Following a 31-year exile, Luton Town will make its Premier League debut after defeating Coventry City 6-5 on penalties in the Championship playoff final on Saturday at Wembley Stadium.
Following a 1-1 draw and a tense but scoreless extra time, Coventry's Fankaty Dabo missed his penalty kick over the crossbar as the shootout entered sudden death after Luton's Joe Taylor had a late goal disallowed for handball.
Jordan Clark scored an outstanding first-half goal, but Coventry midfielder Gustavo Hamer's equalizer in the second half wiped it out. Early on, Luton captain Tom Lockyer fainted on the field and had to be taken out on a stretcher.
After being transferred to the hospital for testing, Lockyer, 28, was informed by Luton that he is awake and speaking to his family. The center back was treated on the field by medical personnel after collapsing to the ground without any players around.
Manager Rob Edwards of Luton stated, “It feels amazing. To be really honest, Tom Lockyer is the only thing on my mind right now. The most crucial factor—more crucial than football—is health.
Next season, Luton will compete in the Premier League with Burnley and Sheffield United. Since they were demoted from the Football League First Division in 1992, top-flight soccer will be played at their Kenilworth Road home for the first time.
Following a decade of financial turmoil, Luton was playing in the Conference's fifth division nine years ago. Saturday's success marks the culmination of a historic turnaround for the team. They are the first squad to go back and forth between the top division and non-league.
“I finished playing football! Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, who played for Luton at every level throughout their meteoric ascent, announced that he will be retiring this summer.
It has been a road with highs and lows, but you must have confidence in yourself. I'm a Premier League player right here.
Elijah Adebayo set up Clark, who took one touch before burying a left-footed effort in the 23rd minute as Luton, who had mainly controlled the first half, seized the lead.
Before the interval, they also had two goals overturned, but Coventry, who had significantly improved, equalized the score with a swift counterattack shortly after the hour mark.
Hamer was selected in the box by Viktor Gyokeres as he rushed down the left side. The midfielder made a darting move to receive the pass and finished well by sidefooting the ball into the corner.
When Coventry's Dabo missed his penalty after the first 11 takers all converted, Luton, who finished third in the Championship and defeated Sunderland in their play-off semifinal, secured promotion.
It was our day, which was wonderful, but Edwards added that he also felt bad for them.
“I'm feeling a range of emotions right now, but I'm incredibly proud.”