Report | Luton Town 3 Swansea City 3
A pulsating second-half comeback saw Swansea City come from three goals down to claim a point against Luton Town at Kenilworth Road.
Russell Martin’s side had looked dead and buried at the break, having trailed 3-0 after Luke Berry’s seventh-minute volley was followed by an Elijah Adebayo brace – his first from the penalty spot – as the Swans were given a mountain to climb.
The visitors were a different team in the second half, looking more themselves as they had more composure on the ball and passed with intent.
Jamie Paterson struck the crossbar, but he wasn’t to be denied as he reduced the deficit with a shot that Simon Sluga could only parry into his own net.
Then sub Olivier Ntcham rattled in his first goal for the club with four minutes remaining, teeing up a thrilling finale.
And the 831 Jacks behind the goal were sent into raptures as Joel Piroe blasted into the bottom corner after being set up by the lively Ethan Laird in stoppage time.
Incredibly, the Swans almost won it with seconds remaining as Laird’s pace caught out Sluga and the Luton defence as they dallied over a through ball. Laird crossed to Obafemi, who was ten yards out, but he was denied by some last-gasp defending.
A point shared, but the Swans – who had not scored in their previous two games – will feel that this was far more than that given their spirited fightback.
Martin made three changes to his starting XI with Obafemi making his first start up front in place of Joel Piroe.
After making his debut against the Lions, Liam Walsh went into midfield to chalk up his maiden start as Ntcham made way while Liverpool loanee Rhys Williams took the place of Wales international Ben Cabango in defence.
The home side were quick out of the blocks and made their intentions and intensity known from the start.
Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu deflected Ben Hamer’s attempted clearance within the first minute into the path of Cornick, but he was thwarted by the Swans defence.
The Hatters supporters didn’t have to wait long until their early promised reaped reward, with Berry thundering home a half-cleared corner with just seven minutes on the clock.
They almost doubled their lead when Kyle Naughton’s pass was intercepted and Adebayo tried his luck but failed to find the target.
But Adebayo would find the target a minute later from the penalty after Naughton’s foul on Cornick right on the edge of the box, with the striker powering his spotkick past Hamer.
The Swans, looking shellshocked by the hosts’ blistering start, looked for an instant response but when Laird beat his defender and keeper Sluga to a through ball, his cross into the box was snuffed out.
Walsh then saw his dipping free-kick drop just wide as the Swans desperately looked for a way back into the game.
But any hope of that was given a severe blow as goal number three arrived after 24 minutes. The away dug out were convinced there had been an offside in the build up, but it mattered not as Cornick and Adebayo linked up again, the former sliding a cross to the back post where Luton’s frontman squeezed his shot in via Hamer for his second of the afternoon.
He could, and perhaps should, have wrapped up his hat-trick soon after. The Swans failed to deal with another ball down the channel, and Adebayo raced on into the box and dinked his effort past the onrushing Hamer and inches wide.
The Swans made one last threat before the break, but Paterson could only direct Laird’s cross past the post.
Martin made a triple change at the break – Cabango, Ntcham and Piroe replacing Williams, Flynn Downes and Walsh.
And they came out like a new side after the interval, showing purpose and intent within the first minute.
Ryan Manning nodded on to Obafemi, and he flicked the ball over his marker before firing a powerful volley that touched the top netting.
They went even closer just three minutes in, Paterson rattling the crossbar after a corner was cleared into his path.
Luton then struck the woodwork themselves, Cornick smashing against the post when he was teed up by Adebayo with just Hamer to beat.
But the Swans did get the goal their second-half intent deserved.
It came in the 62 minute, with Ntcham leading a drive into the Luton half before flicking to Paterson, and his 20-yard effort was parried by Sluga only for the ball to bounce into the net.
That gave the Swans some hope, and Piroe volleyed over Laird’s cross before misguiding another effort after a great run into the box by Cabango.
After pushing and pushing for another, they got just that as Ntcham rifled in his first goal for the club via a slight deflection from 20 yards.
It got even better for the visitors as it was comeback complete as Piroe slotted into the bottom corner with his fifth goal of the season to send the travelling support into raptures.
Martin’s side went close to winning it, which would have capped off an unbelievable afternoon for those travelling back to south west Wales, but Obafemi was denied right at the death.
Luton Town: Simon Sluga, James Bree, Kal Naismith (capt), Harry Cornick (Cameron Jerome, 76), Luke Berry (Jordan Clark, 61), Elijah Adebayo (Glen Rea, 89), Tom Lockyer, Reece Burke, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Henri Lansbury, Gabriel Osho.
Subs not used: James Shea, Danny Hylton, Carlos Mendes-Gomes, Dion Pereira.
Swansea City: Ben Hamer, Ryan Bennett, Kyle Naughton, Rhys Williams (Ben Cabango, ht), Ethan Laird, Flynn Downes (Joel Piroe, ht), Matt Grimes (capt), Liam Walsh (Olivier Ntcham, ht), Jamie Paterson, Ryan Manning, Michael Obafemi.
Subs not used: Steven Benda, Joel Latibeaudiere, Jay Fulton, Korey Smith.
Attendance: 9,721 (831 away)