By Thom Gibbs at Wembley Stadium
Luton Town will play in the top flight for the first time in 31 years next season after prevailing in the Championship play-off final at Wembley. Coventry’s Fankaty Dabo missed the decisive 12th penalty in a previously perfect shoot-out to settle a match which finished 1-1 after extra time.
Barely conceivable riches now await Luton, whose return to the Premier League completes a remarkable run. As recently as five years ago they were playing Coventry in League Two. Now their fixture list contains trips to Anfield and Old Trafford as well as a first visit for Erling Haaland to Kenilworth Road.
A raucous atmosphere at Wembley was quietened early in the first half when Luton captain Tom Lockyer fell to the ground with no Coventry players nearby. The club confirmed he had collapsed and was taken to hospital for tests, but was conscious and with his family.
Luton dominated the first half, going ahead through Jordan Clark but Coventry rallied to seize initiative in the second period, top scorer Viktor Gyokeres teeing up Gustavo Hamer for a calmly taken equaliser.
In a match which effectively carries the biggest prize money in football, the trend has been for tight games, far from the high-scoring slugfests of the 1990s. It was another match in the modern vein, with plenty of effort but few moments of quality and cagey extra time.
It was the most unlikely play-off final in recent history, contested by two teams who have plunged the depths in recent years, Coventry dropping as low as League Two and Luton spending five years in what is now the National League.
Arguably more shocking than their rise up the pyramid is the fact that both teams are in the bottom half of the second tier for wage budget. Luton can now look forward to vastly more spending power.
Tom Lockyer celebrates from his hospital bed
Tom Potts on Sky speaking about Luton captain Lockyer
We’ve had some good news and hopefully [Tom Lockyer] will be able to see us tonight. Tom, really hope you’re well, the lads are gutted for you, and we can’t wait to see you. Like the gaffer always says, health is the most important thing, and family, so we really wish you well.
Luton striker Abebayo speaking on Sky
This group is special. Commiserations to Coventry, it was a hell of a battle and they pushed us all the way.
We’ve said it since the gaffer has come in, he said we were going to do it but we had to believe it.
If you look at Luton, every year they seem to improve their position in the league. I just wanted to come here and do my best and aim for days like this.
The fans who have been here since Luton were relegated to the conference, this is for them.
Luton manager Rob Edwards speaking to BBC radio
I feel really good, but the only thing I’m thinking about now is Tom Lockyer.
Luton’s Jordan Clark realising he’s a Premier League player
Or maybe he has just remembered the squad’s promotion bonus (I do hope they negotiated that at the start of the season).
The trophy lift
Some Luton players have been holding up ‘4 Lockyer shirts’ to honour their skipper, who was stretchered off and taken to hospital. He is conscious and responsive we are pleased to report.
The other side of a play-off final
While we might be entertained by these games, I think it’s obscene and unhealthy to have one game with £170 million riding on it. There should not be such a financial gulf between steps of the pyramid.
Get ready for a lot of these gags
Carlton Morris says the win was for Tom Lockyer
He’s been incredible all season for us. I don’t even know what happened yet, it’s a bit of a shellshock. But the lads got behind him, and that’s how big a character he is, he’s still here in spirit. If you’re watching this at home, Locks, I love you and hope you’re all right.
Let the celebrations begin
Mpanzu has his eyes on the real prize
The party is tonight, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then Thursday…we’re in Vegas!
Dabo misses for Coventry! Luton are in the Premier League
Oh, it was a horrible miss from Dabo, spooning his penalty high and right, meaning Luton win 6-5 on penalties.
Tears and ecstatic celebrations in the Luton directors’ box, with Mick Harford in amongst it all.
Luton are back in the top flight for the first time since 1991-92.
Potts scores for Luton!
His left foot does not let him down and he sends the goalkeeper the wrong way. Which goalkeeper is going to be the hero? Neither of them have got near a penalty so far.
