Luton Town manager Rob Edwards was left to rue a host of missed chances by his side as they lost 1-0 to Fulham and remain without a point in the Premier League.
A goal from Carlos Vinicius was enough to ensure that Luton became the first side to lose their opening four games of their first Premier League season since Swindon Town in 1993-94.
The Hatters had frustrated the visitors in the first half, with Jacob Brown hitting the post with a header, while Amari’i Bell and Tom Lockyer missed good chances after the break.
“We have created more chances than they have, but they put one over the line and we didn’t,” said Edwards.
“We did not give them many chances, but the one big one they took, and that is the ruthless nature of this league.”
Vinicius’ winner leaves Luton at the foot of the table having scored just two goals in four games.
Missed chances cost Luton dearly
The Hatters will have left Craven Cottage wondering what might have been, having spurned several chances to score despite spending long periods absorbing pressure from the home side.
Tahith Chong shot straight at Bernd Leno after just four minutes, and Carlton Morris fired wide of the target from a tight angle 20 minutes later.
The miss from Morris was followed by Brown’s effort against the woodwork, as the summer signing from Stoke hit the post when left unmarked from Issa Kabore’s cross from the right.
Luton started the second half promisingly, with Bell shooting wide from Brown’s cross, and another fine chance went begging in stoppage time when Lockyer’s glancing header flew wide of the target from inside the area.
“We have had three really big chances, we have hit the woodwork with a free header, and we have had a free header right at the death with Tom Lockyer. Amari’i’s chance was a very big one as well,” said Edwards.
“I also feel we should have had a penalty. Carlton Morris has been fouled when their player is not looking at the ball at the time when the ball is in play. Anywhere else on the pitch, and that is a foul. We have not had a decision there and we have not taken our chances.”
Silva’s substitutions make the difference
Fulham’s last outing came amid a turbulent few days for the Cottagers, with Joao Palhinha’s proposed move to Bayern Munich collapsing at the end of the transfer window, before a painful 5-1 defeat by Manchester City.
That loss at Etihad Stadium left manager Marco Silva infuriated by the VAR decision that allowed Nathan Ake’s goal to stand, but the Portuguese cut a calmer figure on the occasion of his 100th game in charge at Craven Cottage.
His recall of Palhinha, Fulham’s player of the season during the last campaign, gave his side an early edge but they faded and looked short of ideas to combat Luton’s resilience as the first half wore on.
But the double substitution, with Harrison Reed and Raul Jimenez making way for Iwobi and Vinicius, proved to be crucial and gave them a cutting edge and creativity. Iwobi was involved in the build-up to the goal before Willian’s chipped cross from the left which Luton goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski spilled into the path of Vinicius in the six-yard box.
Despite the single-goal advantage Fulham looked comfortable for much of the rest of the game, holding out to seal the win and their first home clean sheet in the league since beating Nottingham Forest in February.
Palhinha was close to leaving the club before the international break but signed a new contract in the lead-up to this game.
“It is great news for [after] not a great two months with a lot of noise around the club,” said Silva.
“It is a clear consequence of last season with players that performed well being linked with other clubs. But I am really pleased for Joao and he showed how he is so important for us, how he is a top player and essential for how we want to play. That is probably a surprise for many, but not for me.”
Player of the match
Carlos ViníciusCarlos Vinícius
Squad number30Player nameCarlos Vinícius
Squad number26Player nameJoão Palhinha
Squad number8Player nameWilson
Squad number18Player nameAndreas Pereira
Squad number6Player nameReed
Squad number13Player nameReam
Squad number7Player nameJiménez
Squad number17Player nameLeno
Squad number22Player nameIwobi
Squad number21Player nameCastagne
Squad number2Player nameTete
Squad number3Player nameBassey
Squad number14Player nameDe Cordova-Reid
Squad number20Player nameWillian
Squad number10Player nameCairney
Squad number31Player nameDiop
Squad number19Player nameBrown
Squad number4Player nameLockyer
Squad number5Player nameAndersen
Squad number28Player nameSambi Lokonga
Squad number9Player nameMorris
Squad number10Player nameWoodrow
Squad number13Player nameNakamba
Squad number7Player nameOgbene
Squad number29Player nameBell
Squad number14Player nameChong
Squad number16Player nameBurke
Squad number12Player nameKaboré
Squad number24Player nameKaminski
Squad number17Player nameMpanzu
Squad number11Player nameAdebayo
Squad number45Player nameDoughty
- 31DiopBooked at 44mins
- 21CastagneBooked at 40mins
- 6ReedSubstituted forIwobiat 62′minutes
- 26João Palhinha
- 18PereiraSubstituted forCairneyat 81′minutes
- 8WilsonSubstituted forDe Cordova-Reidat 81′minutes
- 7JiménezSubstituted forCarlos Viníciusat 62′minutes
- 20WillianSubstituted forBasseyat 90+1′minutes
- 14De Cordova-Reid
- 19Muniz Carvalho
- 30Carlos Vinícius
- 24KaminskiBooked at 37mins
- 16BurkeSubstituted forWoodrowat 81′minutes
- 28Sambi LokongaSubstituted forMpanzuat 74′minutes
- 14ChongBooked at 27minsSubstituted forAdebayoat 74′minutes
- 19BrownSubstituted forDoughtyat 74′minutes
- 9MorrisSubstituted forOgbeneat 74′minutes
- Michael Salisbury
Match ends, Fulham 1, Luton Town 0.
Second Half ends, Fulham 1, Luton Town 0.
Kenny Tete (Fulham) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Alfie Doughty (Luton Town).
Attempt missed. Tom Lockyer (Luton Town) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Issa Kaboré with a cross.
Substitution, Fulham. Calvin Bassey replaces Willian.
Bobby De Cordova-Reid (Fulham) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Marvelous Nakamba (Luton Town).
Foul by Carlos Vinícius (Fulham).
Tom Lockyer (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Cauley Woodrow (Luton Town) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Issa Kaboré with a cross.
Attempt missed. Alex Iwobi (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Bobby De Cordova-Reid.
Bernd Leno (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tom Lockyer (Luton Town).
Corner, Luton Town. Conceded by Timothy Castagne.
Attempt blocked. Issa Kaboré (Luton Town) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Elijah Adebayo.
Substitution, Luton Town. Cauley Woodrow replaces Reece Burke.
Substitution, Fulham. Bobby De Cordova-Reid replaces Harry Wilson.
Substitution, Fulham. Tom Cairney replaces Andreas Pereira.
Willian (Fulham) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Source link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/66760557