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Luton Town 1-1 Preston North End: Callum McManaman strike earns hosts draw

Nathan Jones
Nathan Jones got Luton promoted from League Two in his first spell before leaving to join Stoke

Substitute Callum McManaman's fine late strike earned struggling Luton Town a draw with play-off hopefuls Preston North End in Nathan Jones' first game back in charge at Kenilworth Road.

Former Wigan winger McManaman found the top corner with a unstoppable shot from the edge of the box with the home side's first effort on target.

Up until then Preston had been the better team on the return of Championship football behind closed doors, deservedly going ahead when Tom Barkhuizen got the better of Martin Cranie and fed Scott Sinclair, who was allowed to move inside and sidefoot into the far corner.

But it was Luton who looked most likely to find a stoppage-time winner, Ryan Tunnicliffe curling just over Declan Rudd's goal from long range.

The Hatters fall to the foot of the table despite the draw, with Barnsley winning at QPR, but close the gap to safety to five points as 21st-placed Middlesbrough lost 3-0 to Swansea.

Alex Neil's Preston, meanwhile, remain sixth and just a point above Blackburn and Swansea.

Sean Maguire twice went close for the visitors in a scrappy first half, denied by the sprawling Simon Sluga after the Irishman saw a low effort deflect wide.

Luton could have fallen further behind before their leveller, Paul Gallagher's free-kick palmed away by Sluga and Ben Pearson's fierce drive flying just over.

Work to do for Luton and Jones

Callum McManaman jumps for a header
Luton goalscorer Callum McManaman was one of five substitutes used by each side under new EFL protocols

Jones left Luton in January 2019 while they were second in League One to join Stoke, who sacked him in November.

But despite the fractious way he left the Hatters, the club moved to reappoint the Welshman last month after parting company with Graeme Jones in April.

On this performance - despite claiming a late point - Jones has a lot of work to do if Luton are to escape from the relegation zone.

McManaman's wonderstrike was their only effort on goal as they looked understandably off the pace after the league's three-month suspension because of coronavirus.

The Bedfordshire club will realistically need something from tricky trips to Swansea and Leeds to keep in touch with safety by the time they host Reading on 4 July.

Preston will need ruthless streak

Neil will be frustrated that his side were unable to see out a win that would have given his side a three-point buffer over the play-off chasing pack.

While Preston were not at their best the likes of Maguire, Gallagher and Ben Pearson looked relatively sharp given the lack of recent match action.

Back-to-back home games against fellow top-six chasers Cardiff and Derby follow for the Lilywhites, who will hope Deepdale remains a fortress despite the lack of support.

Match reaction

Luton boss Nathan Jones told BBC Three Counties Radio:

"If we'd have nicked it possibly it would have been harsh on Preston because they're a very good side."As long as we're still in the mix, and right now we're a point closer to safety than we were when we started, if we can do that over nine games then eventually we'll be out of there."At the minute we're not at the levels we need to be because we've had three weeks work with them, we're not miracle workers."

Preston manager Alex Neil told BBC Radio Lancashire:

"I'm not satisfied with a point today, that's me being brutally honest, it would be easy to wash over it and say it's the first game and I'm quite happy.

"As a squad I'm not happy we haven't won the game, because we deserved to.

"We lacked a bit of concentration for that big moment and it has cost us."

Line-ups

Luton

  • 12Sluga
  • 2CranieSubstituted forBreeat 75'minutes
  • 6PearsonSubstituted forBradleyat 84'minutes
  • 18Carter-Vickers
  • 3Potts
  • 16ReaBooked at 56minsSubstituted forMoncurat 75'minutes
  • 4Tunnicliffe
  • 17Mpanzu
  • 24BrownSubstituted forMcManamanat 75'minutes
  • 14Cornick
  • 19CollinsSubstituted forHyltonat 84'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Bradley
  • 7McManaman
  • 9Hylton
  • 10Lee
  • 11Shinnie
  • 20Moncur
  • 26Bree
  • 29Butterfield
  • 36Shea