Luton 6 Coventry 5.
Coventry captain Kelly scores!
The man who has been with them through the divisions keeps his head. It’s sudden death.
Luton 5 Coventry 5.
Berry scores for Luton!
That’s five out five for Luton, they have not looked like messing. Over to you Horvath in goal…
Luton 5 Coventry 4.
Eccles scores for Coventry!
The homegrown talent sends the goalkeeper the wrong way with another unerring penalty.
Luton 4 Coventry 4.
Clark scores for Luton!
Another spot kick into the side-netting. The quality of these penalties as been incredible given the circumstances.
Luton 4 Coventry 3.
Sheaf scores for Coventry!
Plenty of elevation to the top-left corner, another excellent penalty.
Luton 3 Coventry 3.
Nakamba scores for Luton!
Takes his time with a slow run up, but finds the side-netting with his left foot. Unsaveable.
Luton 3 Coventry 2.
Gyokeres scores for Coventry!
He absolutely rifles his penalty straight down the middle into the roof of the net.
Luton 2 Coventry 2.
Taylor scores for Luton!
The man who thought he had scored the winner squeezes this penalty past Wilson into the bottom-left corner.
Luton 2 Coventry 1.
Matt Godden scores for Coventry!
Like Morris, he sends the goalkeeper the wrong but this time to the opposite side.
Luton 1 Coventry 1.
Morris is standing up to take Luton’s first penalty
So Luton are shooting towards their fans, and will take the first penalty. Feels like and advantage to me.
Here comes Morris…and he scores! Sends Wilson the wrong way and rolls the ball into the bottom-left corner.
Luton 1 Coventry 0.
Thom Gibbs at Wembley
Big cheers from the Luton end as the spot kick toss goes their way. I’ve never seen a crampier game than this one, felt like a majority of players were clutching calves and hamstrings during breaks in play during extra time. A fairly disgusting amount of pressure on these penalty kicks. Bring back replays! (For this game and this game alone)
The toss: Penalties will be taken at the Luton end
A very small edge perhaps, but you take every one you can find.
Coventry goalkeeper Wilson ran straight down the tunnel at full time. Whether that was a call of nature or to squeeze in some last-minute penalty taker revision, I’m not sure.
Interesting point on the disallowed goal
David Prutton on Sky suggesting that had Taylor squared rather than shooting, the goal may have stood, because the handball would not have led directly to the goal. But I think justice was done in the end.
We’re heading to penalties! Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Berry got his head to a late Luton free-kick, but his effort was always looping over.
Nothing to separate the teams over the 120 minutes. Promotion to the Premier League and something like £170 million rest on a penalty shootout.
Two minutes of added time to play
Onyedinma’s cross is once again poor, and time is ticking away.
29 minutes (ET): Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
One hell of a scare for Coventry, who must have had that sinking feeling then Taylor was through on goal. There are some drained faces in the stands. It looks like there will be two added minutes.
NO GOAL! Luton thought they had the winner
I invoked the ghost of Richard Keogh earlier, and Panzo has made a horrible error, only just on as a substitute. He dallied on the ball and Taylor pounced, before slipping the ball under the goalkeeper and wheeling away…
But hold on. Replays show Taylor intercepted the ball with his arm, and Oliver chalks the goal off relatively swiftly. No lengthy review required, there. Right decision, but gut-wrenching for Luton fans.
24 minutes (ET): Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Coventry defender Doyle is down with what looks like cramp, or worse, and Panzo is ready to replace him. Not a surprise that players are dropping like flies more than 110 minutes into the season’s 49th game.
22 minutes (ET): Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
An exhausted looking Osho trots off for Luton, and it replaced by Potts. Both sets of supporters will be girding themselves for penalties now.
19 minutes (ET): Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Coventry look the more enterprising team, but the final pass is letting them down.
The Doyle battles well against Morris, who was giving Coventry’s defenders a torrid time in the first half.
