Luton won for the second time in the Premier League this season as substitute Jacob Brown’s dramatic late goal earned a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Kenilworth Road.
A stolid match burst suddenly to life 18 minutes from time when defender Teden Mengi blasted Rob Edwards’ side into the lead from a corner, just reward for the pressure they had put Palace under in the second half.
Michael Oliseh levelled within seconds for the visitors, a brilliant goal that deserved more than to be in a losing cause.
But Luton, buoyed by the 10-point deduction handed to Everton this week, roared back, sealing a first top-flight home win in more than 30 years when Brown nipped between defender and goalkeeper seven minutes from time to nick it.
The hosts dominated the ball in the opening 20 minutes but with little clear idea of how to hurt Palace.
The visitors by contrast were superior in possession and almost made it count after 23 minutes.
Eberechi Eze blasted low from range and brought a diving save from Thomas Kaminski, with the goalkeeper up quickly to deny Jeffrey Schlupp on the rebound with a superb block.
Amari’i Bell thumped a speculative drive from all of 40 yards that Sam Johnstone took the sting out of well with two solid palms.
It encapsulated Luton’s approach in the first period as they found the route to goal, both out wide and centrally, barred by an organised Palace rearguard.
Tom Lockyer tripped Eze 20 yards out to give Palace a final shot at breaking the deadlock before half-time, but the forward’s free-kick lacked the power to beat Kaminski who saved comfortably.
It was the kind of tame, ponderous effort that a languid first half had deserved.
Cheick Doucoure left the field on a stretcher shortly after half-time, having gone down off the ball. It seemed to unsettle Palace and Luton were quickly on top, Chiedozie Ogbene coming to life down the left with a series of driving runs.
Odsonne Edouard put the ball in the net with a cool finish on the rebound after Lockyer blocked his initial shot, but VAR intervened, ruling the striker had handled the ball as it clipped up off the Luton skipper.
A goal at that stage for Palace would have been completely against the run of play.
When Luton’s goal arrived minutes later, it was utterly deserved.
Alfie Doughty’s corner was floated over left-footed and arrived in a cluster of bodies eight yards out. As heads flew towards the ball, Mengi peeled away in anticipation at the far post and, as it dropped at his feet, he showed consummate cool to take a touch and drive it low across goal into the corner.
There was barely time to assess what three points might do for Luton’s survival hopes before Palace equalised, Oliseh showing why the club strived so hard to keep him in the summer with a sublime solo goal, stepping in off the left and bending a cool, arching finish high past Kaminski.
But Luton were not done and it was Palace’s tormentor Ogbene who made the goal that would win it.
His cross from the right pitched awkwardly inside the box but should nevertheless have been a simple mop-up job for Joachim Andersen.
Instead, the defender allowed the ball to run across him and there darting between him and the goalkeeper was Brown, lunging in to prod Luton back in front.
Andersen had the chance to make amends when he shot low towards Kaminski’s near post, the keeper turning it behind well with a strong right foot, before Jefferson Lerma hit a post in stoppage time.
But Luton held on to put life into their survival bid.