Luton Town 1-0 Nottingham Forest: Kal Naismith penalty gives Hatters victory

Kal Naismith’s goal was his third of the season

Kal Naismith’s penalty gave Luton Town a priceless victory over play-off rivals Nottingham Forest at Kenilworth Road.

Naismith scored from the spot eight minutes before half-time after a handball by Jack Colback, as the Forest midfielder tried to block a cross from James Bree near the right-hand edge of the area.

The result means leaders Fulham will seal promotion back to the Premier League if they win at relegation-threatened Derby later on Friday.

Victory lifted Luton, who played the final 13 minutes with 10 men after defending Sonny Bradley was sent off, a point above Forest, having played two games more.

Hatters captain Bradley was shown a second yellow card after fouling Sam Surridge.

Philip Zinckernagel almost scored a brilliant late equalizer when he fired against the post after cleverly evading two challenges.

Forest also completed the match with 10 men after on-loan Aston Villa striker Keinan Davis limped off a couple of minutes before the end, with the visitors having used all three of their substitutes.

The East Midlands side, who had won their previous five Championship games in a 10-game unbeaten league run, were denied an equalizer early in the second half when Djed Spence had a goal disallowed for offside after racing down the right and firing past keeper James Shea.

However, Fred Onyadinma touched the ball while trying to prevent it from reaching Spence, who was therefore onside.

There was some controversy about Bradley’s dismissal too, as contact with the ball by Zinckernagel meant Surridge was in an offside position before being brought down.

Forest will also rue missed chances to level, the best of which fell to Zinckernagel, who headed Brennan Johnson’s cross straight at Shea soon after coming on as a substitute.

Luton boss Nathan Jones:

“It was a magnificent performance. First half I thought we were outstanding – really, really good. (Then) we had to dig in, defend our box well and we did.

“Sheasy (James Shea) made a good save, they hit the post. Apart from that, I can’t remember another chance.

“I thought tactically we were superb. Two of the outstanding young individuals in the league this year have been Brennan Johnson and Djed Spence and we went with Amari’i Bell and (Fred) Onyedinma against them.

“I felt they were exceptional today, so tactically I thought we were brilliant. We went up against a top, top side and managed to get the win.”

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper told BBC Radio Nottingham:

“The Djed Spence (disallowed) goal is a huge error by the linesman. The left-back (Onyadinma) has played Djed in. That’s cost us.

“I don’t think a (refereeing) mistake like that should happen at this level. It’s had such an impact on the game. Everyone saw it.

“In saying that, we missed a load of good chances as well. We’ve created more than enough chances in the second half to have got at least one point.

“There’s no doubt that the best team lost, but sometimes it goes that way. But we were going to lose a game at some stage, even if we didn’t really deserve to lose. Now we have to show that we can handle that .”



Formation 3-1-4-2

  • oneSheaBooked at 69mins
  • 16BurkeBooked at 63mins
  • 5BradleyBooked at 77mins
  • 29Bell
  • 4NaismithBooked at 49mins
  • twoBree
  • 22CampbellBooked at 63mins
  • 12snodgrassSubstituted forKiosoat 82′minutes
  • 24OnyedinmaBooked at 56mins
  • 7CornickSubstituted forHyltonat 65′minutes
  • elevenadebayoBooked at 90minsSubstituted forlockerat 90+3′minutes


  • 3Potts
  • 9Hylton
  • fifteenlocker
  • twentyKioso
  • twenty-oneyou have
  • 26Muskwe
  • 28Thorpe

Nottm Forest

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 30Samba
  • 4WorrallBooked at 74mins
  • 3FigueiredoBooked at 90mins
  • 26mckennaSubstituted forzinckernagelat 66′minutes
  • twoSpence
  • 22yachts
  • 37garnerBooked at 44mins
  • 8colbackSubstituted forlollyat 81′minutes
  • twentyJohnson
  • 7GrabbanSubstituted forSurridgeat 75′minutes
  • 9DavisBooked at 63minsSubstituted forat 87′minutes


  • oneHorvath
  • elevenzinckernagel
  • 14Laryea
  • 16Surridge
  • 17mighten
  • 18Ribeiro Days
  • 23lolly

James Linington



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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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