17 minutes (ET): Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Coventry gain some early territory, with a throw-in deep in Luton territory. Gyokeres’ close control is impressive once again to help Coventry win a corner, but the ball does not drop for them in the box.
The second half of extra-time is under way
Coventry get us started. It looks like Horvath is carrying on.
Luton with another change
Joe Taylor is on for Adebayo. That is a substantial loss of presence up front for Luton.
Half time in extra-time: Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
There are 15 minutes to find the winner, or else we are heading to penalties.
Speaking of which, Luton might have to do something about their goalkeeper Horvath who is impaired by an injury.
16 minutes (ET): Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Nice forward pass from Dabo for Coventry, finding Kelly between the lines, but his shout from outside the box was wide and tame.
15 minutes (ET): Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
There are some weary legs out there, a few players are wobbling and weaving like horses on the Grand National home straight. The quality and intensity that was there in the first half as waned.
Two added minutes to play.
12 minutes (ET): Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Play is stopped once again with Luton goalkeeper Horvath down injured. Casey Palmer also has a problem, having only come on as a second-half substitute. That will be another two or three minutes of added time.
9 minutes (ET): Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Well, well. That was a big decision from Michael Oliver, who books Jordan Clark for simulation when Luton were screaming for a penalty. It was a bouncing ball in the box, and he got there first before goalkeeper Wilson, but perhaps his theatrical fall proved his undoing.
8 minutes (ET): Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Luton with another change: Mpanzu is off, replaced by Luke Berry. No clear cut chances for either side so far in extra-time.
7 minutes (ET): Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Godden felt he should have a had a free-kick at one end, but Luton do win the free-kick thanks to Morris getting the better of McNally. This will be a right-footed inswinger from the left, but a Coventry head gets there first.
4 minutes (ET): Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Luton try to find the midfield run of Clark from Morris’ knockdown but it runs through to the goalkeeper Wilson.
Luton then enjoy some possession deep in the Coventry half but Onyedinma’s cross was aimless.
2 minutes (ET): Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
In the first few moments of extra-time, Gyokeres rolled ball and stung the palms of Horvath with a strike from long range on the bounce. That was a nice effort.
Extra time is under way
With Palmer and Godden, do Coventry just have that little more freshness in the top end of the pitch?
FT: Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
For the third time this season, Coventry peg Luton back to draw.
Luton will regret those early missed chances, but Coventry deserve the extra 30 minutes based on their second-half resurgence.
To extra time we go.
97 minutes: Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
The game is suddenly very stretched but neither team can take full advantage. It looked to be opening up for Morris but McNally defended well for Coventry. Luton’s delivery from wide has not been up to scratch in the second half.
95 minutes: Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Casey Palmer saw his name go up in lights for a brief second, and took on a shot from 25 yards for Coventry, but it was high, wide and handsome. Osho’s touch is too heavy and Coventry have a throw-in deep in the Luton half.
93 minutes: Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Credit to both teams, who are trying to push numbers forward in search of a winner when they get the chance. There are still five minutes to play and Coventry have a free-kick deep in their half after Morris is judged offside.
92 minutes: Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
McFadzean makes the slightest of touches on Morris, who buys Luton a free-kick, 35 yards out and very central.
A chance for Luton, although not an easy free-kick to execute. Clark goes for the shot and rather rushes it, skewing well over the bar.
90 minutes: Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Can Luton fashion one last chance? Drameh’s cross from the right is threatening and Norton-Cuffy has to turn behind for a corner at the back post. The delivery is too heavy but Adebayo does well to win Luton a throw.
There will be EIGHT minutes of added time.
Thom Gibbs from Wembley on the turnaround
Sky blue bucket hats doffed towards Mark Robins, the introduction of Matt Godden at half time has swung this game. He has stood up to Luton’s defence in a way that Coventry’s star man Viktor Gyokeres was struggling to do on his own in the first half, which has allowed Gyokeres bandwith to drift deeper, wider and have far more of an impact on the game. Feels delicately poised now. All Cov since the goal, but Luton finding their voice a little and getting up the pitch. Have they seen out the worst of it? The exit of goalscorer Gus Hamer could be pivotal.
