Five years ago, Luton Town and Coventry City played against each other in the fourth tier of English football. On 27 May, they will play at Wembley Stadium with the winner set to join the Premier League.
It’s a remarkable story of two small football clubs that for years have wallowed in the lower realms of the football pyramid.
We’ll get into the matchup between these two squads later, but for now let’s take a quick look at the second leg of the Championship semifinals.
Luton 2-0 Sunderland (3-2 on aggregate)
The Hatters absolutely dominated Sunderland in the reverse leg of this fixture. The fans at Kenilworth turned up and Rob Edwards’ side showcased their physicality on a smaller pitch that the Black Cats simply could not cope with.
That dominance was most apparent on set pieces, which resulted in both of Luton’s goals. The first came off a corner in the 10th minute, with Gary Osho finding the ball at his feet right in front of Sunderland’s keeper.
The second came off a corner as well. After Sunderland had initially cleared the ball it made its way back to Alfie Doughty, whose cross was met with a flying header from Tom Lockyer in the 43rd minute.
It was Luton’s intensity that wasn’t matched by Sunderland, who found themselves unable to rekindle that attacking threat they imposed in the first leg. For Luton it was a remarkable turn of events in the tie, and for a club that was in the National League a decade ago.
Middlesbrough 0-1 Coventry (0-1 on aggregate)
“Cagey” is the most appropriate word to describe this fixture, and the only thing separating these two sides was a midfield error from Boro.
Gustavo Hamer showed excellent composure in the 57th minute after the Sky Blues won back the ball, navigating around a couple Boro defenders before coolly striking it into the back of the net.
Mark Robins’ side played very rough on Wednesday, and Boro really didn’t have that many chances against Coventry. It was a very astute defensive performance from the Sky Blues. Viktor Gyokeres didn’t land on the scoresheet, but he caused all sorts of problems for Boro.
Chuba Akpom and Ryan Giles, meanwhile, struggled for the Wearside club.
If “cagey” is the best word to describe this tie, then “remarkable” is the best word to describe how both Coventry and Luton got here. Robins has done remarkable work for Coventry and was rightfully awarded a four-year contract.
Fitzie’s track of the day: Dune, by Kikagaku Moyo
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