Report and highlights as Luton celebrate a first Premier League win in their history; Tom Lockyer and Carlton Morris goals secure three points; Everton have lost each of their opening four home games of a league season for second time in their history, also doing so in top-tier in 1958-59
Saturday 30 September 2023 19:31, UK
Luton secured their first-ever Premier League win having held off Everton's fightback to win 2-1 at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Tom Lockyer gave the visitors the lead when Ashley Young's clearance ricocheted into the net from close range (24) - and a fine Carlton Morris volley doubled the lead seven minutes later.
Everton were largely uninspiring, hauling themselves back into the contest when Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored from close range, surviving a lengthy VAR review for offside, but the hosts were unable to complete the turnaround.
Luton's first top-flight victory since April 1992 moves them up to 17th in the table level on four points with Everton, who remain a position above them after their mini-revival was brought to a juddering halt.
Luton boss Rob Edwards said: "We're obviously very pleased, but it's only three points. It's taken a few weeks to arrive but I do feel it's been coming. It's nice to get it off our backs. I'm delighted for the supporters who have travelled a long way. We've got to go again on Tuesday [against Burnley].
"We found a way of getting over the line and that will build belief and confidence in the group."
Everton: Pickford (6), Young (5), Tarkowski (6), Branthwaite (6), Mykolenko (6), Garner (6), Onana (5), Gueye (5), McNeil (6), Doucoure (5), Calvert-Lewin (6).
Subs: Patterson (n/a), Danjuma (n/a), Harrison (6), Beto (5).
Luton: Kaminski (7), Burke (7), Lockyer (8), Bell (7), Kabore (7), Mpanzu (7), Nakamba (7), Doughty (8), Brown (7), Ogbene (7), Morris (7).
Subs: Andersen (6), Woodrow (n/a), Adebayo (6), Mengi (6).
Player of the match: Alfie Doughty.
In the lashing rain on Merseyside, Luton weathered an early Everton storm with Amadou Onana, Idrissa Gueye and James Garner all off target after Dwight McNeil's rasping volley just wide had sparked a period of dominance from the hosts.
Luton were not without their own opportunities, however, and they took the lead for the first time in the Premier League this season when Morris' header from Alfie Doughty's corner thudded off the bar before Ashley Young's attempted clearance was deflected into the net by the outstretched boot of Lockyer.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin made only his second league start of the season for Everton in their clash with Luton at Goodison Park. The striker, who has scored in successive matches, came in for Beto in the only change from last weekend's 3-1 victory over Brentford.
Luton also made one change, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu replacing Albert Sambi Lokonga, who sustained a serious hamstring injury in the draw with Wolves a week ago.
Everton were still smarting when more dozy defending from Doughty's free-kick was cushion-volleyed into the net by the unmarked Morris at the far post.
A despairing Sean Dyche claimed his side carved open enough chances to win - a gross exaggeration - but the hosts reduced the deficit before the break.
A long ball from Jordan Pickford was headed out only as far as Garner, and after his cross was taken in by Onana, his effort was saved by Thomas Kaminski before Abdoulaye Doucoure prodded the ball into the path of Calvert-Lewin for a close-range finish. A lengthy VAR review ensued to check for offside before the goal was awarded.
Jack Harrison and Beto were introduced by Dyche in the second period but Everton struggled to test Kaminski. Calvert-Lewin flashed two shots from James Tarkowski deliveries off target while Beto headed their best chance over from Harrison's lay-off.
Floundering Everton ran out of ideas and have now lost all four of their home Premier League games, but this was Luton's day. Only the offside flag against Jacob Brown denied Morris a second.
A drenched Edwards was Klopp-esque in conducted his followers in the Bullens Road End through three joyous fist pumps in the driving rain. It was a filthy day but so beautiful for those who had made the journey from Bedfordshire.
"The Town are staying up," was the chant from the away end, and on this evidence few would say with any conviction that the Hatters are set for an immediate return to the Championship.
Lockyer told Sky Sports: "Just look at the pictures at the end, they've been incredible with us since the start of the season.
"Today we deserved the win and the fans are with us. It's special. They know we're going to do everything for this shirt and they'll be with us all the way."
