Championship
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Luton Town 1-1 Queens Park Rangers: Hatters remain in relegation zone

Dominic Ball
QPR are set for a mid-table finish in the Championship

Relegation-threatened Luton Town missed the chance to escape the Championship's bottom three as they were held at home for the second game running by Queens Park Rangers.

The Hatters took the lead when top scorer James Collins tucked away a disputed 20th-minute penalty.

But Dominic Ball's beautifully constructed second-half equaliser was deserved - after which both sides had chances to win it.

While the draw leaves Luton still a point adrift of Charlton in 21st, and with a much worse goal difference than all the teams above them, the Hatters have still only lost once in seven games since Nathan Jones returned as boss in May.

For QPR, by contrast, it was a point that finally officially secured Championship status for another season.

Too many draws for Luton?

It gets overlooked that, having spent most of the season looking like relegation certainties, previous Hatters boss Graeme Jones had already begun to turn things around before he departed in late April.

Luton had lost just once in their last six games, winning three of them and picking up 11 points, prior to the coronavirus pandemic forcing the Championship's suspension in mid-March.

Jones' exit was still largely well received by the home fans, who warmly welcomed back his Kenilworth Road predecessor Nathan Jones.

Since the restart, the Hatters have continued on that upward curve, but a fourth draw since the restart was their sixth in 13 matches. And, although they have only lost twice in that time, picking up 10 points in seven games, they now need more than draws to survive.

It looked good for them when they won a penalty set up by a neat chip over the top of the Rangers backline by Luke Berry. Full-back James Bree went full length under the challenge from Ryan Manning - and Collins sent keeper Joe Lumley the wrong away as he slid home his right-foot penalty into the right corner for his 13th goal of the season.

They might have got another when, from Collins' low cross, Elliot Lee fired just wide from close range. And Dan Potts had a header ruled out for pushing just before the Hoops levelled.

It was a stunning move as Bright Osayi-Samuel galloped down the left, pulled back, Chair dummied and Ball arrived on cue to drill home a low right-foot shot.

QPR came close to a second when home keeper Simon Sluga spilled under pressure and had to recover his own error by bundling the ball round the post and, although the visitors began to dominate, Luton rallied late on. But a draw was the fairest result.

Although QPR bounced back well from Saturday's 3-0 home hammering by Sheffield Wednesday, their point came at the cost of losing defender Angel Rangel, who was stretchered off after only 11 minutes.

What's next?

Luton have two games left, starting with Saturday's trip to fellow bottom three occupants Hull City, fresh from their club record 8-0 walloping at Wigan Athletic - in a likely losers-go-down scenario.

The Hatters then host Blackburn Rovers, who, following defeat at Millwall, have nothing to play for when the season concludes next Wednesday.

On a night when they finally made themselves safe, QPR now have a role to play at the other end of the table in their final two games.

They host Gary Rowett's play-off hopefuls Millwall on Saturday before finishing next Wednesday at The Hawthorns against automatic promotion contenders West Bromwich Albion.

Luton boss Nathan Jones told BBC Three Counties Radio: "We'd like to have controlled the game a bit more but they have some wonderful players. They played without an orthodox centre-forward, were able to rotate and get on the ball.

"Maybe I made changes a bit late to go and win the game. It's another point and it may turn into a more positive point but there are still some big battles ahead."

"We seem to be getting teams on the wrong end of results. Reading were when they came here, QPR were well beaten at the weekend before they came here and we've now got to be wary of that with Hull on Saturday.

"It's now a massive game, but it's a game we have to relish. We just need to have a little bit more about us in terms of going after the win."

QPR boss Mark Warburton said: "On Saturday, that was the first time in my career that I'd been so disheartened by a performance. We had clear words.

"We knew what we had to do. It's about personal pride and professionalism. Hard work underpins everything that you do. There is too much quality in the dressing room for that to happen. The boys responded really well.

"I'm delighted for them. And I'm delighted for Dom. He got into good areas. He timed his run well and it was a good, technical finish."

Line-ups

Luton

  • 12Sluga
  • 26Bree
  • 18Carter-Vickers
  • 5Bradley
  • 3Potts
  • 17MpanzuBooked at 58mins
  • 11ShinnieSubstituted forMoncurat 83'minutes
  • 8Berry
  • 10LeeSubstituted forCranieat 67'minutes
  • 14CornickSubstituted forLuaLuaat 83'minutes
  • 19CollinsSubstituted forHyltonat 82'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Cranie
  • 4Tunnicliffe
  • 7McManaman
  • 9Hylton
  • 20Moncur
  • 25LuaLua
  • 29Butterfield
  • 30Kioso
  • 36Shea

QPR

  • 1Lumley
  • 22RangelSubstituted forMastersonat 11'minutes
  • 24Kakay
  • 29Barbet
  • 14Manning
  • 8AmosSubstituted forOtehat 81'minutes
  • 5Cameron
  • 12Ball
  • 20Osayi-SamuelSubstituted forShodipoat 82'minutes
  • 19Chair
  • 10Eze

Substitutes

  • 2Kane
  • 3Wallace
  • 17Shodipo
  • 18Oteh
  • 23Masterson
  • 26Bettache
  • 32Kelly
  • 40Gubbins
  • 47Clarke
Referee:
Steve Martin

Match Stats

Home TeamLutonAway TeamQPR
Possession
Home33%
Away67%
Shots
Home11
Away11
Shots on Target
Home3
Away5
Corners
Home6
Away4
Fouls
Home9
Away15

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Luton Town 1, Queens Park Rangers 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Luton Town 1, Queens Park Rangers 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Danny Hylton (Luton Town) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by James Bree with a cross following a corner.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Luton Town. Conceded by Yoann Barbet.

  5. Post update

    Corner, Luton Town. Conceded by Conor Masterson.

  6. Post update

    Attempt saved. Ilias Chair (Queens Park Rangers) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Osman Kakay.

  7. Post update

    Hand ball by Kazenga LuaLua (Luton Town).

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ilias Chair (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Ryan Manning.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Luton Town. Conceded by Osman Kakay.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Dan Potts (Luton Town) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Danny Hylton with a cross.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Aramide Oteh (Queens Park Rangers).

  12. Post update

    Martin Cranie (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Dominic Ball (Queens Park Rangers).

  14. Post update

    Luke Berry (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  15. Post update

    Offside, Luton Town. Simon Sluga tries a through ball, but Danny Hylton is caught offside.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Luton Town. George Moncur replaces Andrew Shinnie.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Luton Town. Kazenga LuaLua replaces Harry Cornick.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Luton Town. Danny Hylton replaces James Collins.

  19. Post update

    Offside, Queens Park Rangers. Ryan Manning tries a through ball, but Yoann Barbet is caught offside.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Queens Park Rangers. Olamide Shodipo replaces Bright Samuel.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leeds43259969343584
2West Brom442216674413382
3Brentford432391178354378
4Fulham4422111158441477
5Nottm Forest4318151055431269
6Cardiff441716116257567
7Millwall441617115046465
8Swansea431615125550563
9Preston431711155652462
10Derby441613155860-261
11Bristol City431710165862-461
12Blackburn441612166057360
13Wigan441512175453157
14Reading441511185550556
15Sheff Wed441511185459-556
16QPR44159206171-1054
17Middlesbrough441214184557-1250
18Stoke43147225666-1049
19Birmingham431213185269-1749
20Huddersfield441212204965-1648
21Charlton431210214758-1146
22Hull44129235783-2645
23Luton44129235080-3045
24Barnsley431013204667-2143
View full Championship table

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