87 minutes: Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Palmer tries to make something happen for Coventry but is eased out by Burke, good defending from the Luton man.
The Gyokeres produces a couple of delightful touches up front for Coventry, but his shot is deflected harmlessly into the arms of Horvath.
84 minutes: Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Luton are making a change: Doughty is coming off and is replaced with Onyedinma.
Good reading of play by Ben Sheaf to mop up in his own penalty area. Any mistake now could prove fatal. Nobody wants to end up this year’s Richard Keogh.
82 minutes: Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Godden and Gyokeres have been so lively since Robins decided to pair them together up front at half time.
If pushed, I’d have to say Coventry look the more likely. A fresh Palmer off the bench could also give them another dimension. Sheaf almost in behind before the flag goes up for offside.
Luton go straight up the other end, and Adebayo’s persistence wins them a corner.
78 minutes: Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Luton still looking to be direct when they can, but Wilson comes and catches a diagonal cross stood up towards Adebayo.
Hamer is sat on the turf once again for Coventry, he might have to come off here. Palmer is getting ready to replace him.
Hamer looks distraught that his play-off final has been cut short.
76 minutes: Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
There was a nasty fall for Hamer, so we have just had another stoppage in the game. Coventry fans will be buoyed by the sight of Casey Palmer warming up on the touchline. Next goal wins?
72 minutes: Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Now Luton’s defenders are being stretched, just as Coventry’s were in the first 45 minutes. Godden makes a nuisance of himself in a 40:60 against with Osho, and wins a free-kick in a really dangerous position.
Whipped in from the right, and McFadzean was not far away from getting his head on it.
Then Godden misses a half-chance on the swivel! Gyokeres’ movement causing problems again before Godden fired over with his left.
69 minutes: Coventry 1 Luton Town 1
Credit to Coventry for their response to being completely outplayed in the first half.
Hamer deserved his goal for all of his industry.
Luton try to send a long ball forward for Adebayo but Coventry’s defenders look more comfortable with that tactic.
GOOOOOAAAALL! Coventry’s main man Hamer with the equaliser
Coventry could have been dead and buried in this play-off final but now they are very much alive.
It was a swift counter-attack from the second-phase of a Luton set-piece.
Gyokeres was the outlet for Coventry down the left wing, and he picked out the run of Hamer at the edge of the box. He let the ball run across his body and arrowed a right-foot shot into the bottom corner. Really sound technique.
65 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 1
Excellent from Adebayo for Luton, winning challenges in his own half a springing the counter-attack. Clark fed Morris wide right and his cross is turned behind for a corner. The delivery was a good one but Coventry stand firm.
63 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 1
Doyle with a very silly shot for Coventry who were stringing together a nice sequence of passes in the Luton half. The defender took on a shot from 40 yards with his left peg and it threatened to break the windows of the corporate boxes. You can sense the weight of the next goal in the atmosphere at Wembley.
60 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 1
Luton have a chance to move up the pitch with a free-kick in a promising crossing position. Bidwell did well to track Morris at the back post and the foul goes against the Luton forward.
56 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 1
Much better from Coventry since the break, with Gyokeres more prominent and supported. Norton-Cuffy’s dangerous cross is turned behind for a corner, but McNally’s header was always rising over the bar. Whatever Robins said at half time has worked so far.
53 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 1
Osho and Burke clash heads at the back for Luton, so we are in for another stoppage.
An update from Luton on their captain Tom Lockyer:
“We are able to report that after collapsing on the pitch, Tom Lockyer has been taken to hospital for further tests.
“He is responsive and talking to his family, who are with him.”
49 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 1
Coventry have a corner and their fans behind the goal they are attacking in the second half find their voice. Whipped in to the near post but it would not fall for a sky blue shirt and Luton have a goal kick.
