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Huddersfield Town 1-2 Luton Town: Reece Burke scores winner on return from injury

Reece Burke celebrates his winning goal for Luton at Huddersfield
Before his substitute appearance at Huddersfield, Reece Burke (centre) had not featured for Luton since 30 September

Reece Burke fired Luton Town into the Championship’s top six, scoring a late winner against Huddersfield Town on his return to action after three months out injured.

The defender finished calmly from inside the box to earn a third successive victory for Rob Edwards’ side.

Huddersfield, themselves chasing a third straight win, led midway through the first half when Jack Rudoni’s shot from outside the box landed at the feet of Duane Holmes, who controlled well before firing across Luton goalkeeper Ethan Horvath into the corner.

Amari’i Bell began Luton’s comeback, equalising just before half-time with his first goal since August 2021.

A right-wing cross found Bell on the edge of the area and his driven shot was deemed to have gone in, despite an attempted clearance by a Huddersfield defender on the goal line.

And a game of few chances was settled eight minutes before full-time when Burke found himself in space 12 yards out and powerfully beat Terriers goalkeeper Lee Nicholls.

Luton have taken nine points from their four matches since Edwards succeeded Nathan Jones as manager and are now up to fifth position in the Championship.

Huddersfield, meanwhile, remain in the relegation zone and are two points from safety after letting their first-half lead slip.

Sunday’s game, a repeat of last season’s Championship play-off semi-final which was won by Huddersfield, lacked the goalmouth action of the 3-3 draw between the teams at Kenilworth Road in October.

Nicholls denied Elijah Adebayo in the opening minutes, while the Terriers looked a threat from set-pieces during an often physical encounter, with Tom Lees forcing a fine save from Horvath – albeit after the referee’s assistant had flagged for offside.

American goalkeeper Horvath also kept out Kaine Kesler-Hayden’s low shot from outside the box, before Burke found the winner for the visitors.

Huddersfield manager Mark Fotheringham told BBC Radio Leeds:

“I’m very deflated and very disappointed with that result. I’ve made it clear to the lads in the dressing room that if we’re moving forward and we defend like that, it’s going to be very hard.

“The level of performances have been there, the lads are putting huge demands on themselves and you can see we’re playing with a lot of confidence.

“But, when you go 1-0 ahead against a very good, solid side like Luton, you need to turn the screw on them and up your levels. I just felt we went a little bit ragged, especially for the first goal, and the second goal was just not acceptable.”

Luton manager Rob Edwards told BBC Three Counties Radio:

“Full credit to the players and all the staff, who have worked extremely hard to make sure the players are in as good a condition as possible to deliver nine points [from the past three games].

“Massive credit to the supporters who have made a long journey on New Year’s Day and I’m really pleased to send them home happy.

“We found a way to win. After a slow start, we gradually grew into it. It was great timing to get the equaliser when we did.

“At 1-1 in the second half there wasn’t much in the game, I just thought ‘let’s make an attacking change and let’s go for it’. Cauley Woodrow coming on gave us another little spark, we went for it, but then it was a centre-back who got the goal.”

Line-ups

Huddersfield

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 21Nicholls
  • 32Lees
  • 39Helik
  • 12BoyleBooked at 35mins
  • 16Hayden
  • 6HoggSubstituted forThomasat 38′minutes
  • 18KasumuSubstituted forCamaraat 64′minutes
  • 14Ruffels
  • 22Rudoni
  • 19HolmesSubstituted forDiarraat 73′minutes
  • 9RhodesSubstituted forWardat 64′minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Thomas
  • 24Camara
  • 25Ward
  • 27Simpson
  • 35Diarra
  • 41Bilokapic
  • 47Ayina

Luton

Formation 3-1-4-2

  • 34Horvath
  • 2Bree
  • 4LockyerBooked at 61mins
  • 3Potts
  • 20WatsonSubstituted forWoodrowat 65′minutes
  • 45DoughtyBooked at 58minsSubstituted forBurkeat 62′minutesBooked at 84mins
  • 22Campbell
  • 17Mpanzu
  • 29Bell
  • 9Morris
  • 11AdebayoSubstituted forJeromeat 83′minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Cornick
  • 8Berry
  • 10Woodrow
  • 16Burke
  • 21Isted
  • 35Jerome
  • 42Pettit

Referee:
Matt Donohue

Attendance:
18,333

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