Luton maintain promotion push with comeback win at Huddersfield
Luton’s promotion push continued as they came from behind to beat Huddersfield 2-1.
The Terriers looked set to continue their revival on the back of two consecutive victories at the end of 2022 when Duane Holmes handed the hosts an early lead.
However, the Hatters levelled shortly before the interval through Amari’i Bell’s effort, which Michal Helik came agonisingly close to clearing off the line.
And Luton’s heartening second-half display was rewarded when Reece Burke grabbed a late winner – ending their seven-match winless run against Huddersfield.
In the process, the visitors secured a third successive victory under new boss Rob Edwards – a feat they last achieved in February last year.
The Hatters, returning to the John Smith’s Stadium for the first time since last season’s play-off heartache, started brightly and came close to opening the scoring inside the opening 10 minutes.
Good combination play from Carlton Morris and Elijah Adebayo saw the former send the latter through on goal, but goalkeeper Lee Nicholls did well to save one-on-one.
A lively Morris – Luton’s top scorer with five goals this term – then fired a fierce effort goalwards only for Helik to make a brave – and painful – block.
Despite the visitors’ early authority, it was Huddersfield who opened the scoring.
Jack Rudoni’s tame effort inadvertently found Holmes in the area and he collected on the spin and converted low into the far corner.
The American international, who opened his account for the season in midweek, scored in successive league games for the first time in his career.
However, the Terriers’ defensive resilience was broken and their hard work undone shortly before the interval.
Helik again appeared to be Huddersfield’s saviour when he heroically blocked Bell’s strike on the goal-line, but the technology revealed that the defender’s efforts were unsuccessful.
Their late first-half leveller handed the Hatters some inspiration and Edwards’ half-time instructions nearly paid immediate dividends after the restart.
Alfie Doughty, a scorer in Luton’s 3-0 victory at QPR in midweek, tested Nicholls with a venomous free-kick which the stopper did well to save and hold.
Sorba Thomas also threatened from a set-piece at the other end, but his dangerous delivery was cleared by Adebayo.
Both sides rallied in their pursuit of a late winner with Nicholls denying Cauley Woodrow and Kaine Kesler-Hayden testing Ethan Horvath from range.
And it was Luton who landed a late sucker-punch when James Bree’s accurate delivery found a composed Burke in the area and he finished smartly in front of a delirious away end.
Only Sheffield United have registered more points away from home than Edwards’ side, who rose to fifth in the Sky Bet Championship table.