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Luton Town promoted to the Premier League after dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Coventry City!

Let that sink in a minute.

Let that actually sink in.

Having been relegated out of the Football league back in 2009 after a terrible 30-point penalty from the FA, the Hatters made it to the top flight in just nine years, bouncing back in absolutely glorious fashion with a 6-5 penalty shoot-out win over Coventry City this afternoon, the first team ever to go from non-league to the top table.

After a game which ebbed and flowed both ways through an absorbing and downright nervy 120 minutes, it fell to penalties and Luton showed their mettle.

Scoring all six spotkicks, the Hatters then had their moment in the Wembley sun when City sub Fankaty Dabo skied his attempt, to scenes of utter, utter, utter joy and sheer bedlam among the near 40,000 Luton fans who had made the trip to Wembley Stadium.

Although many probably won’t read on, with heads already sore and glasses being raised, to record matters that happened, Hatters boss Rob Edwards went with an unchanged side for the contest.

Luton Town celebrate winning promotion to the Premier League!Luton Town celebrate winning promotion to the Premier League!
Luton Town celebrate winning promotion to the Premier League!

Just as they had in the semi-final, Luton won the first corner and had the ball in the net once more as well.

It came after Tom Lockyer met the ball, with Ben Wilson pulling off a stunning save, before being bundled over the line by Gabe Osho, with the goal ruled out.

With eight minutes gone, Luton were hit by a cruel, cruel injury blow as one of their stars of the season, Lockyer worryingly collapsed when trying to turn to chase a long ball.

Immediately the medical teams from both sides were with him, with some serious concern for the talismanic defender, who after a good few minutes of treatment, was stretchered off.

Word came out as the first half progressed that although he had gone to hospital, he was thankfully okay, responsive and talking to his family members who were with him.

Boss Edwards called his players together to refocus minds, with Reece Burke on far earlier than he would have ever expected.

With Town having to gather themselves at the loss of such an popular and hugely influential figure, they almost took the lead with their first attack afterwards, a long ball causing real havoc in a usually rock solid City defence, Carlton Morris hooking his volley narrowly wide with Wilson beaten this time.

Still Luton didn’t let the disruption affect them, as Coventry’s previously impenetrable back-line didn’t look at all comfortable when dealing with the direct ball forward, as their clean sheet record in the league might have suggested they would have been.

Morris smashed over via a deflection and then won another header which saw Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu in space 20 yards from goal, only for his magic moment to evade him, shooting tamely at Wilson.

On 23 minutes, Town made their bright start pay, taking the lead with ball down the flank which Adebayo did magnificently to not just get there ahead of Kyle McFadzean, but then twisting the 36-year-old inside and out to get into the box.

He fed Clark who took a beautiful first touch to get past his man and then arrowed a left footed drive beyond Wilson as Wembley erupted.

They should have led 2-0 on the half hour as well, City appearing unable to cope with the direct ball forward, as Morris was denied by a superb block and then Adebayo’s volley skewed wide with just Wilson to beat.

Not content to sit on their lead, Luton looked to put the game to bed, Cody Drameh getting wide and sending over a cross that Adebayo leapt highest to reach, but couldn’t divert on target.

As the half ticked by, City could barely get out of their half, their tactic of just trying to find Viktor Gyokeres never coming off, Luton able to handle that threat, and with two upfront they possessed causing far more problems.

The only concern was they didn’t have a second, Morris turning Mpanzu’s cross at Wilson.

Luton then had the ball in the net again on 41 minutes, Marvelous Nakamba releasing Alfie Doughty on the left, his shot deflecting up and over the despairing grope of Wilson, McFadzean back in the nick of time.

His clearance struck the elbow of Adebayo and rebounded, quickly chalked off by referee Michael Oliver, with the forward not celebrating as he knew the decision was coming.

Coventry then fired their first warning shot on 43 minutes, a good break on the left seeing the cross over the head of Ethan Horvath and Gustavo Hamer at the back post stretching to volley a more than presentable chance over the top.

