Adebayo rescues struggling Luton in draw against Everton

Luton Town’s English striker #11 Elijah Adebayo (C) vies with Everton’s English defender #06 James Tarkowski (L) and Everton’s Irish defender #23 Seamus Coleman (R) during the English Premier League football match between Luton Town and Everton at Kenilworth Road in Luton, north of London on May 3, 2024. (Photograph: HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP)

Elijah Adebayo kept Luton in the hunt to avoid relegation from the Premier League as his equaliser rescued a 1-1 draw against Everton on Friday.

Rob Edwards’ side trailed to Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s penalty but Adebayo scored the crucial leveller before half-time at Kenilworth Road.

Despite earning just one win in their past 15 league games, third-bottom Luton are still in contention to beat the drop.

They are behind fourth-bottom Nottingham Forest on goal difference, with Nuno Espirito Santo’s team facing already-relegated Sheffield United on Saturday.

A Forest win at Bramall Lane would move them three points ahead of Luton, who have two games left against West Ham and Fulham to avoid an immediate return to the Championship after last season’s fairytale promotion.

Luton’s survival bid is further complicated by the wait for a verdict on Forest’s appeal against their four-point deduction for financial breaches, with a Premier League announcement expected before the end of the season.

Despite losing eight points as punishment for financial breaches of their own, Everton had already secured their Premier League status with three games to spare.

Winners of their previous three matches, Sean Dyche’s side had nothing to play for on their first visit to Kenilworth Road for 17 years but they did enough to frustrate the superstitious Edwards.

Edwards revealed this week that he drives the same route to the stadium, uses the same toothpaste and walks his dog at a certain time of day if Luton are on a winning streak.

Beaten in their last three matches, Edwards needed a change of fortune so he said he would switch his underwear for the Everton clash.

Luton dig deep

Unfortunately for Edwards, Luton’s luck was out initially as Tahith Chong appealed in vain for an early penalty after stumbling when Everton ‘keeper Jordan Pickford rushed out to challenge the Luton forward.

Teden Mengi gifted Everton a 23rd-minute penalty when he needlessly wrestled Jarrad Branthwaite to the ground as the pair jostled at a corner.

Calvert-Lewin stepped up to drill the spot-kick down the middle for his fourth goal in his last five games.

But Luton had no intention of surrendering and they were level seven minutes later.

Targeting Everton’s Ashley Young time and again, Luton’s persistence paid off as Adebayo controlled Albert Sambi Lokonga’s high pass on his chest, muscled his way past the veteran defender and slammed a fine finish past Pickford from 10 yards.

In his first start since February after a hamstring injury, Adebayo had taken his goal tally for the season to 10.

Luton striker Carlton Morris had a towering header cleared off the line by Ben Godfrey just before half-time.

The Hatters pushed hard in the second half and their former Everton midfielder Ross Barkley headed over from a good position.

Jack Harrison almost put Everton in front against the run of play with a deflected effort that was clawed away from under the bar by Thomas Kaminski.

Calvert-Lewin’s powerful header forced a brilliant tip over from Kaminski, while Pickford made a fine stop from Luke Berry’s header in stoppage-time.