EPL

Rob Edwards admits Luton’s remarkable loss at Bournemouth tough to take

By Sports Desk March 13, 2024

Rob Edwards says his Luton players must quickly pick themselves after becoming the first Premier League side in over 20 years to lose after being three goals up.

Antoine Semenyo scored twice as Bournemouth produced a remarkable second-half showing to win 4-3 after trailing 3-0 at half-time.

Defeat dented Luton’s survival hopes and the Hatters face a huge relegation clash with Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

Edwards insists he will not allow them to feel sorry for themselves after a torrid night on the south coast.

“We put ourselves in such a good position to win a Premier League game of football and to be sat here talking about a defeat is tough,” he said.

“Huge game on Saturday. Losing is difficult anyway but in that manner it does hurt but if we can’t pick ourselves up for a huge Premier League game then there’s something wrong.”

It was an emotional night for Edwards even before kick-off, with captain Tom Lockyer returning to thank the medical staff who helped to save his life 88 days earlier when this fixture was abandoned after the Luton captain suffered a cardiac arrest.

“Seeing Tom speaking to the paramedics, the people who saved his life was a bit emotional. He’s able to hold his new-born baby because of them,” Edwards added.

“Sometimes it’s important to have a bit of realism and that maybe brings home a little bit of what’s important.”

Luton were rampant in the first half and their opening goal came as early as the ninth minute after Jordan Clark stood up a sumptuous cross for Tahith Chong to head in at the far post.

They scored a brilliant second after 31 minutes as an incisive one-two between Chong and Alfie Doughty saw the latter cross low to Chiedozie Ogbene, who rounded off a superb team move.

Edwards must surely have thought his team had sealed their third away win of the season when Issa Kabore drove upfield to pick out the excellent Ross Barkley, who powerfully fired the ball high into the net to give the Hatters a considerable cushion going into the break.

But after making two substitutions during the interval, Bournemouth hit back dramatically, scoring three times in 14 minutes at the start of the second half.

The first was a stunning piece of individual brilliance from top scorer Dominic Solanke . The Cherries striker back-heeled the ball between the legs of Daiki Hashioka before chipping it beyond Thomas Kaminski.

The second came after Luton were unable to clear Lewis Cook’s corner to safety and Illia Zabarnyi headed in from close range despite Doughty’s desperate attempts to prevent it crossing the line.

Two minutes later the Vitality Stadium erupted when Semenyo cut in from the right and fired his shot powerfully into the near post to level the scores.

Bournemouth claimed all three points when Semenyo scored his second goal of the game seven minutes from time, collecting the ball from Enes Unal before shooting powerfully across Kaminski to give the Cherries their first home win since Boxing Day.

“The important thing is that the players showed a strong personality because it is easy to hide when you are losing 3-0 at home,” said Andoni Iraola, who became only the fifth Premier League side – and first since 2003 – to win a game in which they trailed by three goals.

“It was important to have the precedent of the last game (when Bournemouth came back from two goals down against Sheffield United).

“The key was to score early. I think Dom’s goal made us believe and the players showed a lot of character.”

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