Hatters are knocked off top spot as Stanley strike in stoppage time

League Two: Luton Town 1 Accrington Stanley 2

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 10th March 2018, 6:24 pm
Updated Saturday, 10th March 2018, 6:29 pm
Dan Potts saw this header cleared off the line against Accrington
Dan Potts saw this header cleared off the line against Accrington

Luton Town were knocked off the top of the League Two table for the first time since November after suffering a gutting 2-1 stoppage time defeat against Accrington Stanley this afternoon.

After falling behind in the first half to Sean McConville's stunning hit, the Hatters looked to have earned a point when Elliot Lee netted with a cool finish on the hour mark.

However, in the very last minute of time added on, Kee took aim from 25 yards and drilled into the bottom corner to see the visitors leapfrog Town at the summit.

Defeat was desperately cruel on the Hatters as they had deserved at the very least a point, only to once again pay the price for not making the most of their opportunities in front of goal, and conceding yet another late, late strike.

Boss Nathan Jones made two changes for the match, Elliot Lee and Andrew Shinnie replacing James Collins and Lawson D'Ath, meaning Luke Gambin remained on the bench once more.

The Hatters looked full of beans from the kick-off and could have been ahead inside a minute, Marek Stech's clearance deceiving the defence for Danny Hylton to win a corner, Dan Potts' towering header cleared off the line.

The full back then was left unmarked to meet Alan Sheehan's free kick, with it deflecting behind, the hosts' screaming for handball, with a corner the outcome.

Elliot Lee tried to go it alone from 25 yards, Aaron Chapman saving comfortably, while Stech was almost beaten by Jordan Clark's blast that rebounded off Glen Rea, the already committed keeper just managing to readjust and palm over.

With Stanley, who had come with the aim as many teams do, to spoil the encounter and frustrate the life out of the hosts, finally starting to open up, they might have had the lead midway through the half, McConville sidefooting over when well placed.

Shinnie created some space to send over a wicked cross that was missed by Elliot Lee and then Berry at the far post, while Shinnie went alone next, his swerving drive inches away.

Hylton's effort was rather ungainly parried by Chapman and from the resulting corner, Potts once more outjumped his markers, seeing his header beat the keeper, but not Jimmy Dunne stationed on the line once more.

Out of nothing, Town fell behind on the stroke of half time when McConville bent a glorious effort from 25 yards beyond the clutches of Stech and into the top corner.

He then taunted the home fans and Luton dug out during his celebrations, which somehow escaped punishment from referee Darren Drysdale.

After the break, Town struggled to break down their opponents, who continued taking their time-wasting tactics to the extreme, given little hurry-up from by the officials.

Hylton's downward header was easy for Chapman, while Elliot Lee worked some space only to drag off target, but Luton were level just after the hour mark, a move starting from the gloves of Stech.

He found Stacey in the right back position, who from deep inside his own half, sent a searching ball to Elliot Lee, the striker cutting inside his man and finished low beyond Chapman to reach double figures for the first time in his professional career.

With Harry Cornick now on to add the pace on Luton's right hand side, most of the 9,503 in attendance expected the Hatters to go on and complete the turnaround, with the substitute's cross palmed over by Chapman.

Stanley were a whisker away from restoring their lead though, as Stacey had to make an absolutely crucial block on Kee, Scott Brown leathering the rebound just wide.The visiting keeper then ensured it remained 1-1 as Olly Lee's lovely through ball was met by Stacey who did little wrong, but Chapman stuck out a strong right hand to divert it behind.

Both sides committed men forward in the closing stages, but despite winning a number of set-pieces, Town's delivery was off, as they couldn't pick their men out in the area and when they did, Hylton's glancing header didn't trouble Chapman.

What would have been a decent enough point, became nothing ith the cruellest of sucker punches in the very last minute of injury time.

Kee found a slither of space and pulled the trigger, drilling beyond Stech from 25 yards and into the bottom corner to spark wild scenes of celebration from the visiting bench.

Although Luton were knocked off the summit, results elsewhere once again went in their favour, the Hatters still six points in front of fourth placed Wycombe, who conceded a late leveller at home to Cambridge.

Hatters: Marek Stech, Jack Stacey, Dan Potts, Alan Sheehan (C), Glen Rea, Flynn Downes (Harry Cornick 63), Olly Lee, Andrew Shinnie (Luke Gambin 85), Luke Berry, Elliot Lee (Jake Jervis 90), Danny Hylton.

Subs not used: James Shea, James Justin, Scott Cuthbert, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu.

Stanley: Aaron Chapman, Jimmy Dunne, Mark Hughes, Janoi Donacien, Jordan Clark, Scott Brown, Kayden Jackson, Sean McConville, Callum Johnson, Seamus Conneely (C), Billy Kee.

Subs not used: Ben Richards-Everton, Liam Nolan, Offrande Zanzala, Danny Williams, Jonny Maxted, Erico Sousa, Harvey Rodgers.

Referee: Darren Drysdale.

Booked: Hughes 52, McConville 64, Elliot Lee 76, Olly Lee 77, Sheehan 83, Gambin 90, Donacien 90, Jackson 90.

Attendance: 9,503 (205 Stanley).

Hatters MOM: Jack Stacey. Wonderful assist for Lee and a fine block at the back too.