West Ham 3-1 Luton Town: Hatters on verge of relegation from Premier League

by 24britishtvMay 11, 2024, 7 p.m. 22
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Luton Town have been all but relegated from the Premier League after losing 3-1 at West Ham United, who managed to send off manager David Moyes in style in the Scot's final home game in charge of the Hammers.

Luton led at half-time thanks to Albert Sambi Lokonga's early header, only for the home side to hit back with three goals in the second half to keep alive their slim hopes of qualifying for Europe next season.
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The recalled James Ward-Prowse's well-taken strike brought West Ham early in the second period, before Tomas Soucek's thumping volley and young substitute George Earthy's first Hammers goal sealed the comeback.

As a result, Luton's demotion from the Premier League will now be mathematically confirmed if Nottingham Forest get a point at already-relegated Burnley on the final day, while West Ham can still finish as high as seventh in the table if other results go their way between now and the end of the season.

Luton knew they needed a miracle to stay up, with two wins from their final two Premier League games still probably not enough to stop them being relegated straight back to the Championship, but Rob Edwards' side still gave it a good go at the London Stadium,

The visitors started the better of the two teams, taking a deserved lead when Sambi Lokonga, in space in the box, stooped to head in Alfie Doughty's lovely curled cross from the left.

That sixth-minute opener kicked the Hammers into life, with Jarrod Bowen hitting the outside of a post, but the visitors still led at the break, with dreams of an unlikely survival bid still alive.

However, it was all West Ham in the second period as the home side deservedly got on level terms just nine minutes after the break as Ward-Prowse's low drive found the bottom corner after fine approach play from Bowen.

The turnaround was then completed as first Soucek volleyed West Ham ahead when Luton failed to clear a corner, before the icing on the cake was provided by Earthy, 19, who scored his first goal for the club with his first touch 67 seconds after coming on, tapping home from close range after Mohammed Kudus' driving run to the right byline and pull back.

Moyes was then given a rousing reception from the home faithful as West Ham's players and their families enjoyed an end-of-season lap of honour, while a tearful Edwards and his Luton players were also applauded from the field by their own fans.

Luton in good shape to come straight back up

Rob Edwards cut a dejected figure at full time with tears rolling down the Luton Town manager's cheeks as he and his players applauded their fans after a 3-1 loss at West Ham sent them straight back down to the Championship.

However, Edwards was more upbeat in his post-match press conference, rightly pointing out how his side - who nobody gave a chance of staying up - have been able to compete with most Premier League teams this season.

"It has fuelled the fire to come back," said a defiant Edwards, before adding: "We will now be in a stronger place to attack the Championship and will be one of the stronger teams in the Championship."

Edwards is right as his team have already showed they can compete at this level - "Some of our players have looked like Premier League players," he rightly observed - and boosted by the parachute payments coming their way, it would be a surprise were the Hatters not to make an immediate top-flight return 12 months from now.

Richard Morgan

What the managers said...

"I was certainly emotional because I've been here four-and-a-half years. I was a bit subdued because I knew what the other manager was going through.

"But it was good to see. Sometimes all you hear is negative stuff, but it looked like the best part of 50,000 supporters stayed behind in appreciation, which was good. I am really pleased about that.

"To join any football club and do something with them is not easy for any manager.

"Hopefully I will walk away with people saying something has been done here. Expectations have increased like you can't believe.

"From a team which avoided relegation, now this is a club saying we want to be in Europe every year. It is a big turnaround in a few years."

"It was really difficult, hugging Locks at the end and seeing how the supporters reacted made me emotional.

"It's a difficult day. What I said to our players and staff in the dressing room afterwards was 'thank you'. They, along with our fans and the board, have given me the best 18 months of my life.

"I wanted to thank them today. We didn't get relegated because of today. I am really disappointed that I am the one responsible, I feel that way, that we've not been able to do it.

"We've thrown everything at it but just come up short. It was difficult for us and in the end has just been a bit too much for us. But I've loved it and it fuels the fire to get back into it."
• West Ham picked up just their second Premier League win across their last 10 games (D4 L4), whilst David Moyes has now won 11 of his last 14 final home games of a league campaign (D2 L1).
• Luton have lost five Premier League games despite leading at half-time this season, the most ever by a team in a single campaign.
• Excluding the first Premier League campaign in 1992-93, Luton Town (50) are one of four teams to score 50+ goals in their debut season in the competition after Newcastle in 1993-94 (82), Reading in 2006-07 (52) and Blackpool in 2010-11 (55). However, only Swindon in 1993-94 (100), Barnsley in 1997-98 (82) and Burnley in 2009-10 (82) have conceded more in their debut season than the Hatters (81).
• Only Jarrod Bowen (16) has scored more Premier League goals for West Ham United this season than James Ward-Prowse (7) whilst since the beginning of the 2020-21 campaign, Phil Foden (46) is the only English midfielder to score more goals than the West Ham man (34) in the competition.

The Premier League's final day will take place on Sunday May 19 with all games kicking off at 4pm. West Ham face Man City, while Luton take on Fulham.

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