Swansea City moved up to second in the Championship as Conor Hourihane’s early goal earned them a smash-and-grab 1-0 win at Kenilworth Road.
Luton dominated for much of the match and missed several chances with Swansea having to work hard to grind out a win.
Hourihane’s goal after a decisive break came from one of only two Swansea efforts on target in a game where they were nearly always on the back foot.
Jordan Clark headed wide with Luton’s best chance of a frustrating contest.
Hatters boss Nathan Jones will wonder how his side failed to get even a point after such a positive display from his much-changed side.
This is the part of the season where fatigue can definitely become a factor and that was reflected in the team news with both managers opting to make five changes to their starting XIs after disappointing showings last time out, with Luton beaten at Norwich and Swansea held at Blackburn.
Hatters boss Nathan Jones recalled Elijah Adebayo, James Bree, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, Jordan Clark and Harry Cornick, while Swansea’s five changes were mainly tactical, though defender Marc Guehi missed out with a groin strain.
Ryan Bennett, Joel Latibeaudiere, Ryan Manning, Korey Smith and Yan Dhanda were all recalled for the Swans, with Chelsea loanee Guehi, Ben Cabango, Jake Bidwell, Jay Fulton and Jamal Lowe dropping out.
Swansea’s form has not matched their results recently, they have been grinding out points and knew they would face a tough challenge against a Luton side that were 10 points adrift of safety at this stage last season.
The Hatters could have led inside two minutes as a corner caused chaos with the wind swirling, with Swansea forced to clear Matty Pearson’s effort off the line, before Freddie Woodman saved Kai Naismith’s follow-up effort.
It was a key miss as the Swans promptly swept up the other end and opened the scoring after only three minutes. Dhanda broke on the left after Manning’s lofted pass and crossed intelligently for Hourihane, who swept the ball home with a shot that deceived Luton goalkeeper Simon Sluga.
The hosts thought they had equalised on 12 minutes when Dan Potts headed in from Cornick’s terrific cross, but the linesman correctly spotted he was offside.
Woodman was again called into action as he cleared Adebayo’s dangerous cross with his legs, before he was forced to scoop out Mpanzu’s long-range lob after misplacing a clearance. Swansea’s defence were also culpable, putting their goalkeeper under unnecessary pressure by passing the ball back to him too often in tricky conditions.
Luton dominated possession and chances in the first half as they responded well to going behind, but Cornick headed wide from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s excellent cross, before a lengthy stoppage saw Luton’s Potts leave the field on a stretcher after a heavy clash.
The home side also began the second half on the front foot, with Mpanzu’s shot blocked and Cornick just failing to convert from a teasing cross, before Adebayo undid some lovely work to fashion space with a wayward finish.
Clark flashed a header wide from six-yards out as the hosts seemed to be edging ever closer to a deserved equaliser, but the Hatters were no doubt mindful of the fact only Sheffield Wednesday have scored fewer goals in the final 15 minutes of Championship matches this season.
That trend continued as Swansea saw the contest out with only one late scare as Adebayo headed tamely at Woodman in stoppage time.
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