That was the start of the first real spell of pressure for the Sky Blues, as with eight minutes of stoppage time signalled due to Lockyer’s injury, they finally began to enjoy a spell of pressure, winning some of their mini battles and beginning to look dangerous when they got the ball in behind for Gyokeres to run on to.

Luton saw it out until the break though as the second half started with City bringing on Matt Godden to give Gyokeres some much-needed support upfront.

It swiftly became a different game as Town’s dominance evaporated and the Sky Blues players and fans began to believe, although Liam Kelly’s 25-yard attempt was never testing Horvath.

Town started to look like they had weathered the early spell of pressure, finally closing ranks and beginning to get a handle on City’s threats, as they were happy to see Callum Doyle go for the 30-yard spectacular, which was never coming down.

Just as Town were starting to get a grip once more, they were pegged back on 66 minutes when, from their own corner, Doughty’s second cross was cleared away and the Sky Blues set Gyokeres off and running on the left.

Like Adebayo, he did excellently to break away and then deliver the perfect ball for Hamer who sidefooted his finish low and through the legs of Gabe Osho to beat Horvath’s despairing dive and level the scores.

With their belief flowing now, City looked by far the more likely to go on and win it, as they should have moved ahead on 73 minutes, Adebayo’s ill-advised ball out of defence gobbled up, and Godden being freed in the area to swivel and lash over.

Town brought on Fred Onyedinma, but they still couldn’t test Wilson, as in eight minutes of stoppage time, Clark’s free kick from an inviting position was disappointingly wayward.

Godden tried to catch Horvath out with an instinctive volley, fortunately not connecting with his attempt properly, as in an end-to-end eight minutes of stoppage time, with both sides dead on their feet, Mpanzu’s one-two with Clark saw the midfielder’s low curler easily stopped by Wilson.

In extra time, it was City who threatened first, that man Gyokeres escaping on the right, Horvath getting just enough behind his angled attempt and up quickly to smother the rebound.

Luton brought Luke Berry on for Mpanzu as they fashioned a chance when Clark went through and over under what he thought was contact from Wilson.

It looked like a dive though, referee Oliver clearly thinking so, as the midfielder was booked for simulation, although the replay might have shown a slight bit of contact from the City keeper.

With both Morris and Adebayo struggling, Edwards turned to Joe Taylor at half time in extra time and with minutes running out, he thought he was the hero.

Winning the ball off a City defender and scampering away, he beat Wilson to find the net, sending Luton fans into ecstasy, on for a VAR check to signal a handball against Town’s striker, as the Sky Blues supporters roared their approval.

Berry put an even later header over, as penalties were then underway.

Luton scored all six of theirs, Morris, Taylor, Marvelous Nakamba, Clark, Berry and Dan Potts finding the net, before City sub Fankaty Dabo blazed over as the Hatters celebrated wildly.

If you’ve read this far then I salute you.

Now go and enjoy yourself as Luton Town are going up!!

Hatters: Ethan Horvath, Cody Drameh, Gabe Osho (Dan Potts 112), Tom Lockyer (C, Reece Burke 12), Amari’i Bell, Alfie Doughty (Fred Onyedinma 84), Marvelous Nakamba, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Luke Berry 98), Jordan Clark, Elijah Adebayo (Joe Taylor 106), Carlton Morris.

Subs not used: James Shea, Allan Campbell.

Sky Blues: Ben Wilson, Callum Doyle (C Jonathan Panzo 115), Kyle McFadzean, Liam Kelly (C), Brooke Norton-Cuffy (Fankaty Dabo 91), Jamie Allen (Matt Godden 46), Ben Sheaf, Luke McNally, Viktor Gyokeres, Jake Bidwell, Gustavo Hamer (Kasey Palmer 80, Josh Eccles 102).

Subs not used: Simon Moore, Josh Wilson-Esbrand.

Booked: McNally 46, Clark 99.

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