Bundesliga

Rob Edwards in tears as Luton are all but relegated from Premier League

Rob Edwards in tears as Luton are all but relegated from Premier League

Luton will be joining Sheffield United and Burnley back in the Championship next season – Getty Images/Richard Pelham

Luton’s Premier League relegation is all but confirmed. Defeat by West Ham this afternoon means that Rob Edwards’ team will finish in the bottom three of the Premier League, barring Nottingham Forest losing to Chelsea by a double-digit scoreline in the 5.30pm kick-off.

With Burnley’s demotion confirmed this afternoon – thanks to defeat by Tottenham Hotspur – and Sheffield United already condemned to the drop, the relegation battle looks certain to be sewn up with one game of the season remaining.

Playing away at the London Stadium, Luton scored first through Albert Sambi Lokonga and were leading into half-time. A second-half blitz from the hosts put paid to their slim hopes of Premier League survival, though. James Ward-Prowse and Tomas Soucek scored within 10 minutes and a third goal, from George Earthy, put the nail in Luton’s coffin.

Edwards and some of his players were in tears, seemingly resigned to an immediate return to the Championship, as they applauded the travelling support after the final whistle.

Edwards was overcome with emotion at the final whistle – Getty Images/Richard Pelham

Meanwhile for David Moyes Saturday was a farewell to the London Stadium. After months of speculation, and following just four wins from 21 matches since the turn of the year, West Ham finally announced Moyes was leaving on Monday after four-and-a-half years in charge.

Julen Lopetegui is set to usher in a new era in east London, but Saturday gave West Ham fans, even those fed up with Moyes and his perceived defensive tactics, the chance to thank the Scot for his second spell in charge, the successive top-seven finishes, the three seasons in Europe and, of course, that night in Prague last summer.

However, in contrast to that Europa Conference League-winning outfit, the first half was 2024 West Ham in a nutshell – lethargic, sloppy, lacking ideas and defensively suspect.

Just five minutes had elapsed when Alfie Doughty lifted a cross into the area and Lokonga dived in ahead of Angelo Ogbonna to head home from six yards out.

Luton, still scrapping for their lives despite being beset by injuries all season, suddenly had a glimmer of hope in the battle to beat the drop.

Meanwhile, a few boos accompanied Moyes and his players as they headed down the tunnel at half-time.

For Moyes, this was a last game at the London Stadium – CameraSport/Rob Newell

However, the fans’ mood changed eight minutes into the second half when Jarrod Bowen scurried down the right and his cross-shot was half-cleared by the boot of Thomas Kaminski.

The ball fell to Ward-Prowse, who lashed it low and hard past the grounded Hatters goalkeeper from 14 yards out.

Bowen almost put the hosts ahead when he intercepted Gabriel Osho’s headed back pass but could only flick the ball into Kaminski’s arms.

Kaminski then kept out two goalbound headers from Michail Antonio in quick succession, with Bowen firing the rebound from the second inches wide.

A West Ham goal was coming and Soucek pounced in the 65th minute after Lokonga had headed away Ward-Prowse’s cross.

Then came a sweet moment for Earthy, on as a substitute a month after his debut lasted just two minutes before he was knocked out cold and taken to hospital.

The 19-year-old will certainly remember his second appearance, scoring a first senior goal a minute after coming on to offer hope for the future as West Ham said a fond farewell to the past.

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