Hatters hit four as they hammer Accrington

League Two: Accrington Stanley 1 Luton Town 4

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 29th April 2017, 5:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 8:21 pm
James Justin is mobbed after scoring his first Luton goal
James Justin is mobbed after scoring his first Luton goal

Luton Town continued to hit form at just the right time this season with a hugely entertaining 4-1 win at Accrington Stanley this afternoon.

The result, achieved without leading scorer Danny Hylton, saw Nathan Jones' side not only cement their place in the play-offs, but also made virtually sure of fourth position as well, with Exeter, who won at Doncaster Rovers, needing a hugely unlikely goal swing in their final fixture of the season next week.

Town's win also ended their hoodoo at the Wham Stadium too, as their four previous trips had seen three draws and one defeat, while they ended their hosts unbeaten record on home soil since December, extinguishing Stanley's own play-off hopes too.

Although the scoreline might show otherwise, this game was very much in the balance until a hilarious own goal just after the break from home defender Omar Beckles, saw Luton take an advantage they were never going to hand back.

Town chief Jones made two changes, Isaac Vassell in for the suspended Hylton, while Jake Gray replaced Lawson D'Ath who missed out with a hamstring injury.

Stanley, knowing victory was essential to maintain their hopes of a top seven finish, made the brighter start, Jordan Clark swivelling to shoot over on seven minutes.

Hatters spent the opening stages having to be on their mettle defensively, needing to keep out a number of dangerous crosses from the hosts, who swung the ball in whenever they got into wide areas.

Luton finally had an opportunity on 24 minutes when Alan Sheehan's free kick from 25 yards drew a cracking stop from Marek Rodak, the ball destined for the top corner.

Sheehan headed over at the far post from Olly Lee's deep corner, before Luton were ahead on 28 minutes when they won the ball back in midfield and Ollie Palmer sent Justin clear on the right.

There was still plenty for the former U18 defender to do and he did it quite magnificently, racing into the space ahead of him, arrowing a wonderful strike across Rodak into the bottom corner for his first ever professional goal.

Justin should have made it 2-0 on 38 minutes later, with an even easier chance from even closer in, as played through once more by Palmer, he leant back and fired miles over.

That miss was to prove costly as within 60 seconds, Shay McCartan escaped Town's defence from the goal kick, his effort parried behind by Moore.

From the set-piece, Matty Pearson climbed highest and his downward header was adjudged to have crossed the line despite the best efforts of Justin and then Moore.

Town's keeper made a fine stop in the closing stages, Sean McConville's effort dipping and moving, the on-loan stopper doing excellently to tip it over.

After the break, Luton had the lead with an error from Beckles that would have easily made the old Danny Baker own goals and gaffes videos from yesteryear.

A long throw bounced up in side the area and with absolutely no-one around him, the Stanley defender waited for Rodak to come and claim, before calmly nodded over the top of his stranded keeper and tamely over the line.

Moore repelled McCartan's free kick, while it got even better for Luton on 54 minutes, as with Stanley committing men forward, and Lee slid Palmer away on the right.

The striker turned provider once more, his cross turned home past the scrabbling Rodak at full stretch by Vassell to mark his 50th appearance with a 12th goal of the season.

Stanley continued to pepper Town's keeper from range, Pearson's drive requiring Moore's intervention, while Beckles, attempting to atone for his error, thundered one inches wide.

Hatters should have made it four when Vassell sped past Mark Hughes, but with Palmer in acres of space for a tap-in, he went for goal, denied by Rodak, with the rebound looking to have crossed the line, until Town's striking duo between them contrived to knock the rebound over.

Moore came to Luton's rescue once more as Janoi Donacien got in behind the visitors' back-line as Town's stopper got down well to save at the expense of a corner.

Palmer, desperate to get on the scoresheet sent an effort deflected wide, before sub Jack Marriott put the icing on the cake, sent through and expertly poking beyond Rodak, for a first goal since January 14.

Now Town turn their attentions to a home game against Morecambe on Saturday, with the chance to finally make it three wins in a row this term, which would see them enter the play-offs in even redder hot form.

Stanley: Marek Rodak, Matty Pearson, Mark Hughes, Omar Beckles, Jordan Clark (Jonny Edwards 75), Shay McCartan (Reagan Ogle 88), Sean McConville, Seamus Conneely, Billy Kee, Janoi Donacien, Harvey Rodgers.

Subs not used: Scott Brown, Terry Gornell, Rommy Boco, Noor Husin, Aaron Chapman.

Hatters: Stuart Moore, Scott Cuthbert (C), Glen Rea, Alan Sheehan, James Justin, Olly Lee, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Jonathan Smith 79), Jake Gray (Luke Gambin 85), Dan Potts, Ollie Palmer, Isaac Vassell (Jack Marriott 74).

Subs not used: Craig King, Jack Marriott, Zane Banton, Johnny Mullins, Stephen O'Donnell.

Attendance: 2,150 (590 Luton fans).

Referee: Christopher Sarginson.

Hatters MOM: Isaac Vassell. Here, there and everywhere. Bagged his 12th goal too.