Late goal denies Rams three points against Luton
Derby County 2
Lawrence 20, Knight 60
Luton Town 2
Onyedinma 48, Adebayo 83
Luton Town came from behind twice at Pride Park to draw against Derby County on Tuesday night.
An opening goal from Tom Lawrence was cancelled out by Fred Onyedinma just after half-time, before Jason Knight’s strike was levelled by Elijah Adebayo with seven minutes to play.
The match began with a lively start, both sides looked to capitalise on early set-pieces which amounted to very little and this told the story of the opening half.
Luton’s first set-piece was taken by James Bree to Harry Cornick, his resulting cross came off a Derby defender and out for a corner. This was easily cleared by Derby and fell to Ravel Morrison who drove into the opening space. Unfortunately for the Rams, the 28-year-old did not see the run being made by his colleague, and he turned back to the dismay of the crowd.
From this moment onwards, Derby took control of the game, setting the tone for the next 20 minutes. The press of the hosts' frontline was causing problems for the Hatters’ defence. Makeshift striker, Lawrence, gained the crowd’s approval as he charged down Simon Sluga.
The Rams’ persistence was rewarded with their opening goal. After putting pressure on the Luton backline, a mistake from captain Sonny Bradley gifted Knight the ball, whose pass left Lawrence in acres of space to guide the ball into the bottom left corner.
Derby were looking by far the better side. Luton manager Nathan Jones recognised this and ordered more from his team. In the ten minutes after the goal, Luton looked a little more threatening but not up to Jones’ standards, resulting in two changes and a complete change in system for the visitors only 30 minutes in.
This tactical change reaped early goods for Luton. Just three minutes into the second half, a long throw, with added help from Graeme Shinnie’s head, was bundled into the goal by Onyedinma for an equaliser.
The Hatters’ joy was short-lived though. After finding space on the edge of the box, Knight turned his way past Amari’i Bell and fired past Sluga into the Luton net to restore the Rams’ lead.
Sluga was dictating play from the back to try and keep his team composed on the ball. Derby’s lack of pressing in this area was giving the Luton defence time to pick a pass. The Hatters were struggling to create at this point. A blocked Cornick shot seemed all that the visitors could muster. However, Bree’s cross caused a problem for Ryan Allsop, who rose with no fruition and left Adebayo an empty goal to head into.
Just moments later Luton nearly took the lead. Onyedinma’s looping cross caught Allsop out again, but this time rebounded off the crossbar and away to safety. Derby tried to create a winning chance but failed to add anything to the score line.
Derby County: Allsop, Byrne, Shinnie, Jagielka, Jozwiak (Williams 81’), Bird, Lawrence, Morrison (Kazim-Richards 74’), Davies, Knight (Ebosele 88’).
Luton Town: Sluga, Bree, Naismith (Onyedima 31’), Bradley, Rea (Lansbury 65’), Cornick, Adebayo, Lockyer, Mpanzu, Clark (Muskwe 31’), Bell.