Luton's Adebayo scores hat trick in Brighton mauling

Luton Town thrashed Brighton & Hove Albion 4-0 to move out of the Premier League relegation zone with Elijah Adebayo scoring a hat trick after the Hatters went two goals up inside the first three minutes at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday.

Adebayo opened his tally with a header from close range after just 20 seconds before speedy winger Chiedozie Ogbene made it 2-0 after two minutes and 17 seconds.

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Adebayo fired in his second of the night at the near post in the 42nd before completing his first top flight treble off a corner in the 56th.

In the history of the Premier League only Leicester City, in the opening two minutes against Derby County in 1998, had reached 2-0 quicker than Luton, who started the season as favourites for a quick return to the second tier.

"It's a wonderful feeling...we said we needed to start sharp and two goals in two minutes was the right way to start," Adebayo told Sky Sports television.

"We just kept our foot on the gas. When you come here it's tough, especially under the lights and the fans make it a fortress for us."

Luton Town's Elijah Adebayo celebrates scoring his first Premier League hat trick.
Alex Pantling/Getty Images

The defeat left Brighton in eighth, level on 32 points with ninth-placed Manchester United, while Luton climbed one spot to 17th, a point clear of Everton who drew 0-0 at Fulham.

Happy Luton fans left the ground singing "the Hatters are staying up."

The home side could have scored more with their highly physical game, with Jordan Clark ruled offside with the ball in the net early in the second half.

Brighton looked out of ideas, with no shot on target until late in the second half, as a rampant Luton ripped up the script.

Demolished 4-1 at Brighton in their first game in the Premier League after promotion, the Hatters took their revenge in style.

"Delighted for Eli. He deserves it because of his work rate and his all round game...with his link-up play as well now, he's becoming a real threat and bringing other people into play," said manager Rob Edwards.

"It was a team performance tonight. We're incredibly aggressive when we press...and our defenders deserve a lot of credit."

The evening had an emotional start before kickoff when Luton captain Tom Lockyer, recovering from a cardiac arrest during a match last month, walked around the pitch saluting the applauding crowd. 

"Locks was in yesterday [at the training ground] and you can tell straight away that it gave everyone a lift," said Adebayo. "And then he comes in today ...and the gaffer said just go and play how he would which is brave, desire, character.

"We want to just keep showing and proving to people that we can compete at this level."

Adebayo was the first Luton player to score a top-flight hat trick since Lars Elstrup against Norwich City in September 1990.