Hatters hammer Spireites to reach quarter-finals
Checkatrade Trophy, third round: Luton Town 4 Chesterfield 0
Luton Town continued their love hate relationship with the Checkatrade Trophy after pummeling League One Chesterfield 4-0 at Kenilworth Road this evening.
With some of the most enjoyable evenings coming in a competition that has seen the club fined £15,000 for the amount of changes made, Nathan Jones' side easily dispensed with the Spireites, the fourth higher level opposition beaten so far, although this time the visitors weren't just beaten, but completely trounced by the Hatters.
Although Jones made seven alterations from Saturday's 2-1 FA Cup defeat, he still opted for one of the strongest sides he has selected in the competition, with the likes of Craig Mackail-Smith, Jack Marriott, Christian Walton and Glen Rea all starting.
Young centre half Frankie Musonda once again showed just how much improvement he is making this season, although the stand-out youngster was left back Jack Senior, who will surely be in with a serious chance of the first team at Crewe on Saturday.
Town made a promising start, showing signs of what was to come, with Jordan Cook bursting away to set up Mackail-Smith, whose effort was easy for Lloyd Allinson and Jake Gray's dipping effort flew narrowly over.
Marriott tested Allinson low down on 17 minutes, as the Spireites, who sacked ex-Town midfielder Danny Wilson on Sunday, never once showed any renewed vigour that comes with a change at the helm, having their first real effort soon after, the tricky Jay O'Shea twisting and turning before shooting off target.
However, Luton scored twice in quick succession to put one foot firmly in the next stage as Laurence Maguire slid in on Mackail-Smith, tripping the forward in the area to concede a penalty on 22 minutes.
Mackail-Smith himself assumed the responsibility from the spot, thundering home his first Luton goal since February 28, that time a late leveller against Hartlepool on the same ground.
One swiftly became two as Marriott escaped his markers in the box and delivered a low shot that Allinson allowed to creep under his body at the near post.
O'Shea appeared the visitors most likely outlet, sending a daisycutter that Walton expertly fielded, while with the two goal cushion, Luton were happy to soak up pressure and hit on the break with the pace of Mackail-Smith and Marriott, although O'Donnell was next to venture forward, dragging off target on 38 minutes.
Mackail-Smith was denied his second of the evening by the legs of Allinson after a lovely move saw Marriott take Senior's perfectly weighted throughball and crossing low for his striking partner.
The Spireites finally woke up to seriously threaten in the closing stages, as O'Shea's wonderfully disguised free kick wide on the right saw the midfielder aim for goal instead of cross to his team-mates, with his audacious attempt clipping the bar.
Jake Beesley then wasted a glorious opportunity, as Rea got nowhere near enough on his back header, allowing the visiting striker a free run on goal as he fluffed his lines badly, directing a weak attempt straight at Walton.
Six minutes after the interval, Marriott had his second when another quickfire break by Town saw Mackail-Smith feed the forward and he transferred the ball on to his left to slot into bottom corner.
The game then started to meander to its conclusion, with Chesterfield's Connor Dimaio going close from range, to ironic cheers from the visiting support.
Cook had a pop as well, skimming an angled volley off target, with Jonathan Smith hitting the side-netting and sub Olly Lee couldn't divert Cook's cross beyond the sprawling Allinson.
Late sub Isaac Vassell was to put the icing on the cake in the 87th minute, sprinting on to Lee's pass and with plenty to do, showcased his tremendous pace and power to outmuscle Sam Hird and then drill beyond Allinson.
Vassell almost had his second, arrowing wide of the mark, but Town were in cruise control now and go into Thursday's draw, one step closer to that mouthwatering Wembley final.
Hatters: Christian Walton, Stephen O'Donnell, Jack Senior, Frankie Musonda, Glen Rea, Jonathan Smith (C), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Jake Gray (Olly Lee 62), Jordan Cook, Jack Marriott (Isaac Vassell 77), Craig Mackail-Smith (Zane Banton 77).
Subs not used: Craig King, Johnny Mullins,Tyreeq Bakinson, Kavan Cotter.
Spireites: Lloyd Allinson, Sam Hird (C), Ian Evatt, Dan Gardner (Reece Mitchell 75), Liam O'Neil, Connor Dimaio, Rai Simons (Kristian Dennis 56), Jay O'Shea, Laurence Maguire, Gboly Ariyibi (Jon Nolan 56), Jake Beesley.
Subs not used: Angel Martinez, Derek Daly, Ricky German, Dylan Parkin.
Attendance: 1,655 (152 Chesterfield).
Booked: Laurence Maguire 22.
Referee: Charles Breakspear.
Hatters MOM: Jack Marriott - great to see the striker back in the goals once more.