Hull holed as Brkovic strikes at the death

Luton Town 1 - Hull City 0

A breathless last-gasp winner from Ahmet Brkovic helped Luton Town secure three vital points in this tense top-of-the-table clash with their promotion rivals Hull City as the League leaders shed the lethargy of recent weeks to put a foot in the door to the Championship.

A breathless last-gasp winner from Ahmet Brkovic helped Luton Town secure three vital points in this tense top-of-the-table clash with their promotion rivals Hull City as the League leaders shed the lethargy of recent weeks to put a foot in the door to the Championship.

With the game seemingly destined to end in stalemate, Brkovic, Luton's free-scoring Croatian midfielder, rose to head the winner with seconds to spare, sending Kenilworth Road into delirium at the prospect of a long-awaited return to the second tier of English football.

"We are delighted," said the Luton manager, Mike Newell. "Over the 90 minutes I think that it was deserved. The first-half performance was as good as we have played for weeks. They were a little dangerous on the break at times in the second half but you could not fault any of our players. But we are not getting carried away and realise it is just three points."

The two sides may lead the division, but with just two wins between them this year, all the pre-match signs suggested they were in danger of faltering under the pressure of expectation

With the title up for grabs, both were keen to rediscover some consistency and a scrappy and tight first half underlined the importance of the fixture.

The diminutive Brkovic put a header wide of the target after 14 minutes with Enoch Showunmi and Steve Robinson continuing to test Hull's resilience as Newell's men attacked in swift surges.

With Hull missing their 23-goal leading scorer Stuart Elliott through injury, their attack posed no real threat and lacked any conviction against a Luton side themselves missing their own leading marksman, Steve Howard, through suspension.

Hull never looked like displaying the attacking prowess that earned them a 3-0 win over Luton at the KC Stadium in October, but a timely clearance from the Luton defender Alan Nielsen was needed on 70 minutes after Delroy Facey had slashed a dangerous looking pass across the face of Marlon Beresford's goal. At the other end, and with the clock ticking away, the home side continued to spurn chances.

But in a pulsating finale, Luton made the breakthrough that had long been on the cards when Robinson, a fount of ideas all afternoon, crossed for Brkovic to head powerfully past Boaz Myhill.

The Hull manager Peter Taylor said: "Luton were the better team in the first half but I thought we were terrific in the second half. I think that we were unfortunate to lose the game."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

‘We knew he was something special’

Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York