Goals from Luke Berry and Sam Gallagher saw the points shared between Luton Town and Blackburn Rovers at Kenilworth Road.
Gallagher’s second-half equalizer saw the visitors avoid a sixth straight league defeat away at Luton.
Dogged display from both sides
The last time these two sides met the circumstances were different: under the floodlights on that hectic final day in July Luton completed their own great escape, winning a five-goal thriller to survive in the Championship for another season.
In his pre-match programme notes Nathan Jones reiterated his sympathy for the fans who missed out that day.
On this chilly Saturday afternoon in November there was far less at stake, but both sets of fans would have applauded their sides’ dogged performances had they been at Kenilworth Road.
Despite Blackburn’s early possession it was Luton who went closest, Rhys Norrington-Davies low drive inches away from nestling in the bottom corner. Minutes later, a corner fell to Elliot Lee on the penalty spot; it took a heroic block from Rovers captain Darragh Lenihan to keep the scores level.
Blackburn soon grew into the game, Joe Rothwell gliding past three Luton defenders before his shot was blocked. The ball was in the net from the resulting corner after Scott Wharton’s header was parried, but Adam Armstrong was adjudged to have been in an offside position to tap in the rebound.
Despite their attacking endeavour, the hosts’ final ball was below par, and the frustration that was beginning to set in was personified by Nathan Jones on the touchline.
The game came to life after the restart
The second half saw the game come to life.
Luton came out looking brighter and had their clearest sight of goal just seconds after the restart, when George Moncur found space on the left-hand side. Lacking support, he elected to shoot from a tight angle, forcing a smart save from Thomas Kaminski.
Moments later, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall fashioned some space on the edge of the area but slipped as he shot, and once again Luton’s final product was left wanting.
Suddenly it was Blackburn struggling to create chances, their only attempt a speculative effort from Rothwell, well held by Simon Sluga.
Luton pushed forwards once again, the two substitutes combining as James Bree found James Collins at the far post, but his header sailed over the crossbar.
Blackburn were living on the edge, and eventually they could hold out no longer. Latching on to a long ball over the top, Collins’ first touch was a thing of beauty. As he turned and shot he slipped, but his effort was helped goalwards by Luke Berry, leaving Kaminski helpless. It was a scruffy finish, but the sublime nature of Collins’ control shouldn’t be forgotten.
The goal shocked Blackburn into life, and they were quick to respond. Sam Gallagher was introduced to bolster their attacking options, and within minutes he was on the scoresheet.
A diagonal ball over the top found Barry Douglas in the area. His header back across goal fell for Gallagher, who stabbed it home from close range.
It took a superb save at the other end to keep the scores level, with Glen Rea’s downward header pushed away by Kaminski when all inside Kenilworth Road expected the net to bulge.
Blackburn finished the stronger of the two sides but a draw was the fair result, and both managers can be pleased with the efforts of their players.
Blackburn's struggles v Luton continue
The result leaves Blackburn without a league win over Luton in forty years, a record they will be determined to rectify in the reverse fixture in January.
For Luton, their winning run against the visitors may be over, but they come away with a valuable point as they continue their solid start to the season.