Top Hatters humble Palace
By Tom Adams. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Luton announced their arrival in The Championship in sensational fashion as they defeated last season's Premiership participants Crystal Palace 2-1 at Selhurst Park.
Mike Newell's side continued where they left off after claiming the League One title last term as last season's top goalscorer Steve Howard opened the scoring after Hatters skipper Kevin Nicholls missed a penalty.
Palace hit back through their own prime marksman Andy Johnson although Luton showed impressive resolve to fight back and take the three points thanks to Ahmet Brkovic.
Nicholls spurned the chance to put the visiting support in dreamland early on as his weak penalty was gathered easily by Gabor Kiraly after Steve Robinson had been hauled back in the box.
Northern Ireland international Wayne Feeney then had two great chances against a lacklustre Palace, although he drove wide before former Hatter, Emmerson Boyce, denied him with a last-gasp tackle.
However, it was last season's top scorer Howard, who again proved to have the killer touch, as he found himself completely unmarked from a Nicholls free kick to head home past Kiraly as the Palace defence moved out in a futile anticipation of offside.
Palace predictably upped the ante after the break and found their inspiration through England international Johnson as he began to impose himself on the game.
The striker, who recently signed an extended contract, forced Dean Brill to make an impressive save before latching onto a Mark Hudson knockdown to head in from close range on 52 minutes.
Jobi McAnuff then blasted over before Howard wasted a brilliant chance by heading straight at Kiraly when again unmarked.
Luton were not to be denied, though, as they opened their Championship campaign with an impressive performance and victory, as Croatian winger Brkovic bundled the ball home after Nicholls again supplied the ammunition with a whipped free kick.
Click below for individual match summary:
Crystal Palace 1-2 Luton