Collins nets stoppage time winner as Luton steal points at Wycombe
League Two: Wycombe Wanderers 1 Luton Town 2
A quite simply mental final few moments saw Luton Town emerge as 2-1 winners at Wycombe Wanderers this afternoon.
It had looked for all the world that the visitors would be on their way to their fourth away game without a victory this term, trailing to Adebayo Akinfenwa's first half header.
Danny Hylton missed a penalty early in the second period too, but with time running out, Luton pushed Scott Cuthbert up top and he volleyed the leveller with two minutes to go to rescue what looked like a welcome point.
However, things got even better, as in the eighth minute of stoppage time, Harry Cornick's deep cross from out wide was met by James Collins at the far post, his header looping up and over keeper Scott Brown and dropping across the line, Marcus Bean unable to keep it out, sending almost 1,500 Luton fans behind the goal into absolute bedlam.
They were joined by a barely able to contain himself manager Nathan Jones at the full time whistle which blew seconds later, as Town's players celebrated raucously, knowing full well just what a big result this is.
Earlier, Jones had kept faith with the same team who had beaten Port Vale 2-0 on Tuesday night, with Cuthbert back on the bench after completing his one game ban, while former Luton striker Craig Mackail-Smith started for the visitors.
Town were indebted to keeper Marek Stech on seven minutes, as he made a sharp stop from Luke O'Nien's 20-yard volley that was arrowing into the bottom corner.
Wycombe continued their promising start, with Joe Jacobson's deep cross met by Akinfenwa, whose header flew narrowly over the top, while all Luton had in the opening exchanges, was James Collins' appeals for a penalty, going down under a challenge from Anthony Stewart.
Collins thought he had opened the scoring on 24 minutes though, deftly glancing in Alan Sheehan's free kick, only for the linesman's flag to cut short the celebrations.
Akinfenwa then should have made it 1-0 after fine work by Mackail-Smith, but produced an air kick when the goal was gaping.
Although looking like they were beginning to gain some kind of foothold, Luton then fell behind five minutes before the break with a goal of sheer and utter simplicity.
Despite no doubt warning his side time and time again in the build-up, Jones could only watch as Akinfenwa isolated Glen Rea and easily outjumped Luton's centre half to meet Michael Harriman's deep cross and nod beyond Stech.
Luton made an immediate change as Alan McCormack went off holding his groin, replaced by Cuthbert.
Town, needing a response in the second period, almost fell further behind, Rea making a brave block from Sam Saunders' goalbound blast.
The Hatters started to show signs of life, Hylton rounding Anthony Stewart on the left and crossing for Luke Berry to head wide.
They then had a superb chance on 51 minutes, with Hylton flicking over the top of Jacobson, and getting pushed to the floor, with referee James Linington awarding a penalty.
Hylton's casual effort was easily saved by Brown though, with the rebound headed away from Town's striker as Wycombe remained in front.
Struggling to create anything of note, Jones brought on Harry Cornick for Shinnie and they eventually came close on 70 minutes, when Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu's wonderful left-footed 25-yard volley was acrobatically flicked over the bar by the back-pedalling Brown.
Stech made an important save from Luke O'Nien's close range blast with 11 minutes to go, as a second would surely have killed off any hope of rescuing a point.
Then the fun start, as Cuthbert the motioned to his manager to be thrust forward and after given the all-clear, it took just 30 seconds for the move to pay dividends.
Hylton turned provider, picking up the ball on the left hand side, his cross flicked on by sub Elliot Lee and the captain produced a striker's finish to volley beyond Brown.
In stoppage time, Paris Cowan-Hall almost won it with a late strike, that deflected just behind for a corner, before Collins then popped up to net the most dramatic of winners.
The result saw Luton up to fourth place in the table, while they continued their proud record of never having lost a game at Adams Park in their history, with run now stretching to an impressive 13 games.
Chairboys: Scott Brown, Michael Harriman, Joe Jacobson, Anthony Stewart, Adam El-Abd (C), Marcus Bean, Luke O'Nien, Dominic Gape (Sam Saunders 34), Matt Bloomfield, Adebayo Akinfenwa (Nathan Tyson 67), Craig Mackail-Smith (Paris Cowan-Hall 90).
Subs not used: Barry Richardson, Josh Umerah, Ebere Eze, Dan Scarr.
Hatters: Marek Stech, Jack Stacey, Dan Potts, Glen Rea (Elliot Lee 85), Alan Sheehan, Alan McCormack (Scott Cuthbert 40), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Luke Berry, Andrew Shinnie (Harry Cornick 63), Danny Hylton, James Collins.
Subs: James Shea, Johnny Mullins, Olly Lee, James Justin.
Booked: Shinnie 31, Collins 44, Bean 79, Hylton 90, Akinfenwa 90.
Referee: James Linington.
Attendance: 5,512 (1,459 Luton).