Luton Town 1-1 Huddersfield: Sonny Bradley earns Hatters a draw after Danel Sinani fires opener

14 May 2022 0 By Total Football News

Luton Town 1-1 Huddersfield: Sonny Bradley earns Hatters a draw after Danel Sinani fires visitors into an early lead on the counter-attack as the first leg of the Championship play-off semi-final finishes level at Kenilworth Road

  • Luton and Huddersfield drew in the Championship play-off semi-finals on Friday
  • Danel Sinani fired the opener following a clinical counter-attack after 12 minutes
  • Sonny Bradley netted for the Hatters when he volleyed in Kai Naismith's free-kick
  • Terriers host second leg on Monday; winners face Sheffield United or Nottingham Forest

Kenilworth Road crackled and creaked and, at the end of an absorbing tussle, this semi-final is perfectly poised. Luton's fanciful ambition of bringing Premier League football to these parts is still alive.

Luton and Huddersfield shared a mass brawl during a recent meeting. For 45 minutes on Friday night, they enjoyed a brilliant scrap of a different kind. 

Huddersfield drew first blood through Danel Sinani before Sonny Bradley levelled the scores.

Now all roads lead north to Monday's second leg. After a long season spent defying the Championship's money table, one of these two are 90 minutes from a shot at the big time.

Sonny Bradley (right) was Luton's hero as he netted a vital equaliser in the play-off semi-final

Sonny Bradley (right) was Luton's hero as he netted a vital equaliser in the play-off semi-final 

Danel Sinani celebrates after slamming a shot past Matt Ingram to put Huddersfield 1-0 ahead

Danel Sinani celebrates after slamming a shot past Matt Ingram to put Huddersfield 1-0 ahead

'We haven't lost the game and that's really important,' said Luton boss Nathan Jones, who remains bullish. 'If we weren't confident, we might as well save on the hotel bill and stay here.'

Instead Luton – a non-league outfit inside the last decade, a team who last tasted the top flight in 1992 – will go chasing a fairytale.

Huddersfield were only relegated in 2019 but they have flirted with League One since then.

On Friday night these two set a punishing early pace. Poor referee Robert Jones could have done with a chance to breathe – and consult a video assistant.

Bradley pounces to volley Kai Naismith's delivery beyond Lee Nicholls after 30 minutes

Bradley pounces to volley Kai Naismith's delivery beyond Lee Nicholls after 30 minutes

Luton boss Nathan Jones knows his team need to improve their poor away record at top sides

Luton boss Nathan Jones knows his team need to improve their poor away record at top sides

Alas, VAR comes in only for the final. And so twice during the first-half, Jones turned down penalty shouts.

Twice, replays suggested he had erred. At least both teams could feel equally hard done by.

Huddersfield were incensed inside 10 seconds after Harry Toffolo was shoved over by James Bree.

Visiting fans wait their turn ahead of the first fixture of the Championship play-off semi-finals

Visiting fans wait their turn ahead of the first fixture of the Championship play-off semi-finals

Carlos Corberan arrives at Kenilworth Road after an excellent regular season for Huddersfield

Carlos Corberan arrives at Kenilworth Road after an excellent regular season for Huddersfield

And then Cameron Jerome burst through and tangled with Naby Sarr. Jones felt it merited a penalty and a red card. In between, two decent goals. 

Sinani fired low inside the near post before skipper Bradley turned in Kal Naismith's free-kick.

There could have been more but a draw suited Huddersfield better and that was evident in how they took some sting out of this game after the break.

MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS FROM KENILWORTH ROAD

LUTON (3-1-4-2): Ingram 6.5; Burke 6.5 (Hylton 80, 6), Bradley 8, Naismith 7; Lansbury 7.5 (Lockyer 67, 6); Bree 5.5, Campbell 6.5, Clark 6, Bell 6.5; Cornick 6, Jerome 6.5 (Snodgrass 89, 6)

Subs not used: Potts, Mendes Gomes, Kioso, Isted

Goals: Bradley 30

Yellow: Naismith

Manager: Nathan Jones 6.5

HUDDERSFIELD (3-4-3): Nicholls 6; Lees 6.5, Hogg 6.5, Sarr 6; Turton 6 (Pipa 45, 6), O'Brien 6.5, Russell 6, Toffolo 7; Sinani 7.5 (Thomas 85, 6), Ward 6.5 (Rhodes 71, 5.5), Holmes 6

Subs not used: Anjorin, Blackman, Colwill, Eiting

Goals: Sinani 12

Yellow: Rhodes

Manager: Carlos Corberan 6.5

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As Luton pressed for more, Carlos Corberan's side found some control. Neither buckled, so on we go. 

'Probably it is the fair result,' said the Huddersfield boss.

Over to you, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United.

Sportsmail's live blog had updates on the Championship play-off semi-final first leg between Luton and Huddersfield. 

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