ELIJAH ADEBAYO SCORES HAT-TRICK AS LUTON TRASH BRIGHTON 4-0 TO MOVE OUT OF BOTTOM THREE

Luton scored twice inside the opening three minutes and Elijah Adebayo claimed a hat-trick in a remarkable victory over Brighton which lifted the Hatters out of the Premier League relegation zone.

Adebayo nodded the home side in front when he beat Seagulls goalkeeper Jason Steele to Carlton Morris’ knockdown with just 18 seconds on the clock.

And the hosts doubled their lead less than two minutes later, Chiedozie Ogbene beating the Brighton offside trap and knocking the ball past the onrushing Steele.

Leicester City are the only side to take a quicker 2-0 lead in a Premier League match, against Derby in April 1998.

Adebayo struck his second and Luton’s third of the game late in the first half after running on to Ross Barkley’s pass, and Jordan Clark thought he had made it 4-0 early in the second but was denied by an offside flag.

But Brighton’s reprieve was only temporary as former Walsall striker Adebayo nodded home Alfie Doughty’s corner to become the first Luton player to score a top-flight hat-trick since Lars Elstrup against Norwich in September 1990, and the first at Kenilworth Road since Mark Stein against Oxford in February 1988.

Steele denied Morris late on with a smart save at his near post, but it did little to spare Brighton’s blushes on a desperate evening for Roberto de Zerbi and his players.

The result lifts Luton above Everton and out of the bottom three, while Brighton drop to eighth.

“I feel – we feel – the best way for us to go in this league is to attack,” Hatters manager Rob Edwards told BBC Match of the Day. “We’ve done that to quite a few teams – it’s how we play.

“With a result and performance like this, a few people might take notice of it a little bit more. We’re going to keep driving the players.

“We have to keep our foot down. We can’t afford to stop because we’re not good enough to do that.”

Before the game, Luton captain Tom Lockyer was greeted by an ovation from both sets of supporters as he made his first appearance at Kenilworth Road since suffering a cardiac arrest in December’s game at Bournemouth.

Adebayo the hero as Luton roar out of traps

Edwards said before the game that his team had “evolved” since losing 4-1 at Brighton in their Premier League opener back in August, but no-one inside Kenilworth Road was expecting such a remarkable opening to the contest.

Kesh Awefada

Kesh Awefada

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