Stoke City received a sucker punch on Saturday afternoon when they were pegged back in stoppage time by Luton Town .
The Potters looked set for all three points after Sam Vokes’ early goal, but the home side won a penalty in the dying embers, allowing James Collins to score the leveller from the spot.
Hatters reporter Mike Simmonds wrote…
Striker James Collins netted a stoppage time penalty as the Hatters picked up what could be a crucial point in their battle to stay up this term, drawing 1-1 against fellow relegation rivals Stoke City.
It had looked like the hosts were going to suffer a morale-sapping defeat going into the final minute before Callum McManaman went over inside the area from a challenge by James Chester and Collins held his nerve to salvage a draw.
Hatters boss Graeme Jones had made one change to his side from the 2-1 win over Brentford on Tuesday night, as the fit-again Izzy Brown replaced the injured Luke Berry.
After three wins in four and the superb midweek victory, hopes were high going into the contest, with renewed optimism sweeping around Kenilworth Road about Town’s chances of staying in the Championship.
However, opponents Stoke showed all of their vast reserves of experience, taking the sting out of the contest from the first whistle, as despite having an extra day’s recovery the Hatters just looked flat from the kick-off, devoid of any real energy.
They paid the price on nine minutes when a poor clearance was seized upon by Sam Vokes.
His thumping volley blasted against Cameron Carter-Vickers, the rebound falling to Joe Allen and with Dan Potts out of position, the midfielder found Tommy Smith whose low cross-shot was turned in by Vokes.
Keeper Simon Sluga ensured Town stayed afloat, as the hosts lost Tom Ince, and his first time drive was brilliantly diverted over by the Croatian’s outstretched leg.
With the home crowd baying for the kind of all-action display they had witnessed against Brentford, they were then forced to witness anything but, as Town produced a far more cautious approach than the occasion warranted.
They did have a moment of threat on 20 minutes, Glen Rea finally spreading play wide to the advancing Martin Cranie.
His cross was met by an acrobatic Collins volley across goal and Harry Cornick reacted quickest only to put his header too close to Jack Butland.
Time and time again the hosts were caught in possession, turning down the opportunity to pass forward, often happy just to keep the ball inside their half, as City, with Joe Allen running the midfield, defended their area with absolute ease…