Hatters beaten after a horror first half

League One: Peterborough 3 Luton Town 1

Alan Sheehan sends a free kick goalwards
Alan Sheehan sends a free kick goalwards

Luton paid the price for a shocking first half as their search for a first victory of the season went on at Peterborough United this afternoon.

With just 36 minutes on the clock, the visitors' defence, which had looked so solid this term, had been breached three times, with Nathan Jones' side staring down the barrel of an even heavier defeat.

They managed to prevent it becoming embarrassing in the second period, pulling one back through Jack Stacey with 12 minutes to go, but despite having 21 shots, only six of them on target tells the story of what was a miserable afternoon.

Jones surprisingly opted to switch formations at the start, bringing in Sonny Bradley for his full league debut, with Jorge Grant dropping to the bench, the only change from the side that had drawn 1-1 with Sunderland, Danny Hylton recovering from his thigh strain to start.

Neither side created much of note early on, Hylton just failing to arrive on time to turn James Collins' cross in and Jason Cummings' free kick flying over the top.

Sheehan sent a set-piece of his own into the wall and behind for a corner with which he found Dan Potts' whose header was easy for Aaron Chapman.

Town then fell behind on 17 minutes when the home defence were caught out far too easily after giving the ball away upfield.

Matty Godden on the left picked out Cummings charging through the middle, who almost went down under Sheehan's challenge, before going over the legs of Marek Stech for a penalty that referee Graham Salisbury took an age to give.

Once he did though, Cummings got up to make no mistake, sending Stech the wrong way.

Before Town could fully recover, it was 2-0.

This time Siriki Dembele sped into the area and despite being caught by the sliding Alan McCormack, got up to his feet, to slam past Stech with Town's back-line having completely switched off.

Luton tried to respond, Hylton's audacious chip from 40 yards falling on to the roof of the net with Chapman looking nervously over his shoulder.

Jones brought Glen Rea on for McCormack, moving back to the diamond in an attempt to stem the Posh flow.

It initially had looked like the new system worked, Lee's shot deflected behind.

However, they were ruthlessly torn apart once more on 36 minutes, when from a corner that was cleared, Jack Stacey's misjudged his header, allowing Demble time and space on the flank.

He motored away, finding Cummings, who put it on this left and with Stech committing himself far too early, rolled into the bottom corner.

A hugely controversial moment with five minutes to go before the break saw the Hatters awarded a penalty when Lee tricked his way into the box and was brought down by an unnecessary lunging challenge from Colin Daniel.

It looked like he got some of the ball and then the Town attacker, but official Salisbury pointed to the spot nevertheless.

However, the referee had a word with his linesman and changed his decision, awarding Luton a corner instead, much to the fury of Town's players and management.

Stech had to parry Dembele's effort before Rea and Stacey fired straight at Chapman.

After the break, Luton brought on Andrew Shinnie for the out of sorts Matty Pearson and their efforts to mount a miraculous comeback didn't look on, Stech saving from Godden

Town showed a flicker of life, Lee's effort over, but Town should have had one back on the hour mark when Lee's free kick hit the wall where it fell perfectly for Rea but on his left foot, he sliced wastefully wide from eight yards.

Still the chances kept coming, Potts heading Sheehan's floated free kick wide, while the visitors worked another excellent opportunity, Rea dragging off target from the edge of the box.

Lee headed Mpanzu's cross straight at Chapman, before he moved upfront alongside Hylton when Collins made way for Grant

With 12 minutes to go, Luton finally had the slightest hope as a deep cross was met by Stacey at the back post and he volleyed through a crowd of players, the goal later being credited to Hylton, giving Town a lifeline.

Hylton almost made it an even more nervy final 10 minutes, as found by the clever feet of Lee, he scuffed the wrong side of the post.

Bradley then thumped a volley that Ryan Tafazolli somehow threw his body in the way of to divert for a corner as the Hatters just knew it wasn't going to be their day.

Posh: Aaron Chapman, Jason Naismith, Colin Daniel, Alex Woodyard (C), Ryan Tafazolli, Mark O'Hara (Louis Reed 77), Matt Godden (Ivan Toney 73), Siriki Dembele (George Cooper 83), Joe Ward, Rhys Bennett, Jason Cummings.

Subs not used: Mark Tyler, Callum Cooke, Josh Yorwerth, Marcus Maddison.

Hatters: Marek Stech, Matty Pearson (Andrew Shinnie 46), Alan Sheehan (C), Sonny Bradley, Jack Stacey, Alan McCormack (Glen Rea 30), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Elliot Lee, Dan Potts, James Collins (Jorge Grant 73), Danny Hylton.

Subs not used: James Shea, James Justin, Harry Cornick, Jake Jervis.

Booked: Potts 22, Tafazolli 54,. O'Hara 60.

Referee: Graham Salisbury.

Attendance: 8,016 (Luton 2,209).