Vitality Stadium

Luton Town Suffer Sickening – and Historic – Defeat as Premier League Relegation Beckons

Bournemouth away. A pretty tough Premier League assignment these days, with Andoni Iraola turning the Cherries into a decent outfit.

So when Luton Town found themselves 3-0 up in a vital relegation scrap at the Vitality Stadium earlier in March, they must have been over the moon with the first half of the game.

Did complacency set in? It seems unlikely, given the diligent nature of Rob Edwards’ coaching style, but certainly something was amiss as the Hatters were condemned to a 4-3 defeat – a loss from a position of such authority that has only happened twice before in Premier League history.

Down… And Out?

The relegation picture in the EPL is so stark that the sportsbooks are, in their betting on football, no longer accepting wagers on Sheffield United and Burnley to be demoted – their race is as good as run.

But the favorites for the third relegation berth are Luton (-225), whose catastrophic defeat against Bournemouth sees them three points adrift of Nottingham Forest after 28 games (+220), and with an inferior goal difference.

The Hatters won’t give up on their maiden voyage into the Premier League in the modern era, particularly given that they have winnable games against the likes of Brentford, Everton and Fulham to come.

However, you wonder how much that defeat against Bournemouth will have hurt them, especially as they appeared to have the three points in the bag after 45 minutes of that match.

Afterwards, Edwards admitted that the defeat was ‘going to hurt’, before revealing that his players lost key individual duels in the second period that proved decisive.

The head coach implored his players to pick themselves up, but that will surely prove difficult to do after they succumbed to a loss so harrowing, it has only happened three times in more than 30 years of Premier League football.

A Game of Two Halves

Luton Town join Tottenham and Leicester City in a club that no team wants to be in.

That’s the trio that have found themselves three goals to the good at the midway point of a game… only to then lose in the most humiliating fashion imaginable.

Spurs were the first back in September 2001. They blasted their way into a 3-0 half-time lead at White Hart Lane courtesy of goals from Les Ferdinand, Christian Ziege and Dean Richards, and questions of how many they would win by were being thrown around as Manchester United appeared to be in complete disarray.

Sir Alex Ferguson was famous for his rather spicy half-time pep talks when things weren’t going well, but according to those present he was calmness personified on this fateful day – whether that spooked his players, who were no doubt expecting a ferocious onslaught, only they know, but the tactic worked.

Andy Cole scored barely a minute into the second half, before Laurent Blanc reduced the arrears yet further. And then the accelerator was pushed – Ruud van Nistelrooy and Juan Sebastian Veron scoring in the space of four minutes to hand United an improbable lead.

Tottenham, shell-shocked, tried to respond, but it would be to no avail as a David Beckham goal capped a sublime 5-3 comeback win.

Can Luton bounce back as the latest member of this unique hall of shame?

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