The title to this match report is a question I still don't know the answer to, and probably won’t know the answer to until circa 5pm on Monday May 8. What I do know is that with results going the way they did tonight - QPR picking up a point and Cardiff City winning away at Watford - a win would’ve calmed a lot more nerves than the solitary point has.
It was always going to be a very tough game. To me anyway, Luton have very much gone under the radar this season. But they’ve managed to bounce back from play-off heartbreak last year and create another really competitive team who are essentially a really solid Championship outfit.
Not only that, their last loss came the week before our last win. And as you know, we haven’t won in quite a while. So the possibility of getting a result tonight was always slim.
Luton were by far the better team in the first half, despite a positive opening 10 minutes or so from ourselves. Within two minutes Andy Carroll had spurned a glorious opportunity over the bar from eight yards - and that wouldn’t even end up being the worst thing he did tonight.
Luton grew into the game more and more as the game went on and started to pile on the pressure. Were it not for the width of the post, the body of Naby Sarr or Luton putting a couple of good chances straight down the throat of Joe Lumley, it could’ve been game over by half-time. But we stayed in the game and managed to crawl ourselves into the break at 0-0.
And then came the chaotic 10 minutes that summed up our season and could well define the rest of it. Carroll towered home a header from a wicked Femi Azeez corner to put us 1-0 up, a goal very much against the run of play.
And then, five minutes later, it was deja vu. Azeez whipped in another lovely corner, and there was Carroll to head hom... oh, no. He only went and used his hand didn't he.
The ref didn't see it at first, but you can just tell when a) the scoring team don’t really celebrate that much and b) every single player from the defending team run up to the ref appealing for handball that something is awry.
I’m not going to sit here and say that we would’ve definitely won the game had it been 11 v 11 for 90 minutes. There is every likelihood we could’ve lost it. But that doesn’t excuse Carroll.
I haven’t seen any replays yet, so it may well be a case of he’s genuinely just mistimed his header and it’s bounced off his arm and gone in. But, if he has purposely led with his arm, it’s almost unforgivable.
I would understand it if it were the 90th minute and we were losing 1-0. But we’d just scored, the fans were up for it, the atmosphere was great - he just didn’t need to do it. From someone who’s supposed to be a leader of the group and one of the senior pros as well, it's brainless really.
From then on it was the uphill battle of all uphill battles. However, the players dug really deep. Yes, we ended up conceding. But it’s clear as day that the players that were out on the pitch left everything out there. They threw themselves in front of shots, managed the game really well and, as all teams need to do once in a while, rode their luck a few times.
On another day, they end up seeing out a crucial three points. But it wasn't to be. A point is better than none, and you probably would’ve taken it at the start of the night. However, at the end of the night, having seen our relegation rivals also pick up points, I’m still not sure whether I think it’s a point gained or two lost.
What I do know is that draws are not going to be enough to stay in this league. We need a win sooner or later, and next up is another promotion-chasing team in Coventry City. *Audibly gulps*.