Fulham win to deny Luton first Premier League point

football16 September 2023 18:24| © AFP
Carlos Vinicius © Getty Images

Fulham extended Luton Town's quest for a first Premier League point when Carlos Vinicius came off the bench and scored a second-half winner in a 1-0 victory at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

Fulham were far from convincing against a Luton side that had plenty of men behind the ball, but they did enough to move up to ninth in the standings. Winless Luton are rooted at the bottom with a game in hand.

"Difficult one, to be honest, we expected that 5-3-2 (formation), always behind the ball. This afternoon they did it different with 5-4-1," Silva told reporters.

"Not something that we face every single week at this level. But we had to get used to that and show respect."

After a minute's silence for former club owner Mohamed Al-Fayed, who died last month, Fulham dominated possession in the first half but the home side had little to show for it and Luton came closest to opening the scoring.

Luton's Tahith Chong was denied on a solo run and Carlton Morris volleyed just wide before Jacob Brown's header hit the post.

Amari'i Bell nearly gave Luton the lead three minutes into the second half when he got on the end of a cross from Brown but his side-footed volley did not have enough power behind it and Bernd Leno made a comfortable save.

With the home fans growing frustrated, Fulham boss Marco Silva threw on Vinicius just after the hour mark and the Brazilian forward made an instant impact when he pounced on a spill from goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski for a tap-in.

"First half, we lacked something dynamic to create chances," Silva added.

"Second half, some improvements, more dynamic and the two changes (Vinicius and Alex Iwobi) made a huge impact in the game."

Luton centre back and captain Tom Lockyer played up front in the closing stages and the 28-year-old found space for a free header in the final minute of stoppage time, but failed to find the target.

"We have had three really big chances, we have hit the woodwork with a free header, we have had a free header right at the death with Tom Lockyer and Amari'i's chance was a very big one as well," Luton boss Rob Edwards told BBC Sport.

"We did not give them many, but the one big one they took, and that is the ruthless nature of this league.

"But I have seen progression and a better performance, the lads are really with it. We fought diligently and were a real threat on the counter-attack."