Blog post

Luton begins post-Jones era with Rotherham draw in last match before World Cup

Luton Town’s first game since losing Nathan Jones and last game before the World Cup saw a late equalizer secure a draw against Rotherham United.

Jamie Lindsay had put Rotherham ahead from the first minute, and although Luton had chances they were unable to find a leveler until the dying minutes.

But in the closing stages, Luke Berry deflected Jordan Clark’s shot into the back of the net to equalize for Luton Town and take a share of the points.

The result means Luton will spend their World Cup break 10th in the Championship, with the Hatters a point behind 6th-placed Millwall and the three teams immediately behind the second-tier Lions.

Luton were led by Mick Harford as caretaker manager, with the club icon temporarily taking charge following Jones’ move to Southampton, Premier League earlier this week.

But any hope of a bright start was dashed when Rotherham scored in the opening minute at Kenilworth Road.

Lindsay was able to be more alert to control a ball bouncing around the box, and the Rotherham striker fired past Ethan Horvath.

In response, the home side would take a few moments to get going but would have a few chances, as Viktor Johansson denied Carlton Morris before Tom Lockyer missed the target with two set pieces.

Morris would then see another effort drift narrowly off target, before Johansson made a mid-air save to prevent Allan Campbell’s strike from getting in range.

Just before half-time, the Rotherham keeper stepped in again, as Johansson fended off a James Bree strike.

In the second half, Morris and Elijah Adebayo both missed chances from close range, while Rotherham also offered a threat of their own, with Horvath denying Cohen Bramall’s free-kick and Wes Harding missing the target from a corner.

Johansson then made a full save to thwart Alfie Doughty, while Berry thought he pocketed a Luton leveler only for the goal to be disallowed for offside.

Time seemed to be running out for the home side’s hopes of equalizing, until they finally managed to get on the scoresheet in the first minute of stoppage time. Clark’s strike on a Morris knockdown appeared to be in line for Johansson to save, but Berry managed to get just enough touch to get the ball over the line and inside.

Johansson still had time to deny Doughty what would have been an injury-time winner as Luton’s first half of the season ended in their 9th draw in their first 21 games.

The Hatters now face a hiatus to their campaign as the World Cup in Qatar continues, with a four-week hiatus until their season resumes with a trip to face Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on December 10.