Luton Town are headed to the Premier League for the first time in the club’s history after the team, along with U.S. goalkeeper Ethan Horvath, defeated Coventry City 1-1 (6-5 on penalties) in the EFL Championship Play-offs final on Saturday.
Luton have done the unthinkable and have been promoted from Non-League football (outside the top four tiers) to the Premier League. Luton last played in the first division of England back in 1992 before it was rebranded as the Premier League.
Here was the moment that Coventry’s Fankaty Dabo skied his penalty over the bar and confirmed Luton’s place in the Premier League next season.
"LUTON TOWN WILL BE A PREMIER LEAGUE CLUB NEXT SEASON!"The moment the club secured promotion at Wembley pic.twitter.com/IIn6AK8eQb
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 27, 2023
Horvath finished the game with two saves and had several nervy moments. In the second half he had two close calls minutes apart. In the 48th minute he tried passing it out of the back and was closed down by one of Coventry’s players who got a foot on the ball, but it went out for a goal kick.
In the 50th minute there was a miscommunication with Horvath and his defender as to who would get the ball. The American keeper slid at the edge of his box to clear it with his feet and the ball deflected off his own defender causing a scare for the thousands of Luton fans inside Wembley Stadium.
There wasn’t too much Horvath could do about the goal he conceded in the 66th minute. Gustavo Hamer’s shot took a slight deflection off a Luton defender and Horvath couldn’t reach it.
— Follow : @FootColic for all goals (@ColicF85293) May 27, 2023
The goalkeeper from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, (ironically the same place as the person writing this is from) showed his grit in extra time. When sending the ball forward during the first half of the extra 30 minutes Horvath went down grabbing his hamstring and needed some attention. He toughed it out and stayed in the game for the penalty shootout.
Here’s a quick recap of each penalty he faced.
Ethan Horvath penalty shootout vs. Coventry City
- Penalty 1: Horvath dives incorrectly to his right. Coventry scores.
- Penalty 2: Horvath dives to his left but Coventry’s Viktor Gyökeres powers it down the middle.
- Penalty 3: Horvath guesses correctly and dives to his right, but the shot is too high for him to reach.
- Penalty 4: Horvath guesses incorrectly to his left and the shot goes to his right.
- Penalty 5: Horvath dives to his right but the shot goes to his left.
- Penalty 6: Horvath dives correctly to his right and the shot goes over the crossbar.
Look at what it means to Ethan Horvath ❤️ pic.twitter.com/6nUUmPxlIZ— USMNT Only (@usmntonly) May 27, 2023
USMNT'S ETHAN HORVATH AND LUTON TOWN ARE HEADING TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE! pic.twitter.com/pWKVrRnVE8— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) May 27, 2023
ETHAN HORVATH AND LUTON TOWN ARE GOING UP— U.S. Men's National Soccer Team (@USMNT) May 27, 2023
The future for Horvath is uncertain and it’s not guaranteed he plays in the Premier League next season. He turns 28 in June and was on loan to Luton from Nottingham Forest this season. His contract with Forest lasts until 2024 meaning he’ll either be a backup at Forest, loaned out again or bought by Luton.
In Luton’s 2022-23 campaign he made 50 appearances across all competitions and kept 20 clean sheets.
Congratulations to Luton Town and Horvath on promotion.
Luton Town have gone from non-league to the Premier League in just nine years-2014: Promoted to League 2
-2018: Promoted to League 1
-2019: Promoted to Championship
-2023: Promoted to Premier League
What a story pic.twitter.com/laGXmsXVPu
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 27, 2023
Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu is the first player to go from non-league to the Premier League with the same club. What an incredible story. ✨ #LutonTownLuton Town from The National League to The Premier League in 10 years. pic.twitter.com/Quj1h8laDI
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 27, 2023
This is our story.The first club to go from non-league to the Premier League! #COVLUT | #COYH pic.twitter.com/n2NvnBiURl
— Luton Town FC (@LutonTown) May 27, 2023