Preston

  • 1Rudd
  • 8Browne
  • 21Bauer
  • 6Davies
  • 16Hughes
  • 4Pearson
  • 12GallagherSubstituted forFisherat 77'minutes
  • 29BarkhuizenSubstituted forBodinat 90+1'minutes
  • 11JohnsonSubstituted forStockleyat 90+2'minutes
  • 31SinclairSubstituted forPottsat 77'minutes
  • 24MaguireSubstituted forNugentat 65'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Fisher
  • 10Harrop
  • 14Storey
  • 18Ledson
  • 20Stockley
  • 25Ripley
  • 35Nugent
  • 39Bodin
  • 44Potts
Referee:
John Brooks

Match Stats

Home TeamLutonAway TeamPreston
Possession
Home44%
Away56%
Shots
Home5
Away12
Shots on Target
Home1
Away4
Corners
Home5
Away7
Fouls
Home9
Away7

Live Text

Match ends, Luton Town 1, Preston North End 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Luton Town 1, Preston North End 1.

Darnell Fisher (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by George Moncur (Luton Town).

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Jayden Stockley replaces Daniel Johnson.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Billy Bodin replaces Tom Barkhuizen.

Attempt missed. Ryan Tunnicliffe (Luton Town) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner.

Goal!

Goal! Luton Town 1, Preston North End 1. Callum McManaman (Luton Town) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by James Bree.

David Nugent (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Cameron Carter-Vickers (Luton Town).

Substitution

Substitution, Luton Town. Danny Hylton replaces James Collins.

Substitution

Substitution, Luton Town. Sonny Bradley replaces Matty Pearson.

Foul by Tom Barkhuizen (Preston North End).

Matty Pearson (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Brad Potts replaces Scott Sinclair.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Darnell Fisher replaces Paul Gallagher.

Substitution

Substitution, Luton Town. George Moncur replaces Glen Rea.

Substitution

Substitution, Luton Town. James Bree replaces Martin Cranie.

Substitution

Substitution, Luton Town. Callum McManaman replaces Isaiah Brown.

Attempt missed. Ben Pearson (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Daniel Johnson.

Attempt missed. Patrick Bauer (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box is too high following a corner.

Attempt missed. David Nugent (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Paul Gallagher with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Cameron Carter-Vickers.

Foul by Paul Gallagher (Preston North End).

Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. David Nugent replaces Sean Maguire.

Corner, Luton Town. Conceded by Patrick Bauer.

Attempt blocked. Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Luton Town) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is blocked. Assisted by Isaiah Brown.

Hand ball by James Collins (Luton Town).

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Matty Pearson.

Attempt blocked. Sean Maguire (Preston North End) header from the left side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Paul Gallagher with a cross.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Martin Cranie.

Foul by Paul Gallagher (Preston North End).

Isaiah Brown (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Paul Gallagher (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Daniel Johnson.

Booking

Glen Rea (Luton Town) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Sean Maguire (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Glen Rea (Luton Town).

Goal!

Goal! Luton Town 0, Preston North End 1. Scott Sinclair (Preston North End) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Tom Barkhuizen.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Cameron Carter-Vickers.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1West Brom381914564372771
2Leeds37218856302671
3Fulham3818101052401264
4Brentford381891166333363
5Nottm Forest381613949391061
6Preston38169135146557
7Blackburn381511125546956
8Swansea381414104945456
9Bristol City381510135256-455
10Millwall381315104643354
11Cardiff37131595250254
12Derby381412125251154
13QPR38148165863-550
14Reading381310154743449
15Sheff Wed381310154750-349
16Birmingham381212144857-948
17Wigan381111164050-1044
18Stoke38127195056-643
19Charlton38119184554-942
20Huddersfield38119184560-1542
21Middlesbrough38914153750-1341
22Hull38118194964-1541
23Barnsley38910194362-1937
24Luton38106224472-2836
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