Berry injury overshadows Town's defeat at Colchester
League Two: Colchester United 2 Luton Town 1
An absolutely horrific injury to Luke Berry overshadowed the Hatters' 2-1 defeat at Colchester this afternoon.
With just two minutes gone, the midfielder slid in for an innocuous challenge, but appeared to get his studs caught in the turf in what was a truly sickening sight for those in attendance.
He signalled to the bench immediately, as did all the players around him all, clearly shocked and distraught at what they had witnessed.
Referee Trevor Kettle took both sets of players off as Berry underwent extensive treatment on the pitch, with a number of players from both sides leaving with their heads in their hands.
After the players came back out, Town, who had made one change, Glen Rea in for Alan McCormack, clearly still affected by what they had seen, went into a huddle, but understandably had noticeably subdued looked to it.
United replaced Tom Lapslie too for Brandon Comley, who was right by the incident and obviously unable to continue as the hosts then went ahead from virtually their first attack, Tom Eastman left unmarked to power his header past James Shea, with Luton's minds still clearly processing what had happened.
United pressed for a second, forcing successive corners, before they made it 2-0 on 27 minutes, when a corner was swung in Ben Stevenson and Luke Prosser arrived at the back post to nod beyond Shea via a deflection.
It was a depressing case of deja vu for the visitors, who trailed by the same margin at almost the same point last season courtesy of poor defending.
Finally, Luton started to warm to their task, as with conditions worsening, they fashioned half a chance when Luke Gambin, on for Berry, combined with James Collins, the striker's shot charged down.
Danny Hylton thought he had pulled one back just before the break, when he was set free by Olly Lee's pass to find the bottom corner, but the linesman's flag cut short his celebrations.
Town started to look a threat after the break, trying to come from 2-0 down for the second time in seven games, Shinnie rifling over from inside the box, while Lee had a sighter too, seeing his low shot go the wrong side of the post.
Sheehan sent over a free kick that Hylton nodded over, while home keeper Sam Walker saw yellow on the hour mark for time-wasting, as the hosts looked to see the game out.
Hylton had a go from close range, his shot deflecting over, while the striker met a cross from Gambin, heading straight at Walker.
With Town pressing and the rain now teeming down, making for a bog of a pitch, Dan Potts swung a right foot at an effort from 20 yards, dragging wide.
However, Luton couldn't get much change out of either of the home side's imposing centre halves, until a glimmer of hope with two minutes left when Ryan Jackson got under a long ball and after slipping over, cleaned out Gambin for a penalty.
Hylton dinked his effort down the middle and Luton who had thrown Cuthbert upfront as an emergency forward, looked to get out of jail once more.
They had a sniff in the closing stages, Collins going through but in trying to cut inside, was dispossessed, while Cuthbert then saw the ball drop to him inside the box, sliced wide of the target.
Results elsewhere were kind to Town, with Accrington winning at Mansfield, while Notts County held Wycombe Wanderers, meaning Town can go into Easter Monday's home match with the Stags, still seven points clear of fourth spot.
United: Sam Walker, Ryan Jackson, Tom Lapslie (Brandon Comley 14), Luke Prosser Drew Wright. Sammie Szmodics, Brennan Dickenson (Courtney Senior 46), Ben Stevenson (Sean Murray 82), Tom Eastman, Mikael Mandron, Kane Vincent-Young.
Subs not used: Dillon Barnes, Frankie Kent, Sean Murray, Liam Mandeville, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe.
Hatters: James Shea, James Justin, Dan Potts, Scott Cuthbert (C), Alan Sheehan, Glen Rea (Harry Cornick 71), Olly Lee, Luke Berry (Luke Gambin 14), Andrew Shinnie (Elliot Lee 66), James Collins, Danny Hylton.
Subs not used: Marek Stech, Jack Stacey, Jake Jervis, Flynn Downes.
Referee: Trevor Kettle.
Booked: Potts 40, Jackson 53, Sheehan 53, Mandron 60, Walker 60, Cuthbert 90, Wright 90.