LUTON: Winger Andros Townsend netted his first goal for Luton Town as they beat his former club Newcastle United 1-0 on Saturday to make it three defeats in their last four Premier League matches for the Magpies.
Fans from both teams paid tribute to Luton’s Tom Lockyer, who suffered a cardiac arrest in his side’s last match against Bournemouth.
With Newcastle fans unfurling a banner sending good wishes to the Luton defender before kickoff, supporters applauded as the advertising hoardings around the ground displayed the names of all those who helped Lockyer in his recovery.
Newcastle wasted a golden chance to break the deadlock in the 20th minute as Anthony Gordon put in a brilliant cross for Callum Wilson, but the striker headed the ball straight at Thomas Kaminsiki.
Townsend, who played for Newcastle in the 2015-16 season, put his side in front in the 25th minute by heading home Ross Barkley’s flick-on from a corner before running to the bench and grabbing one of Lockyer’s number four shirts to celebrate.
Barkley almost netted a second eight minutes later, unleashing a powerful shot that hit the underside of the crossbar as Newcastle’s defence struggled to contain the home side.
Alexander Isak thought he had equalised for Newcastle in the 61st minute when he slotted home from Miguel Almiron’s pass, but he was flagged offside and a VAR review confirmed the original decision to disallow the goal.
Though they remained dangerous on the break, Luton were forced to defend for much of the rest of the match as they hung on for a win that left them in 18th spot on 12 points after 17 matches, Newcastle dropped to seventh on 29 points.
Luton’s third win and first clean sheet of the campaign was dwarfed by the tributes to Lockyer and the tension of the match.
“I’m an emotional wreck at the moment. I’ve just said to the lads I’m very, very proud of everybody,” Luton manager Rob Edwards told the BBC.
“It’s been a tough week for the football club, it’s been the greatest challenge of my professional career – it’s funny, no coaching badges or anything prepare you for handling anything like this.”
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe could not hide his disappointment.
“We were well aware we were below our levels…the second half was much better, but we could not force the goal we needed, and that mistake has cost us the match,” he added.