Report and free match highlights from the Sky Bet Championship match between Luton Town and Watford at Kenilworth Road as goals from Gabe Osho and Allan Campbell sealed victory for Rob Edwards' Hatters.
Saturday 1 April 2023 17:16, UK
Luton Town recorded a 2-0 win over fierce rivals Watford to further cement their place in the Championship play-off spots.
Gabe Osho and Allan Campbell were on target for the home side, who sit fourth in the table.
The hosts had the first effort on 13 minutes, Amari'i Bell's 40-yard shot swerving narrowly wide of the target.
A clever corner routine then almost led to the Hatters taking the lead on 22 minutes, Osho unable to sort his feet out and shoot, the ball dropping to Campbell, who saw his close-range attempt magnificently saved by Daniel Bachmann.
Town did break the deadlock on 28 minutes with a glorious team move that saw Cody Drameh and Tom Lockyer involved, with Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu's cross swept home by Osho from close range, retribution for the red card he had picked up in the 4-0 defeat at Vicarage Road earlier in the season.
Luton looked to double their advantage from range, Carlton Morris having a crack from 20 yards and Bachmann parrying away at his near post.
After the break, Watford started promisingly, Jeremy Ngakia seeing his far-post header bounce wide of the target.
Imran Louza had a go for the Hornets too, Ethan Horvath with a simple stop to his left hand side, while at the other end, Elijah Adebayo could not make the most of Morris's dangerous cross.
With an hour gone, Morris went for goal himself, trying his luck from 30 yards but unable to get his shot to come down in time. Strike partner Adebayo also had an opportunity but with the angle against him, Bachmann was able to block.
Midway through the second period, Watford boss Chris Wilder made a triple substitution to try and force an equaliser, Ismaila Sarr, Joao Ferreira and Britt Assombalonga all coming on.
They were soon joined by Yaser Asprilla, but still Watford could not create anything meaningful, Joao Pedro's cross-shot gathered by Horvath.
With 10 minutes left, Town almost had that second goal they craved, Adebayo doing terrifically inside the box, his shot too close to Bachmann, while Mpanzu's effort drew a wonderful block.
Nerves were settled in the first minute of stoppage time when Campbell prodded into the net from close range to send the home supporters delirious.
Luton's Rob Edwards:
"It meant a lot to us, I think the players showed that in their performance, so all round a really, really good day. The players were outstanding, every single one of them, to the point where it actually made me emotional at the end. The running they showed, the intent that they showed, right to the very, very end they were outstanding, so yes, a really enjoyable day.
"They had some moments, they had the first five minutes of the second half when we couldn't get the pressure on the ball, then we were able to get up the pitch and I thought we were in a lot of control. They had a big threat with their individuals, they've got the counter attack, they've got good players, and even when they made the change to the back four and Ismaila (Sarr) comes on, we dealt with it very, very well. We were able to deal with what they threw at us very, very well and kept control. To get the second goal was a nice relief as we've deserved it a lot lately but we didn't get it."
Watford's Chris Wilder:
"The best team won, that's why they're 12 points clear of where we are, that's why they'll be fighting for something at the end of the season, and if it's going to be this between now and the end of the season it's going to be mid-table obscurity. No complaints about the result, they've got it going forward and we're just stop-start. At times I see some really good things and at times I see some things that are head-shaking moments.
"When I took the job and I looked at the players, I thought there's some really good players individually, but trying to bring them together as a team is the hardest thing. The moments when we needed to step up to the plate and work as a team and play as a team, we didn't. There's no hiding place, there wasn't today as it's the first time our supporters have attended the game for 17 years. It was a big game and it just seemed a bigger game for them, knowing what a local derby is all about and this is a proper derby. The players who played for the opposition did their job, played as a team and got the result they deserved."