Luton 2 Palace 1
- Two changes for Palace: Olise makes first start of the season, Doucouré returns
- Olise bends narrowly wide in opening 40 seconds
- Edouard’s poked effort saved by Kaminski as Eagles start brightly
- Kaminski double save denies Eze and Schlupp
- Chances begin to dry up as both teams battle for possession
- Schlupp has another drilled effort kicked away
- HT: Luton 0-0 Palace
- Double injuries at the start of second-half see Eze and Doucouré come off
- Ogbene threatens for Luton but fails to reach hanging cross
- Edouard’s solo goal disallowed for handball midway through the half
- Mengi laces Luton into the lead moments later, converting a corner
- Olise equalises immediately with a special effort; Palace’s 600th in the Premier League
- Edouard’s header saved as Palace press for the winner
- Brown restores Luton’s lead late on with sliding finish
- Andersen’s low strike saved at the near post
- Olise heads onto the roof of the net
- Lerma glances header onto the post with Palace’s last attack
- FT: Luton 2-1 Palace
For the first time since the final game of last season, Roy Hodgson was able to name both 2022/23’s top scorer in Ebere Eze, and last season’s chief creator in Michael Olise, in the same starting XI, with Player of the Season Cheick Doucouré also returning to the starting line-up.
Amidst a bitingly cold Kenilworth Road – hosting its first-ever Premier League match between the two teams, and becoming the 52nd ground the Eagles had played on in the competition – there were moving scenes as Olise wrapped his warm-up jacket around his accompanying young mascot on the pitch.
The Palace No. 7 almost made a red-hot start, as well, collecting Eze’s lay-off and bending narrowly wide of the far corner with a low shot inside 40 seconds.
Having already won away at Luton’s fellow newly-promoted sides this season, Palace’s bright start continued, some superb passing around the hosts’ area leading to Odsonne Edouard’s poked effort forcing a low stop from goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski.
Up the other end, a fervent noise rang around Kenilworth Road every time the hosts got the ball into the final third, but a lack of quality in the final third saw openings at a premium in the first-half.
Indeed, it was Palace who ought to have scored after 22 minutes, Eze lining a strike up on his left foot 30 yards from goal. The strike – which took a small nick on its way through – forced Kaminski to beat away with two hands, the ball rolling out to Jeffrey Schlupp who saw his follow-up effort – from a tight angle – tipped away by the ‘keeper.
After an exciting opening, the match became more scrappy as the half wore on, the two teams trading shots from distance – Schlupp seeing one effort deflect wide – but creating few clear opportunities.
Palace’s best opportunity in the remainder of the half fell to Schlupp who found space in a crowded box, but saw his low effort across goal kicked away by Kaminski.
The Eagles’ second-half would sadly get off to the worst possible start with a double injury blow in the opening few minutes, both Eze and Doucouré going down off the ball and having to be replaced; Jordan Ayew and Will Hughes their replacements.
The scrappy nature of the first-half looked set to persist as few chances were created in the game’s third quarter – Chiedozie Ogbene coming close for Luton with a hanging header – but events exploded into life as the game reached its closing chapter.
A long ball forwards found Edouard up against defender but, showing superb strength to hold off his man and finish after his initial strike looped over the goalkeeper, the dropping ball sadly brushed the striker’s hand, and his subsequent finish was disallowed by VAR.
That sparked the game into life – but sadly also did for Luton, who took the lead moments later when a corner somehow found its way through to Teden Mengi at the far post, who lashed a finish into the bottom corner from close range.
Then, Palace’s box-office moment: mere seconds after going behind, Olise had drawn them level with a moment of magic, a fitting 600th Premier League goal for the club.
Teasing his marker on the right flank, Olise chopped inside his man and unleashed a delightful, dipping curler into the top corner: a quality moment more than befitting the occasion.
Palace looked the more likely to score again thereafter as Olise’s deep free-kick found Edouard well-placed to head goalwards at the back post. His initial effort forced Kaminski into a good save and Guéhi nodded the rebound over – but was then judged to be offside.
The sting in the tale came courtesy of Luton’s Jordan Brown. A low ball in from the right from Ogbene was allowed to travel all the way across the Palace six-yard box, and the striker stole in at the far post to poke home the eventual winner.
Palace poured everybody forwards in the search for an equaliser, coming close when Joachim Andersen’s low shot – from Jean-Philippe Mateta’s knock-down – was kicked away at the near post by Kaminski.
Olise almost produced Palace’s second goal of the game, planting a firm header onto the roof of the net, moments before crossing for Jefferson Lerma – in the final minute of 12 added on – to glance a header against the upright.
Sam Johnstone was forced into a low stop from Elijah Adebayo as Luton countered at pace, but it was all to no avail, Palace slipping to a 2-1 defeat in frustrating circumstances.
Luton: Kaminski (GK), Osho, Lockyer, Barkley, Ogbene, Morris (Adebayo, 74), Mengi, Ruddock (Clark, 61), Bell, Townsend (Chong, 61), Doughty (Brown, 79)
Subs: Krul (GK), Berry, Giles, Nelson, Luker
Palace: Johnstone (GK), Ward, Andersen, Guéhi, Mitchell, Lerma, Doucouré (Hughes, 53), Eze (Ayew, 49), Olise, Edouard (Mateta, 80), Schlupp (Ahamada, 80)
Subs: Matthews (GK), Holding, Clyne, Richards, França