Elijah Adebayo scored a hat-trick and Luton scored twice in the first three minutes of play to lead the Hatters to an incredible victory over Brighton and out of the Premier League relegation zone.
With barely eighteen seconds remaining, Adebayo beat Seagulls custodian Jason Steele to a knockdown by Carlton Morris, giving the home team the lead.
Less than two minutes later, Chiedozie Ogbene broke through Brighton’s offside trap and put the ball past Steele, who was charging in. This gave the hosts a double advantage.
When Leicester City defeated Derby in April 1998, they became the only team in Premier League history to take a 2-0 lead more quickly.
Late in the first half, Adebayo scored his second goal of the match and Luton’s third after latching onto a ball from Ross Barkley. Early in the second half, Jordan Clark appeared to have made it 4-0, but an offside call kept him out of the game.
The respite for Brighton, however, was short-lived as former Walsall striker Adebayo became the first Luton player to score a top-flight hat-trick since Lars Elstrup against Norwich in September 1990, and the first at Kenilworth Road since Mark Stein against Oxford in February 1988, by nodding home Alfie Doughty’s corner.
Late in the game, Steele made a great stop at his near post to deny Morris, but it wasn’t enough to save Brighton’s blushes on a difficult night for Roberto de Zerbi and his team.
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As a result, Brighton falls to eighth place while Luton moves up above Everton and out of the bottom three.
“We believe that attacking is the best strategy for us to succeed in this league,” Hatters manager Rob Edwards stated. “That’s how we play; we’ve done that to a lot of teams.
“With a result and performance like this, it might catch the attention of a few more individuals. We will continue to push the players.
“We must continue to press the issue. We are too good to give up now, thus we cannot afford to.”
Prior to the match, both sets of fans gave Luton captain Tom Lockyer a standing ovation. This was Lockyer’s first visit to Kenilworth Road since he had a heart collapse during the team’s game against Bournemouth in December.