Elijah Adebayo is Luton's top scorer with eight Premier League goals this season

Luton scored twice inside the opening three minutes and Elijah Adebayo claimed a hat-trick in a remarkable victory over Brighton which lifted the Hatters out of the Premier League relegation zone.

Adebayo nodded the home side in front when he beat Seagulls goalkeeper Jason Steele to Carlton Morris’ knockdown with just 18 seconds on the clock.

And the hosts doubled their lead less than two minutes later, Chiedozie Ogbene beating the Brighton offside trap and knocking the ball past the onrushing Steele.

Leicester City are the only side to take a quicker 2-0 lead in a Premier League match, against Derby in April 1998.

Adebayo struck his second and Luton’s third of the game late in the first half after running on to Ross Barkley’s pass, and Jordan Clark thought he had made it 4-0 early in the second but was denied by an offside flag.

But Brighton’s reprieve was only temporary as former Walsall striker Adebayo nodded home an Alfie Doughty corner to become the first Luton player to score a top-flight hat-trick since Lars Elstrup against Norwich City in September 1990.

Steele denied Morris late on with a smart save at his near post, but it did little to spare Brighton’s blushes on a desperate evening for Roberto de Zerbi and his players.

Before the game, Luton captain Tom Lockyer was greeted by an ovation from both sets of supporters as he made his first appearance at Kenilworth Road since suffering a cardiac arrest in December’s game at Bournemouth.