and a win on home soil. We aren't logical.

Biffa

 

 

 


Page last updated 05 February, 2024