Blackburn 1-2 Luton: Matty Pearson nets winner against former employers
Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash at Ewood Park
Last Updated: 28/09/19 9:46pm
Matty Pearson came back to haunt his former club as Luton battled to a 2-1 Sky Bet Championship victory at Blackburn.
Pearson, who came through the academy at Blackburn, secured the points with a towering header in the 57th minute for his second goal of the season.
James Collins gave the Hatters the lead with a thumping header of his own in the 17th minute - his 50th goal for the club - which was cancelled out by a first goal at Ewood Park for Lewis Travis 20 minutes later.
But the game sprung into life after Pearson restored the advantage, as Rovers went in search of the goals that would maintain their 100 per cent record in September.
Stewart Downing, Lewis Holtby and Adam Armstrong all missed the goal with presentable chances, and Simon Sluga was in the way to deny Danny Graham.
But Luton defended heroically to end a run of three consecutive defeats to win the first league meeting between these sides since 1982.
Blackburn's Corry Evans missed out through illness - replaced by Bradley Johnson. Luton handed Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu and Dan Potts their first league starts since August, with Jacob Butterfield also drafted in.
The hosts started very brightly and the Ewood crowd responded, but their inability to work the opposition goalkeeper was punished in the 17th minute when Izzy Brown skipped past Travis on the right and his inch-perfect cross was emphatically headed into the top corner by Collins - his 49th league goal for the Hatters.
The hosts were slow to respond but did so as the half wore on and were rewarded when Travis struck a spectacular equaliser in the 37th minute, showing great composure to make a yard of space before rifling an unstoppable drive into the top left corner.
Christian Walton was called into action soon after the break, tipping behind Harry Cornick's drive, but he was helpless in the 57th minute when Brown's free-kick was met by Pearson, who rose highest to power a header into the bottom corner.
It led to a siege of the Luton goal. First, Downing whipped a sumptuous free kick just wide of the post, before Graham's snapshot was well held by Sluga.
New signing Holtby fired into the side netting soon after before Armstrong controlled brilliantly but could not keep his shot down.
At the other end, substitute Callum McManaman attempted to put the game to bed 17 minutes from time but Walton parried his fierce drive clear.
Blackburn thought they had equalised in the 79th minute when Bradley Dack poked home but it was eventually ruled out for offside.
Despite their defensive record this season, the Hatters held on professionally for the points.
Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray: "It's a hugely frustrating day for us. The first 15 minutes of the game we played probably as well as we have all season. The frustration is that we didn't really create enough clear-cut chances and make their goalkeeper work.
"We have to move on, you don't want to get too down on it because there was a lot of good stuff which we can't throw away. We should be beating teams like Luton Town with total respect to them.
"If we have aspirations of being at the top of the table, we need to get results today and we didn't manage to do that."
Luton boss Graeme Jones: "I think after a while you realise that your job is to understand the strengths of your group and have a game plan that gets the strengths out of them and today was a classic case.
"We had to defend our way to victory, that's the truth. We didn't attack our way to victory. The character of the boys and the understanding of the boys was excellent."