Then an almighty mix-up between Horvath and Osho, with the goalkeeper rushing to the edge of his box and only clearing straight into his own player.
Coventry striker Gyokeres unfortunate it did not break into his path. First signs of Luton vulnerability.
47 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 1
Within the first couple of minutes of the second half, Morris spins in behind a square Coventry defence who are only spared by a late offside flag.
Hamer trying to rouse Coventry by closing down a backpass to Horvath, and he got studs to the goalkeeper’s clearance but could not divert the ball towards goal.
We are back under way!
Coventry get the second half started, in need of a drastically improved performance.
A half time change for Coventry
James Allen has been replaced by Matt Godden. That is an attempt from Robins to get more support to Gyokeres up front.
One of those games if you’re a Coventry fans
HT: Coventry 0 Luton Town 1
That was comprehensively Luton’s half, but such is the phycology of football Coventry might feel like they are the team who have had a result by reaching the break one down.
Luton have looked physically dominant, well organised and a consistent threat. They have the hallmarks of teams such as Bolton, Stoke and Brentford who have won promotion and then bloodied noses in the Premier League.
A big team talk coming up for Mark Robins. Coventry need a dramatic swing in the second half.
Thom Gibbs’ verdict from Wembley on Coventry’s defensive blunders
Atmosphere was as raucous as I’ve ever heard at Wembley shortly before kick-off, but the Sky Blue section I am sat closest to has quietened significantly during that first half defensive omnishambles.
Total panic among the back five for long periods, and although they broke a couple of times before the break, committing too many men forward feels like a dangerous strategy. Will be a significant turnaround if Coventry are to come into this in second half, but first job for Mark Robins at half time might be to calm his players down, there have been some gruesome rushes of blood.
45 minutes+3: Coventry 0 Luton Town 1
Coventry applying some pressure with a couple of set-pieces but Luton goalkeeper Horvath comes through bodies to claim a cross into the box. The Luton goalkeeper is now down receiving some treatment, but looks fit to continue.
45 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 1
There are eight minutes of added time to play. Norton-Cuffy is growing into the game for Coventry after a nervous start, with some promising carries forward.
43 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 1
This half has produced more chances than we anticipated before kick off. This time, Coventry carve out their first chance of the game.
Good play from Bidwell to drive down the left and stand up the cross to the back post, and Hamer had lost his marker but could not keep his shot down on the bounce. That should give the team in sky blue some confidence.
41 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 1
Luton thought they had their second goal, but Adebayo diverted the ball in with his arm and Michael Oliver chalks it off!
Nakamba at the heart of things again, winning the ball in the middle of the park and spreading play to Doughty who was too strong for Norton-Cuffy.
Doughty’s shot was saved, before Adebayo handled. Luton should be two or three up here.
37 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 1
Norton-Cuffy with a rare chance to get forward for Coventry from right wing-back, but Doughty does well to defend against him in the one-on-one duel.
Once again, Luton quickly turn Coventry around, with Bidwell putting the ball out for a throw. Another dangerous cross comes in from outwide but the ball does not quite fall for Morris.
34 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 1
Another half-chance for Luton, with Drameh whipping in a cross from the right for Adebayo to meet, but he glanced his header over the bar. Coventry struggling to win any second balls in front of their defence, or retain possession for more than a couple of passes.
32 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 1
Luton look dangerous every time they chip the ball forwards. Half-hearted appeals for a penalty there as Morris and Norton-Cuffy grappled in the box, but the foul was given in the Coventry defender’s favour.
Once again, Coventry find themselves under intense pressure in their own half and goalkeeper Wilson hammers the ball out for a Luton throw.
28 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 1
Teams who fall behind in the Championship play-off final have a grim record, so Coventry have it all on now. They have been a counter-attacking side for much of the season, and now need to chase the game on a warm day.
