Peterborough United 2 Luton Town 2

Last updated : 03 January 2005 By Footymad Previewer
Top scorer Steve Howard spared Luton's blushes with a last-gasp leveller in a thrilling derby encounter.

The giant Hatters frontman rose to head his 17th goal of the campaign five minutes from time to ensure the League One high-flyers escaped from relegation-haunted Peterborough with a point.

Howard ghosted into the box to plant Paul Underwood's precise left-wing centre past keeper Mark Tyler after Calum Willock appeared to breath new life into the home side's battle against the drop.

Willock produced a nine-minute double-salvo to change the course of the game before Howard had the last say.

Willock cancelled out Luton skipper Kevin Nicholls' 53rd minute free-kick opener with a powerful point-blank header.

And the former Fulham man wasn't done there, stooping to meet a trademark Andy Legg long throw to put the struggling hosts on top eight minutes from time.

But they couldn't hold on to their advantage under a late Luton onslaught.

By then Nicholls' opener was a distant memory. Posh defender Chris Plummer was found guilty of handball and his side were made to pay as Nicholls fired his sixth goal of the campaign by curling a fine free-kick past Tyler.

And where one captain succeeded, another failed as Posh loan ace Guy Branston spurned a great chance to level.

The Luton defence was left in disarray after failing to deal with a Legg long throw, but Branston could only steer a flick from fellow defender Craig Ireland over the bar from close range.

But Willock recovered from missing a golden chance of his own to latch onto a flick from strike partner Richard Logan and head past Marlon Beresford in the 73rd minute.

And on 82 minutes he was at it again, stooping to divert another Legg long throw past the motionless Beresford.

But Howard had the final say in a pulsating fixture to ensure Luton left happy, despite losing top spot to promotion rivals Hull.