If ever you need an example that football is never over until it’s over, just watch this game.
For so much of this 90 minutes and beyond, it looked as though Blackburn Rovers were set for three more points to start this season, only for the latest of goals to earn Luton a dramatic draw after a spirited fightback that put just about anyone watching it, well and truly through the ringer.
Initially, it was a quiet resumption to proceedings for both these sides following the first international break of the season for both these sides. Tyrhys Dolan showed some quick feet to beat his man on a couple of occasions down the Blackburn right but was unable to fashion anything resembling a chance.
Up the other, Harry Cornick’s near post header narrowly off-target from a James Bree cross was the closest either side had to a sight of goal in the opening 15 minutes, while Blackburn captain Darragh Lenihan was lucky not to see red for a late challenge on Allan Campbell that Luton boss Nathan Jones would later reveal has left the midfielder with damaged ankle ligaments.
But after an opening half-hour in which chances had been at a premium, Rovers suddenly sparked into life with a blistering spell that saw them take control of the game in a matter of minutes.
First, some good build up play saw John Buckley feed Ryan Nyambe down the right, with the full-back producing a perfectly timed run to allow him to pull the ball back for Dolan to fire home from inside the area for his first in the league this season just before the half-hour mark.
Moments later, and it Rovers made it two. Ben Brereton-Diaz, cleared to play following this morning’s resolution to the club vs country row that has dominated the international, showed just why Rovers had been so keen to keep him available, by playing a pinpoint through ball into Harry Pickering. From there, the left-back whose January move from Crewe only came into effect in the summer, applied an excellent finish, firing across Simon Sluga in the Luton goal and into the bottom corner to get off the mark in Rovers colours.
Luton would respond well to going behind with a spell of pressure, but failed to really test Kaminski in the Blackburn goal, with two speculative long-range efforts from Gabriel Osho the only real efforts of note for the visitors as the half wore on.
Indeed, the Hatters were perhaps lucky not to be further behind, with an excellent block from Reece Burke preventing Brereton-Diaz from getting in on the act after some excellent work on the break from Dolan and Joe Rothwell for Rovers.
It was a similar story after the break, with chances continuing to be few and far between, while tempers began to fray, sparked by a coming together between Brereton-Diaz and Sluga when the Blackburn attempted to delay Luton’s re-start after Dolan had been booked for diving in the visitor’s penalty area.
With that apparent ill-feeling quickly starting to resonate throughout both sides, the tackles began to fly in and tempers started to flare as referee Oliver Langford failed to keep control of the game.
Even so, it would be Blackburn who had the best chance during the opening exchanges of the second half, as Brereton-Diaz hit the post from close range after Nyambe and Dolan combined to set the attacker up from a quick free kick.
Luton though, were not done searching for a route back into the game, and almost had one midway through the second half, only for Cameron Jerome to fire straight at the legs of Kaminski when through one on one on the counter.
Moments later though Luton would get their goal back. Some good work from Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu allowed him to get away from the Blackburn defence, with the midfielder’s cross into the box then turned in at close range by substitute Luke Berry to halve the deficit.
But having hung on for so long, and having squandered a glorious stoppage time double chance to get their third – when Osho cleared Gallagher’s effort on the rebound off the line, after Brereton-Diaz had seen an initial one on one effort saved – by Sluga, Rovers would be hit by the most agonising of late sucker punches.
In the ninth minute of five added on following a bout of cramp that forced a change of referee to drag that additional period on, Berry arrived almost on the goalline to scramble in virtually the last kick of the game and claim a point for the visitors, to give an bizarre game, an almost unbelievable finish.