4 observations as Luton Town are outclassed by West Brom
In Rob Edwards sixth game in charge, the Hatters once again gave up a lead to see them suffer Edwards' second defeat in charge. Although this was a very different game to that at Middlesbrough.
West Brom, who had won 9 out of their last 10 league games, conceded 2 goals early on as it looked like Luton could be keeping the 3 points in Bedfordshire. In the 7th minute Morris scored a superb goal from outside the box which Alex Palmer was too late to react to. Just 3 minutes later, Adebayo headed in from an expertly crafted free kick from James Bree.
However, even before the goals, West Brom had much of the possession and many chances of their own, with Swift heading wide from a cross and Dike hitting the bar. Shortly before half time, Horvath misjudged a through ball which Dike latched onto, which could be argued as unfortunate or bad goalkeeping. Dike ricocheted the ball in to make it 2-1.
The warning signs were there in the first half, and as soon as the second half started, West Brom got into their groove. They bossed the midfield and created many chances, and in the 65th minute, Albion got 2 goals in as many minutes, with Horvath making a calamitous error which Molumby took advantage of after Luton failed to clear. Townsend then tapped into an open net from a cut back a couple of minutes later.
From then on, Albion sat back and used their game management skills, with a lot of time wasting included. Luton brought on 3 strikers in Jerome, Woodrow and Cornick, but they failed to make an impact. Overall, a loss against West Brom isn't disastrous, as they have been in amazing form and look like they will finish in the playoffs, but the performance wasn't good, and Luton were thoroughly outclassed.
Horvath and Doughty struggle
It was a tough afternoon for these two, which fortunately we haven't had to say this too often this season about Doughty and Horvath. Doughty was asked to play right wing back again, and he struggled to get involved other than a lengthy run and shot which went wide in the first half (if he was played on the left, could he have scored?) As good as Doughty is, it is far from ideal to be asking him to play on his weaker side, and against a very competent team in Albion, he struggled.
Horvath also had a game far from his usual standards. He made some good saves in the first half, and his kicks remained as strong as usual, but you could argue he was responsible for West Brom's first 2 goals. Before half time it looked like he injured himself, but he was able to carry on. Perhaps that could have had an impact on his performance?
Adebayo breaks his goal drought and plays well
Elijah Adebayo finally broke his goal drought, heading in from a free kick. Besides the goal, he was still very involved in the play, bullying defenders and winning headers and tracking back well in the first half. He faded a bit in the second half, but the whole team did, and it is good to see him score again, taking his tally to 4 goals for the season.
It would be great to see the partnership between him and Morris really develop, the two of them so far have 15 goals combined this season. By the end of this season this number should realistically reach 30 goals. It's been a tough season for Elijah and he has received his fair share of criticism, but he still provides immense value to this Luton team.
West Brom are very good
A non Luton related point, but West Brom were one, if not the best team to play at Kenilworth Road this season. They passed the ball really well, and they possess many technically gifted players who can pass and dribble really well.
Dike is a unit up front, and his hold up play and ability to turn off his defender is impressive, Swift and Wallace were busy, Molumby and Yokuslu knew exactly what they are doing in retaining possession. Their game management and time wasting at the end is infuriating but effective, and it is all too common under all Carlos Corbaran sides as shown by Huddersfield a few seasons ago. It does look like West Brom should easily make the playoffs and it's baffling how Steve Bruce had this team 23rd in the table.
Another lead thrown away
Once again Luton have thrown away another lead, and while this scenario isn't as poor as previous games, it is still yet again more points dropped from winning positions. West Brom had control for most of the game, the possibility of them coming back was always very possible, but could it have been different if Luton hadn't conceded just before half time?
The scoreline at the end of the game was deserved, West Brom had way too many chances to score and eventually they did. This game has showed yet again the need for a new centre back (or two) to come in this January, as West Brom had immense aerial threat from set pieces, where more aerially dominant centre backs would have been beneficial. It was yet another game playing Bree at right centre back and Doughty right wing back, while Bree is does a decent job at centre back it is best for him to be on the right wing, pushing higher up so he can contribute to more attacks. Also could this have been the final game for James Bree? Rob Edwards mentioned in the post match interview that it's no secret that his contract expires at the end of the season, a funny thing to say, if Luton weren't primed to cash in on him.
By Samuel Roy