Harvey Barnes rescues Newcastle in eight-goal thriller against Luton



Harvey Barnes rescues Newcastle in eight-goal thriller against Luton

Once the dust settled, three things were clear. Luton grace the Premier League and deserve to stay up; Ross Barkley is a thoroughly renascent central midfielder; and games such as this are the reason why England’s top tier makes such a financial killing from overseas television rights.

By the end of an often chaotic, always compelling, afternoon, Eddie Howe’s hopes of leading Newcastle on another European adventure next season were dented, Chiedozie Ogbene had delivered a masterclass in right-wing play and Barkley was celebrating another reaffirmation of an imperious talent many thought had faded for good.

Meanwhile, Dan Burn had emphasised he is no longer the answer for Newcastle at left-back.

“It’s difficult, really difficult, to sum up my emotions,” said Howe. “There were a lot of good things from us but a lot of bad too.”

Similar sentiments were echoed by Rob Edwards. “Very mixed emotions,” said Luton’s manager, whose side led 4-2 at one point. “It was a great game and I’m proud of our performance. We were brave and could have won it at the end. But we’re not the finished article and we’re going to make mistakes. I felt sick at times, I felt elation at times but I think a point was a fair result.”

With Alexander Isak having failed a late fitness test and Callum Wilson not yet ready for a full 90 minutes, Newcastle began without a recognised central striker. It did not prevent them from taking an early lead when Lewis Miley’s gorgeous pass and Kieran Trippier’s cross prefaced a fierce first-time shot unleashed by the on-­rushing Sean Longstaff that evaded Thomas Kaminski’s grasp.

Not that Luton, buoyed up by Tuesday’s 4-0 win against Brighton, were about to surrender. The visitors had started brightly with the exciting Ogbene repeatedly dodging Burn and they swiftly equalised when Barkley’s floated free-kick was nodded back across goal, enabling Gabriel Osho to rise above all comers and head beyond Martin Dubravka.

As entertaining as Luton’s set-piece specialists undeniably were, their high defensive line was often so high risk that Newcastle sensed opportunity. Sure enough, they quickly restored their lead when Anthony Gordon accelerated beyond that backline, showing Osho a clean pair of heels.

The winger turned emergency central striker soon tested Kaminski with a shot the goalkeeper could merely parry, leaving it to bounce kindly into the advancing Longstaff’s path. Cue another impressive finish. Not to mention a very passable impersonation of Frank Lampard in his prime from a midfielder harbouring hopes of an England call-up.

Unwilling to be eclipsed, Barkley duly revelled in suggesting that life begins at 30 by not merely pulling plenty of strings from deep but scoring Luton’s second equaliser. Appropriately, he began the move that concluded with him placing a shot into an empty net after the wrong-footed Dubravka could only parry Alfie Doughty’s shot.

Until then, Elijah Adebayo, Luton’s hat-trick hero against Brighton, had cut a relatively peripheral figure but the striker’s clever decoy manoeuvre distracted the disappointing Sven Botman and co to the point where Barkley could pick his spot

Howe replaced the injured Gordon with Wilson at half-time but before he could make an impact Luton won a penalty awarded via a video assistant referee review after Burn hauled Ogbene back.

Carlton Morris stepped forward and beat Dubravka only for Bramall to order him to retake the kick that was taken too quickly. Displaying commendable poise, Morris converted again and, this time, the penalty counted.

Burn’s concession of possession then precipitated Barkley laying the ball off to Adebayo to sweep a shot into the bottom corner.


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