Luton v Newcastle player ratings: Barkley 9, Townsend 7; Trippier 6, Wilson 5

Hatters secure throroughly deserved 1-0 Premier League win over Magpies

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Luton Town secured only their third Premier League win of the season on Saturday when they defeated Newcastle United 1-0 at Kenilworth Road.

One week after Luton captain Tom Lockyer suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Bournemouth, the Hatters produced a magnificent display to secure a thoroughly deserved three points.

Former Newcastle winger Andros Townsend headed home the only goal of the game in the first half but Luton also twice rattled the crossbar through man-of-the-match Ross Barkley and Jacob Brown.

Townsend held up Lockyer's number four shirt in celebration after the goal – one of a number of tributes paid by Luton players and fans to their captain before, during and after the game.

The victory means Luton remain third bottom, but are now just two points behind Nottingham Forest, who were beaten 3-2 at home by Bournemouth in Nuno Espirito Santo's first game in charge, with a game in hand.

At the heart of Luton's all-action display were former England players Townsend and Barkley.

It was the latter who flicked on the corner to give an unmarked Townsend the simplest of headers for the decisive goal in the 25th minute, which had came against the run of play and the ex-Everton man was also unlucky to see a 35-yard thunderbolt denied by the crossbar.

Brown also hit the bar at the start of the second half with a rasping drive as Newcastle failed to get to grips with Luton's high-pressing game.

“I’m immensely proud of everyone,” manager Rob Edwards said. “This has been a really challenging week. They don’t teach you this on the coaching courses. I’ve needed my team around me.

“The players have been amazing, really brave. We’ve rallied around each other.

“It’s been hard to concentrate on a game of football this week. My focus has been on Tom and has family, but then there’s been a job to do, an important Premier League game. We’ve all helped each other.

“The performance was probably the most complete performance we’ve had this season.”

Luton's goal had came against the run of play after Newcastle had withstood an early Luton onslaught roared on by a pumped-up home crowd.

Minutes before what turned out to be the winner, Newcastle striker Callum Wilson headed a glorious chance from a fine Anthony Gordon cross straight at Luton keeper Thomas Kaminski who blocked well, with the rebound then scrambled out for a corner.

Newcastle did have the ball in the net in the second half when substitute Alexander Isak finished well after being set up by Miguel Almiron but the Swedish attacker had been caught narrowly offside.

Defeat caps a miserable few weeks for Newcastle who have lost three out of their last four Premier League games, while also being knocked out of the Champions League and League Cup – the latter coming on Tuesday at Chelsea after a penalty shoot-out at Stamford Bridge.

“We’ve spoken about it internally, we know how important away form is,” said manager Eddie Howe.

“We have to be consistent in home and away form. It epitomised our away form today, we didn’t compete well in the first half. We were reactive instead of proactive.

“We have an incredible group but I was disappointed with the first half, I thought we needed more emotions and energy in our performance.”

Both teams are back in action on Tuesday when Newcastle take on Nottingham Forest at St James' Park while Luton face a crucial game away to bottom club Sheffield United.

You can see the player ratings from Saturday's game in the gallery above. To move on to the next photo. click on the arrows or swipe if using a mobile device.

Updated: December 24, 2023, 3:55 AM