The race for automatic promotion into the English Premier League looked like a two-horse race for most of the English football League Championship campaign, but Luton Town’s road win over Sheffield United on Saturday has boosted the Hatters well into the conversation.
Ethan Horvath continued his impressive loan spell from Nottingham Forest by registering a five-save clean sheet in Luton’s 1-0 win over the second place Blades. It was Horvath’s 15th clean sheet of the season, which ranks him second among EFL Championship goalkeepers for the most this campaign.
Between Carlton Morris’ consistent goalscoring and Horvath’s stellar work between the posts, the Hatters will be a tough out for the rest of the field over the next few months.
“It’s kind of the cherry on top to get the clean sheet, but the most important thing was to get the victory and I couldn’t be prouder of how we performed today,” said Horvath postmatch in a club interview.
“It would have been nice to get the second goal, but defensively we were brilliant, winning headers, cutting out cut-backs, defending the box really good and we know that’s one of the strengths of ours and that’s something we need to keep going with. We’ve ten games to go and it’s one of our strengths, so we need to keep it consistent and keep going.”
Horvath made just one save in the first half at Bramall Lane, but was under added pressure in the second half with Sheffield United seeking a tying goal. Max Lowe was repelled by the 27-year-old before Oli McBurnie’s pair of headed attempts were also denied by Horvath.
Dan Egan’s last-gasp attempt in stoppage time was punched away by Horvath, helping seal the three points for Rob Edwards’ squad.
Luton Town has also provided one of the stingiest defensive units in the Championship this season, conceding only 34 goals through 36 matches to date, which are the third-fewest goals allowed so far. Horvath has been a big part of that defensive success and will need to continue delivering top performances if the Hatters want to reel in the Blades for the second and final automatic promotion spot.
Luton Town sits seven points back of second place and will face Bristol City and Sunderland in its final two matches of March. Horvath knows the importance of Saturday’s result in Sheffield and believes his teammates will use that as motivation to earn six additional points by the international break.
‘“Today was a massive result and I don’t think we can let it get to us on Wednesday night,” Horvath said. “We need to go out and do the same thing against Bristol and the same thing against Sunderland. Two big games coming up and yes, I think we are ready for them.”