MX23RW : Sunday, January 17 05:58:31| >> :120:47200:47200:
Nov 24, 2020 at 7pm UK at Kenilworth Road Stadium
LutonLuton Town
BirminghamBirmingham City
Pearson (37')
Rea (73')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Jutkiewicz (23' pen.)
Dean (48')

Karanka admits Neil Etheridge "belongs in the Premier League" after Luton draw

Karanka admits Neil Etheridge
© Reuters
Birmingham earned a 1-1 draw on the road.

Luton boss Nathan Jones felt his side should have claimed all three points during their 1-1 draw against Birmingham in the Championship.

The Hatters fell behind to Lukas Jutkiewicz's penalty midway through the first half at Kenilworth Road but equalised before half-time courtesy of Matty Pearson's close-range strike.

Despite having some wonderful chances in the second period, Luton could not beat the inspired Neil Etheridge in the Birmingham goal again.

Jones said: "Apart from one lapse and then (Simon) Sluga having to pull off a wonderful save, I thought we were totally dominant, in terms of how we moved the ball, in terms of us being brave, the chances we created.

"We should've won the game, no doubt about it, but the one thing I'm taking from it is, we are a Championship side and we're proving we're evolving week by week, and that's such a good thing for a manager. That's the positive I take from tonight.

"I'm disappointed we didn't get three points, because I felt we deserved them. If we want to do anything in this league, when we're in the ascendancy like that, we have to make sure we take it, but in terms of performance levels, I couldn't have asked for more."

After Luton had the better of the early stages, Birmingham took the lead after 23 minutes when Maxime Colin's cross was handled by Elliot Lee and Jutkiewicz scored from the spot.

Town restored parity in the 37th minute when Glen Rea headed Luke Berry's corner down for Pearson to net his first goal of the season.

After the break, Etheridge made a wonderful save to deny James Collins while also turning over substitute Jordan Clark's effort.

Collins had another attempt blocked with five to go, before Luton keeper Simon Sluga ensured the hosts left with a point, tipping Ivan Sunjic's effort over the bar in stoppage time.

Blues boss Aitor Karanka added: "When Neil signed for us, I knew how fortunate we were as he is one of the best keepers in the league.

"He belongs to the Premier League so we are really fortunate with him here and he's showing that he's one of the best.

"It's another game and it's about us. We knew that the pitch is narrow, they are really aggressive and really good on set-pieces, we conceded the goal from one corner and I knew players like Jeremie (Bela) and Ivan (Sanchez) would have problems, so we had to play with the same shape as against QPR.

"Then in the second half when they were attacking more, I had to change as I thought we needed to keep more of the ball, we kept more of the ball and we had more chances to score."


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