Substitute Elijah Adebayo struck a stoppage-time equaliser as Luton fought back from 2-0 down to draw against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
Chris Wood’s second-half double appeared to have set Forest on their way to a third league win of the season but Chiedozie Ogbene fired Luton a late lifeline and Adebayo rescued them a point in the second minute of added time.
New Zealand striker Wood could have easily ended up with a hat-trick as he went close with two other headers while Luton’s Jacob Brown spurned a golden chance to equalise for the visitors when they trailed 1-0.
Forest forced the early pressure as Wood’s early volley was held by Luton goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski and Ibrahim Sangaré headed narrowly over. Luton responded through Ogbene’s low cross, which narrowly evaded teammates Carlton Morris and Brown.
Morris fired a low shot wide as Luton made their intentions clear by committing men forward on the counter before another first-time effort from Wood deflected off Luton defender Teden Mengi for a corner.
“Now you’re going to believe us, Town are staying up” was the chant from the jubilant Luton Town supporters as they filed out of the City Ground having watched their team fight back to earn a vital point.
Nottingham Forest deserved their two-goal lead, thanks to a Chris Wood brace, but Luton showed their resilience as the substitute, Elijah Adebayo, equalised in the 92nd minute.
Before a ball was kicked in Luton’s first ever season in the Premier League, Rob Edwards’s side were widely tipped to go down. While the manager is not getting quite as carried away as his team’s supporters nine games into the season, he feels their recent performances are giving plenty of reasons for optimism.
“The lads fight until the end and we’re going to keep doing that,” Edwards said. “What’s the point in being here if we’re just going to roll over? We showed we’re capable of sticking around and pulling a result out.”
Could it happen? Could Luton Town actually survive? Four defeats form their first four games suggested nature and status would take their course. A month later, they have a home point and four away ones to their name and on Saturday they recovered from Nottingham Forest taking a two-goal lead to both take a point and make one. They are outside the trapdoor and have an impetus which currently eludes Burnley, AFC Bournemouth and Sheffield United. yesterday
Soon after half-time, Chris Wood scored an excellent goal, assisted by Anthony Elanga. On came Andros Townsend, lachrymose after being spurned by Burnley, for his debut. Ross Barkley added midfield serenity and Elijah Adebayo enhanced the striking threat.
Wood promptly scored again, courtesy of another Elanga assist. Luton looked down and out until the 83rd minute when Forest gave away a cheap free-kick on Luton’s left. Townsend’s effort bobbled apologetically towards goal. “It was the worst delivery of the day,” sighed Steve Cooper, the Forest head coach. Alas for Forest, first Serge Aurier, then Harry Toffolo made a hash of clearing it and the constantly threatening Chiedozie Ogbene sweetly volleyed his first top tier goal past Matt Turner.
Luton boss Rob Edwards hailed “magic” super-sub Elijah Adebayo after the striker’s stoppage-time equaliser clinched a 2-2 draw at Nottingham Forest.
Forest led 2-0 in the 83rd minute through Chris Wood’s second-half double, but Chiedozie Ogbene gave the Hatters a late lifeline and Adebayo’s superb effort snatched them a point.
The 25-year-old took Tom Lockyer’s long ball into the box on his chest and buried a low shot in the second minute of added time as Luton, promoted via the play-offs in May, registered just their fifth point from nine matches.
Edwards said: “It was a great goal. He’s got those moments. He came on against Burnley and got his goal and he’s done it again today.
“He’s got these little moments of magic in him. The assist he got at Sheffield United, the assist at Wembley. He’s had big moments for us Eli since we’ve been here.”
Luton fought back from two down with late goals by Chiedozie Ogbene and Elijah Adebayo to add a precious point to their survival fund.
Nottingham Forest thought they had won it when Chris Wood scored his second of the game to give them a 2-0 lead in the 76th minute.
Steve Cooper’s team had controlled the game and deserved their lead but the visitors summoned a spirited finish.
Ogebene brought them back into the contest when he pounced on a defensive lapse by Forest and Adebayo, criticised for missing a sitter on his last outing against Tottenham, produced a brilliant equaliser in the second minute of added time, pulling down a long pass on his chest and firing low past goalkeeper Matt Turner.
Those in the away end erupted but felt like a defeat for the home crowd at the City Ground.