Luton boss Rob Edwards: "I'm just very, very proud of the players and pleased for the club.
"I know it's a big moment, I get that. I don't want this to come across in any kind of arrogant way but I expected us to (win) today, I really did. I told the boys before the game, 'I know this is going to be a good day'.
"We really believed we could come here and win the game. We had a really good plan. Everton have got some good players and they were very fluid, especially in that first half.
"At 2-0 up there was a lot of movement, a lot of stuff going on. We had to adjust, which we did at half-time, then I thought we looked more solid again. I thought we deserved it. It felt great."
Luton's band of supporters celebrated with glee at the final whistle, and the three points were enough to lift the newly-promoted side out of the bottom three.
"Amazing day for the supporters," added Edwards. "They deserve it, our board deserve it. They've really stuck with us. I know they're going to because we're on a brilliant journey and where the club has been. They're going to enjoy this.
"But it's important we give them something to shout about as well, and not just, 'Well done lads, unlucky'. They're amazing supporters, I love them. They've travelled a long, long way today in the rain and they get to enjoy their day."
Everton boss Sean Dyche: "Credit to Luton, they did everything they've been looking to achieve this season. We had so many efforts on goal, but we've been speaking about a lack of cutting edge for too long. I've spoken about changing the story and after two good wins, we came off it slightly. That's got to change. I've spoken to the players about it endlessly.
"Apart from pull your hair out, you've got to keep working. We are creating, our general play was fine, but the biggest stat of all is the scoreline. Every time we step forward, we step back again. We let them get their game going with set-pieces and they scored two goals which we needed to do much better from. It wasn't like us at all.
"They overloaded the back stick for the second goal, and we didn't tune into that. I can't keep looking at the defending side as the stats, xG, all the rest of it, we've got to be scoring more goals."
Co-founders of 777 Partners Josh Wander and Steve Pasko were in attendance at Goodison Park along with Don Dransfield, the CEO of the 777 Football Group, but they witnessed the size of the task ahead to turn Everton back into a force in English football - despite 23 attempts on goal. Fourteen of those were off target.
Calvert-Lewin said: "We're very disappointed. We made it hard for ourselves switching of at set-pieces. We weren't at it, left ourselves too much to do and weren't clinical enough.
"We had chances, but we weren't able to put them away. For their second goal, they had a free man at the back post which is criminal. The fans turned up expecting to see a far better performance, but it wasn't there today.
"Myself and everyone included weren't ruthless enough. We didn't grab the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half and we're very frustrated. We have to bounce back and go again next week [against Bournemouth]. It's not panic stations."
Sky Sports' Sue Smith told Soccer Saturday: "Luton were brilliant and deserved the win. Every player stuck to the game plan and were really organised off the ball. They were really strong at the set-pieces and took their chances.
"I feel they've got better as games have gone on and they're learning all the time in the Premier League. The errors we've seen previously are a lot fewer and they've looked strong at set-pieces in all the games I've seen. Everton needed to do more to test them, but you could see Luton were all fighting for each other.
"They've got a togetherness which is working for them. As for Everton, they struggled with those set-pieces and Carlton Morris was a real handful. After a good week, there was more positivity heading into this one. You could see the nerves after Luton scored. They looked a bit scared. They've been so much better away from home. It has to be better at Goodison and they have to take their opportunities.
"Beto and Calvert-Lewin struggled together when they were paired together but that will improve. But certainly, after two good results, this was a real downer for Everton."
|Doughty (3), Morris (2), Mykolenko (1)
Alfie Doughty said: "It's amazing. You could see how much it means to everyone. We left nothing out there. We won't get carried away but we've got to enjoy it.
"It's not an easy place to come to but we showed such good character. Half-time came at a good time as they had momentum, but we handled the second half so well and it was a good performance. Had they scored again, it would've been hard but we rallied."
Everton's next assignment is a Premier League clash with Bournemouth at Goodison Park on Saturday October 7; kick-off 3pm.
Meanwhile, Luton are back in action on Tuesday when they host Burnley at Kenilworth Road; kick-off 7.30pm.