EPL

Luton continue to fight for Premier League lives after Forest draw – Rob Edwards

By Sports Desk March 16, 2024

Rob Edwards promised Luton would continue to fight for their Premier League lives after Luke Berry’s late goal salvaged a 1-1 draw against fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest at the end of a “challenging week”.

After watching his side throw away a three-goal half-time lead against Bournemouth in midweek to lose, the 41-year-old was facing a six-point gap to Forest opening up in his team’s bid to dodge relegation, following Chris Wood’s neat first-half finish.

Instead they rallied and hit back in the 89th minute though substitute Berry, pouncing to lash home from Reece Burke’s header, as Luton kept within three points of the visitors, who themselves were denied what would have been just a second league win of 2024.

“The way the game was going, really pleased in the end,” said Edwards. “It’s been a challenging week, to say the least.

“Everyone’s going through stuff, everyone gets knocked down, everyone gets disappointments. It’s about how you deal with it, how you react. This group has shown that is how you react.

“They’ve got so much character. No matter what is thrown at us, they’ll keep going. It doesn’t mean we’re always going to get points. We’re not always going to play well. But they’ll always keep going and keep fighting. I love them for that.”

Berry has now scored in all four divisions of the EFL for Luton since making his debut in League Two in 2017.

He also netted in the National League whilst at Cambridge, giving him the rare distinction of having scored in each of England’s top five leagues.

The 31-year-old came on for Jordan Clark with five minutes of the game to go, to make only his sixth appearance in the league this season.

Luton are facing an injury crisis with nine players unavailable to Edwards from the start, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu and Alfie Doughty also having to be withdrawn with knocks.

“It’s a brilliant story, to score in all five,” said Edwards of Berry’s feat. “Special moment for him, for the club. He’s a club legend with what he’s done for this club.

“He’s come on quite a lot this year, maybe eight times or so. He’s been close on a number of occasions to something. We’re thankful today that in an important game, he finished it really well.

“It’s difficult for us with a full group to be competitive in this league, never mind with what we’re missing at the moment.

“I love the group that are available and fit at the moment, but to have nine senior players out and two more go down today, it’s difficult for us. There are so many people playing out of position.”

Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo reflected on a game that his team should have wrapped up before Luton’s late fightback.

“I think we dominated the game, we controlled it,” he said. “We knew how hard it is to come here. We created a lot of chances.

“Credit to Luton, but we should have finished the game earlier with the chances that we had.

“I’m disappointed because I think we did enough to take three points today. Let’s wait and see what’s going to happen. We keep on going, keep on fighting. We’ll look at the table. Nine games to go, nine finals to play.

“There’s a lot of football to be played. No team can say they’re totally fine.”

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