Adebayo hat-trick lifts Luton out of relegation zone.

Elijah Adebayo hit his first career hat-trick as Luton Town thumped Brighton & Hove Albion 4-0 to move out of the relegation zone.

Two goals in the opening three minutes from Adebayo and Chiedozie Ogbene set the Hatters on their way to their biggest Premier League win.

Indeed, this is the first time they have won a match by more than one goal in the competition.

The Luton crowd got a big lift before kick-off as club captain Tom Lockyer returned to Kenilworth Road, six weeks after suffering a cardiac arrest during December’s abandoned match against AFC Bournemouth.

The skipper walked around the pitch and applauded the fans for the support they have given him in his recovery, while also geeing up the crowd.

His presence seemed to have an immediate impact as Luton got off to an incredible start, with Adebayo scoring after just 18 seconds. Ogbene crossed the ball to Carlton Morris at the back post and the forward nodded it back towards Adebayo to flick past Jason Steele.

Ogbene then doubled the lead in the third minute after poor goalkeeping from Steele. Albert Sambi Lokonga played Ogbene in behind the Brighton defence with a lofted pass, and the winger poked the ball around the goalkeeper before tapping into an empty net.

The Hatters made it 3-0 just before the break as Adebayo scored his second of the match. Ross Barkley played a great pass to the striker, who finished past Steele at the near post with ease.

Luton’s Jordan Clark had a goal ruled out for offside early in the second half, but the hosts made it 4-0 anyway in the 56th minute as Adebayo completed his hat-trick with a header from close range from Alfie Doughty’s corner.

The win takes Luton out of the relegation zone into 17th place with 19 points, above Everton, who drew 0-0 at Fulham. Brighton drop to eighth with 32 points.

Luton Town went 2-0 ahead against Brighton after two minutes and 17 seconds; only Leicester City against Derby County in April 1998 have been two goals ahead earlier in a Premier League game (opening two minutes).

Elijah Adebayo was the first Luton player to score a top-flight hat-trick since Lars Elstrup against Norwich City in September 1990, and the first to do so at Kenilworth Road since Mark Stein against Oxford United in February 1988.

Brighton are without a win in their last five Premier League away games (D2 L3), their longest such run in the competition since December 2021 under Graham Potter (7 games – D6 L1). Indeed, this was their joint-second largest away defeat in the competition, after losing 6-1 to Aston Villa in September this season.

Luton Town’s 4-0 win over Brighton is their biggest in the top-flight since beating Southampton 6-1 in January 1989.

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