Norwich sunk late by 10-man Luton to pile pressure on Smith

26 December 2022 0 By Total Football News

Substitute Cauley Woodrow scored a 90th-minute winner as 10-man Luton beat Norwich 2-1 to pile the pressure on boss Dean Smith.

Allan Campbell had put the Hatters in front just after the hour mark of the Sky Bet Championship clash at Kenilworth Road on Boxing Day, before Teemu Pukki soon levelled for Norwich.

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Cauley Woodrow scores after just coming on to win it for Luton in the last minute of normal time.

It seemed like it was going to be a nervy finish for Luton after Gabriel Osho’s red card, but Woodrow struck late after being sent on by Rob Edwards, as the Hatters boss earned his first win for the club in his first home game in charge.

The result left Norwich in fifth in the table, 12 points off the automatic-promotion spots.

Pressure builds on Smith after Boxing Day defeat

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Allan Campbell opens the scoring in the match from 25 yards out as Luton go 1-0 up against Norwich.

Amid rising criticism from fans after a poor run and a 2-0 defeat at home to Blackburn last week, Norwich boss Smith opted for a switch to a back three in hopes of an improved performance at Kenilworth Road.

But it didn’t help much as Luton dominated the first half, going close on two occasions as Elijah Adebayo headed just wide from a corner, and when Angus Gunn made a fine stop from a James Bree free-kick.

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Teemu Pukki finds the back of the net to level the scoring for Norwich against Luton.

Smith tried to turn the tide by putting Adam Idah on up front for Gabriel Sara at the start of the second half, but it didn’t prevent Luton from taking the lead, as a lapse from Dimtrios Giannoulis allowed Campbell the time and space to shoot from outside the box, and he beat Angus Gunn with a fine low drive.

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There would be some respite for the Canaries as Pukki took advantage of some sloppy defending from Dan Potts, beating the Hatters man with a good first touch from Ben Gibson’s pass, before thumping an excellent finish past Ethan Horvath.

But the relief wouldn’t last long as Luton, who had to finish with 10 men after Osho’s dismissal – as he picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Pukki – found a late winner through Woodrow. He had only been on as a substitute for three minutes when he took one touch in the box to set himself before firing high into the net.

What the managers said…

Rob Edwards speaks to Sky Sports after Luton win it late on against Norwich at home.

Luton’s Rob Edwards: “We’ve had a bit of adversity in going down to 10 men in both games so far. We conceded late against Middlesbrough but today we were on the right end of it. I’ve told the lads I’m really proud of them and their performance. I thought we were the better team and looked really strong and threatening.

“Norwich have quality players and they came back and came back strong. You expect them to step it up and have a period in the game, and when we went down to 10 men it could have been a case of keeping what we had. But credit to the lads who kept pushing. We looked the team who were pressing to get the winner.
“I’m really pleased for Cauley. He’s been out for a while and he showed a lot of character in coming back. And what a goal it was. What a winner.”

Norwich manager Dean Smith speaks to Sky Sports after his side’s lost away to Luton.

Norwich’s Dean Smith: “I understand the frustration and I understand their anger. But football changes on small margins and that’s what happened today. It’s always difficult, if the fans have turned it’s hard to turn them back. But I’ll keep trying. It’s the job title I have and one I’ll keep doing.

“We have three games at home and we have to make sure we go and put in performances that the fans want to see. Because at the moment the frustration is that we’re not doing that. All I can do is keep working hard every day and try to get the lads performing to the best of their ability.”

Player of the Match – Jordan Clark

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