Victory over Blackburn Rovers was enough for Luton Town to maintain their Championship status.
Luton recovered from being 10 points adrift in February to keep their second tier status on a dramatic final day in the second tier of English football.
The Hatters got rewards for great results in the final stages, losing just one game after making the decision to bring back former manager Nathan Jones during the coronavirus-induced hiatus.
Despite ending the season with the Championship’s second-worst goal difference, Luton will keep Blackburn on their fixture list next year thanks to beating the mid-table side on the final day.
3 points and results elsewhere mean the Hatters will stay up regardless of whether Wigan Athletic’s appeal against their 12 point deduction for going into administration is successful. They will finish 19th with Wigan’s deduction, and 20th if Wigan’s appeal is successful, and 3 points ahead of Charlton, who went down after a 4-0 mauling by Leeds United.
On the pitch at Kenilworth Road, Adam Armstrong scored early for Rovers, but two own goals by Blackburn players defending set-pieces in seven minutes put Luton in-front.
A second half penalty by James Collins then gave Luton a a cushion, and although Blackburn’s Sam Gallagher scored a late goal to make things interesting, the Hatters were able to keep Blackburn at bay.
With all kinds of permutations and potential directions, the main thing Luton knew they could do to give themselves a chance was win.
But it was Blackburn who made the early running, and moments after Simon Sluga denied Bradley Johnson, the away side struck first.
Armstrong was the early scorer, as the former Newcastle player was found at a corner and lashed the ball into the back of the net.
Luton’s first real efforts saw a Harry Cornick header go over and a James Collins attempt creep just wide.
But straight after the first half drinks break, Luton were on level terms thanks to Blackburn defender Hayden Carter. The Rovers player attempted to intervene when James Bree’s free-kick landed in the middle of the box, only to find the back of his own net.
A few minutes later, a second own goal from a set-piece put the home side in-front. Sonny Bradley’s header from a Luton corner ended up being diverted into his own net by Bradley Johnson, giving the hosts the lead.
Luton then extended their lead from the penalty spot on the hour mark. A foul on Cornick gave Luton a spot-kick, and despite losing his footing while hitting it, Collins beat former Hatters loanee Christian Walton from 12 yards.
It could’ve been even easier for Luton, with Collins seeing an effort blocked.
Blackburn then made life more interesting for Luton, after Gallagher flicked the ball home from close range.
The away side then had more of the ball and chances, but Luton repelled everything in the final 15 minutes and in 7 added on and when the referee blew the whistle to end the longest season so far, Luton were able to preserve their second tier status for another year.
With the deduction applied, Wigan will join Charlton and Hull in being relegated to the 3rd tier, with Barnsley’s shock win over promotion chasing Brentford keeping them up. But Hatters fans will have no anxious wait for the result of Wigan’s appeal, with their second tier status guaranteed.