Luton Town secured a contentious victory over Middlesbrough, strengthening their position in third place in the Championship play-off race. The visitors initially took control in an exciting match at Kenilworth Road, with Cameron Archer scoring a composed goal to put Michael Carrick’s team ahead. After the break, Luton equalized through Tom Lockyer’s header, and later took the lead when Carlton Morris fell with minimal contact from Boro keeper Zack Steffen, earning a penalty which Morris converted.
The win marks Luton’s fifth consecutive home victory for the first time since December 2018, and keeps their slim chances of automatic promotion alive for another 48 hours. However, they are likely to prepare for the play-offs, given that Sheffield United’s win against West Brom on Wednesday would secure their promotion to the Premier League alongside Burnley.
Assuming Boro finishes fourth, there is a possibility that Luton and Boro could meet again in the Championship play-off final at Wembley on May 29th.
Middlesbrough made five changes to their squad from their win against Hull on Wednesday, which included leaving Chuba Akpom, the Championship’s leading scorer, on the bench. However, Boro started stronger and missed a great chance in the 19th minute when Anfernee Dijksteel released Isaiah Jones down the right flank. Jones then passed to Matt Crooks, who shot the ball over the bar.
Luton responded eight minutes later when Carlton Morris received a pass from Elijah Adebayo, but Jonny Howson cleared the ball away. Luton continued to press, but Cody Drameh’s cross was scrambled away.
ate in the first half, Middlesbrough took the lead through Cameron Archer who finished off a slick move with an intelligent run. Matt Crooks played an excellent long ball down the path of the Aston Villa loanee after Jonny Howson had cleared a corner. Ethan Horvath rushed out to smother, but Archer chased the ball down and calmly rolled the final touch into the empty net.
Luton had a chance to equalize just before the break, with Elijah Adebayo brushing his way into the penalty area and attempting a deflected cross-shot that almost caught Boro keeper Zack Steffen out. However, Boro cleared the danger before Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu could pounce on the loose ball.
The hosts finally managed to level the score early in the second half when Wales defender Tom Lockyer headed in Alfie Doughty’s corner unmarked.
Both teams continued to push for a winner, but the controversial moment came midway through the second half. Carlton Morris raced on to a long ball and appeared to be brought down by Steffen in the penalty area. Referee Graham Scott awarded the spot-kick, despite replays showing that Morris fell without any contact from the goalkeeper.
Morris converted the penalty, sending Steffen the wrong way, to score his 20th league goal of the season.
Despite late pressure, Middlesbrough were unable to breach the Luton defence and secure an equalizer.