And they were almost two down there! Morris and Adebayo are messing Coventry’s three centre-backs around, and Adebayo put a side-foot volley wide when he had time to pick his spot.
Coventry’s defending has been pretty atrocious so far.
GOOOAAAALLL! Luton take a thoroughly deserved lead
Nakamba, who has been dominant in central midfield, started the move by winning the ball in his own half.
Textbook centre-forward play by Adebayo to run the channel and chase a long ball down the left, and he bullies Coventry defender McFadzean to wriggle into the penalty area.
The striker picked out the run of Clark, who took one touch beyond the Sky Blue shirt in front of him before slamming beyond Wilson with his left foot.
Lovely goal, and just reward.
21 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 0
An update on Tom Lockyer: He was conscious when has taken off the pitch and is being attended to in the medical room at the Wembley where both of his parents are. The exact nature of his problem is unknown.
19 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 0
Luton are certainly the better team so far, pinning back Coventry in their own half and looking the more confident and progressive team.
Another good chance for Morris! Coventry cough the ball up at the edge of their own box, and Luton deliver into Morris but he could not keep his volley down with the ball bouncing.
It did take a deflection, so Luton have a corner, but Coventry clear.
16 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 0
Another nervous piece of defending in the early stages of this match, McFadzean very fortunate to get away with allowing a long ball to bounce behind him in his penalty area. Morris tried to shoot on the swivel, but did not catch it cleanly and the effort dribbled wide of the post. Luton keep the pressure on, but Coventry goalkeeper Wilson does well to claim a corner.
12 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 0
Lockyer is still being attended to by medical staff, this looks a serious injury or problem. His Luton team-mates do not look overly distressed, but Lockyer is being stretchered off.
That is a major blow to Lockyer and Luton. Reece Burke replaces him. After a stoppage of four minutes or so, the game restarts.
Coventry chip the free-kick into the box, and Luton’s Adebayo concedes a needless corner with no Coventry player around him. He needed a shout, there.
9 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 0
Hamer does well to hold the ball under pressure for Coventry and win a foul from Nakamba. Coventry are yet to string many passes together in the Luton half.
Luton have an injury worry to contend with here, with Lockyer down on the turf, their key central defender. Burke is warming up on the touchline and is ready to replace him.
Not entirely sure what Lockyer’s problem is. There have been no replays. There was no obvious contact or challenge from a Coventry player.
6 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 0
Luton thought they had the game’s opening goal from the corner after Osho turned Lockyer’s initial header towards goal, and it looked to creep over the line. But the flag was raised, correctly it turns out, for offside against Osho, who got the better of on-loan Arsenal man Norton-Cuffy.
4 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 0
The flag goes up for offside against Luton attacker Norris. Both teams using a back-three system that packs the central areas of the pitch with bodies.
Luton doing a good job of winning the second balls so far, they are looking sharp in the challenge. They win the game’s first corner and send up their three central defenders.
2 minutes: Coventry 0 Luton Town 0
Despite the warm temperatures, Luton do try and impose their energetic, pressing style from the off. Now music has died down, both sets of supporters are contributing to a superb atmosphere.
McNally does well for Coventry to carry the ball out of defence and establish their first period of possession.
Luton get us started and quickly look to gain territory with a long ball forward. They are attacking the half of Wembley that is in shadow in the first half.
The two teams are on their way out
The split between sky blue and (mostly) orange is an aesthetically pleasing contrast, and the Wembley DJ is making sure the volume never drops below deafening. Coventry fans definitely out-numbering Luton’s contingent.
Luton are unbeaten in their last nine meetings against Coventry. Not that past results will make their fans any less nervous.
Mark Robins on the threat posed by Luton (and interestingly mentions the weather)
I think it’s going to be a tight game. We lost heavily to them at Kenilworth road last season but drew both games last season which was a step forward.
They have a lot of physicality, well coached. I think this weather is going to dictate things, they are a pressing side but they can also drop away and have a number of different ways of doing things.
