Luton Town’s 12-year absence from the Championship was marked with a thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Middlesbrough to kick off the 2019-20 season.
The visitors were ahead after seven minutes through Ashley Fletcher before goals from defenders Sonny Bradley and Martin Cranie gave Luton a 2-1 lead.
A howler from record signing Simon Sluga gifted Middeslbrough an equaliser before half-time.
Lewis Wing scored an excellent strike to give Middlesbrough the lead before James Collins was on hand to tap home a late equaliser for the hosts.
Here are how the players fared:
Simon Sluga 6 – Made a tremendous save minutes before a shocker gifted Britt Assombalonga a first half equaliser for Middlesbrough. Made two important saves in quick succession in the final 20 minutes. Simon Sluga looked very poor when dealing with set pieces also.
Martin Cranie 5 – Gave Luton the lead with his first goal in more than four years. Poor penalty to concede in the final 10 minutes for such an experienced player.
Matty Pearson 6 – Luton’s defence didn’t really deserve to have three goals against their name this evening as they kept Assombalonga and Fletcher quiet for most of the game.
Sonny Bradley 7 – Cracking strike to equalise for the hosts in the first half. The Luton defence largely handled the Middlesbrough defence well in open play until the final 15 minutes.
Dan Potts 6 – Didn’t get tight enough to Marcin Johnson on a few occasions. Had a shout for a penalty at 2-2 in the second half.
Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu 6 – Didn’t break up the Middlesbrough attacks very often at all and took a yellow card in the first half after easily getting beaten outside the penalty area.
Ryan Tunnicliffe 7 – A steady game in the middle of the park.
Andrew Shinnie 7 – Caused the Middlesbrough defence a few problems with his set piece delivery, which included the assist for Luton’s second.
Elliot Lee 5 – Very quiet game from the central midfielder before he was replaced for the final half hour.
James Collins 7 – On hand to tap home Luton’s late equaliser. James Collin had little else to feed on all game before missing a good opportunity at the end. Worked hard, drifting out to the left.
Callum McManaman 5 – Showed some tricks down the right wing but Callum McManaman didn’t see too many touches of the ball and his deliveries into the box were largely poor.
Jacob Butterfield (32 mins) 6 – Luton moved into a diamond formation following the introduction of debutant Jacob Butterfield. The former Derby County man was tidy in possession in front of the back four whilst most of the visitors’ attacks were down the wings.
Harry Cornick (23 mins) N/A – Luton were largely on the back foot following Harry Cornick’s introduction.
George Moncur (18 mins) N/A – The midfielder saw little of the ball after coming on.
Darren Randolph 5 – Last season’s Championship Team of the Year goalkeeper didn’t have a chance with Luton’s equaliser but showed poor positioning for their second. Made a cracking save in stoppage time.
Jonny Howson 7 – Made an important interception in front of his own goal in the final 20 minutes. Jonny Howson didn’t allow Luton to create much down the wing.
Daniel Ayala 7 – The Spanish centre-back made numerous clearances as the home side saw a lot of possession around Middlesbrough’s penalty area.
Ryan Shotton 5 – Never looked comfortable at the back in the first game of the new season.
Hayden Coulson 8 – Callum McManaman was allowed to get a number of crosses in down the wing but none of them were threatening. Looked good going forward, which included winning a penalty.
Paddy McNair 8 – Tidy in possession and saw a deflected cross hit the crossbar. Won the ball back a number of times.
Adam Clayton 6 – Largely anonymous game from Adam Clayton despite playing in central midfielder.
Lewis Wing 8 – Had a couple of sighters before scoring a cracking 20-yard curler to give Middlesbrough a 3-2 lead midway through the second half. Lewis Wing was involved in a lot of Middlesbrough attacks.
Marvin Johnson 8 – Was a great threat down the right wing, assisting Middlesbrough’s opening goal. Marvin Johnson created a couple more chances whilst testing the Luton goalkeeper a couple of times himself.
Britt Assombalonga 6 – Scored with a tame effort after Sluga spilled the ball into his own net. Britt Assombalonga barely had another touch of the ball all game. Skied a penalty in the final 10 minutes.
Ashley Fletcher 7 – Dragged an early effort wide before flicking in a Marvin Johnson cross to score the first goal of the 2019-20 EFL season. The former Manchester United youngster only came alive in the final 15 minutes afterwards.
Marcus Browne (22 mins) N/A – Replaced Marvin Johnson down the right wing but didn’t make any impact.
George Saville (5 mins) N/A – Late replacement for Paddy McNair straight after Luton had equalised.