Rob Edwards on Luton’s rise
Bringing the club back from the brink, Gary [Sweet] and the board deserve so much credit.
Then Mick Harford and the role he’s played, the recruitment team, the various managers – John Still, Nathan and others.
It’s down to so many people’s hard work and the fans too. They deserve it. They’ve been incredible.
30 minutes until kick-off, fans heading for the turnstiles now
A must-read for Luton fans
Jeremy Wilson sat down with former Luton manager David Pleat in this exclusive interview. On the agenda was that famous jig, comparisons between Luton sides past and present and what the Premier League would make of Kenilworth Road.
Visitors don’t like going there, up those windy streets on the team bus. They will have a massive problem if they get in the Premier League. All the clubs have at least two buses to take all the staff and people they say that they need.
Not a Just Stop Oil protest….
Just some very excitable Luton fans letting off an orange flare outside Wembley.
Coventry team and subs: Kasey Palmer fit enough for a place on the bench
Luton team and subs
Coventry players on the pitch taking it all in
Just three years ago Coventry were playing at another club’s stadium
Coventry returned to the second tier in 2020 — while ground-sharing with Birmingham City 22 miles away — and even had to play home games elsewhere at the start of this season because its field was deemed unplayable as a result of the Commonwealth Games’ Rugby Sevens tournament that had just taken place.
In October, Coventry was in last place in the Championship but recovered to finish the regular season in fifth place and reach Wembley by overcoming Middlesbrough over two legs.
Our man at Wembley
Mark Robins the manager
Former Coventry captain Michael Doyle spoke to the Press Association about Mark Robins’ restrained managerial style.
Doyle said: “The club is in good hands with four more years of him there. He is a god to the people of Coventry.
“Like any manager, pressure does come with the job and when he’s p—–d off at you, you’re going to know about it. He’s not rolling into the training ground jovial.
“But at the same time, when you win a game, he’s not jumping to the ceiling like Larry the Lunatic.”
Does not get much better than walking up Wembley Way as a fan
It’s actually called Olympic Way, but that is never going to stick.
One of the more romantic play-off finals in a many a year
Just five years ago, Luton Town vs Coventry City was a League Two fixture but today the two clubs meet at Wembley with a place in the Premier League and approximately £170 million at stake.
The presence of either team in the top flight would be a refreshing change from the interchangeable cast of yo-yo clubs who seem to occupy the promotion places. Coventry’s relegation from the Premier League in 2001 put an end to 34 consecutive seasons in the top division, before bad ownership and financial strife saw them sink to the fourth tier. Luton Town spent four seasons in the Conference between 2009 and 2014, following a highly contentious 30-point deduction imposed on them by the Football Association. Nine years on, Luton finished third in the Championship and are now one win away from a first top flight season since 1991-92.
Rob Edwards’ Luton finished 10 points clear of Coventry in the regular season so are considered favourites, even if both head-to-head games finished as a draw. Both teams averaged less than 50 per cent possession this season, with Luton’s game defined by a high-tempo, pressing style and Mark Robins’ Coventry tending to drop off and defend in shape before counter-attacking. That could mean for quite a bitty contest with lots of turnovers. Luton and Coventry’s goal, shot and expected goal output is relatively modest, so it is shaping up to be a low-scoring final.
Gustavo Hamer has trained with the Coventry squad this week and appears likely to be fit, while Luton have no fresh injury concerns. Much of the coverage of Luton has focused on their 10,000-capacity home Kenilworth Road.
“We get the chants from away fans, Luton’s a s—hole, all of that. They sing about tin huts and cowsheds,” said Kevin Harper, of the Luton Town Supporters Trust. “There’s no getting away from it: they’re absolutely right. But there’s something enchanting about this place. Come, experience it, it’s different, you’ll never forget Kenilworth Road.”
Full team news on the way shortly.
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