Hatters' unbeaten run is ended by Sky Blues

League Two: Luton Town 0 Coventry City 3

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 28th October 2017, 7:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 11:00 am
Glen Rea was sent off late on for Luton this afternoon
Glen Rea was sent off late on for Luton this afternoon

Luton Town boss Nathan Jones failed to mark his 100th game in charge of the club with a victory as they saw their nine game unbeaten run ended by a well drilled Coventry City side this afternoon.

The final scoreline does flatter the visitors, who scored their second and third goals in stoppage time with Hatters down to 10 men, Glen Rea shown a straight red for bringing down Marc McNulty.

However, the Sky Blues, who have by far the best defensive record in the league, now conceding a miserly eight times in 16 matches, showed just why, producing some marvellous last ditch blocks, while also taking every opportunity possible to slow the contest down and frustrate Luton throughout.

That they did too as Luton, after netting seven times against Stevenage in their last outing at Kenilworth Road, only seriously tested visiting stopper Lee Burge once, finding it hard to break down a resolute City back-line, who knew their jobs to a tee..

Hatters chief Jones made one change ahead of the game, with as expected, Johnny Mullins replacing the suspended Alan Sheehan.

Town went close early on too, a well worked free kick routine saw Olly Lee dink the ball to the far post, where James Collins volleyed over the top.

Luton had a huge let off on 14 minutes as Marek Stech, who had been unusually iffy in possession, sent another weak clearance to Liam Kelly, 45 yards from goal.

The City midfielder took a touch and hit a speculative long range attempt which beat the back-pedalling Stech only to bounce off the frame of the goal, saving the keeper's blushes.

However, the Sky Blues were celebrating on 17 minutes with a lovely goal, Jodi Jones's pinpoint cross from the left wing met by a thumping Marc McNulty header, ending a four game drought without scoring for the visitors.

Now with their noses in front, it gave Mark Robins' side ample chance to play the game at their pace, and they did so, Burge warned for taking his time over every goal kick.

Town's best moments came from dead ball situations, Dan Potts glancing over another decent Lee delivery, with the midfielder's corner also causing havoc, Collins denied at full stretch by Michael Doyle, and Hylton heading Lee's follow up cross over.

After the break, Jones's shot was easy for Stech, while Lee unleashed a lovely free kick that was somehow missed by everyone and went behind, as from the corner, an unusually quiet Harry Cornick blasted off target.

Mullins' afternoon was ended by another injury, as he was forced off clutching his ankle, with Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu on, Rea dropping back to central defence, where he made a vital goal-saving block on the line from Jordan Ponticelli, which could have signalled game over.

Town sprung forward at the other end, Hylton denied by Burge, as Luton just couldn't turn the loose ball in, crowded out by a host of defenders.

The Hatters kept pressing, Hylton doing superbly to bring Stacey's crossfield ball down on his chest, but then rifling a left footer narrowly over the top.

Mpanzu tried his luck too, slamming off target, before with 12 minutes to go, came the moments Town had been waiting for.

First Potts rose well to meet Lee's free kick, finding Andrew Shinnie, whose volley was repelled by Burge's legs.

The ball was then pumped back finding Hylton all alone, and with an exemplary first touch, the highest crowd of the season expected to celebrate a leveller, only for Town's joint leading scorer to fluff his lines, unable to get anything on his toepoke.

That seemed to suck the life out of Town's efforts to restore parity as they threw captain Scott Cuthbert up for the final five minutes, but unlike at Wycombe, it didn't pay off this time, as they couldn't really create anything other than Shinnie's attempt, routinely saved by Burge.

With eight minutes of stoppage time signalled, Luton's race was run as Mpanzu needlessly slid in to give the ball away in midfield, City breaking and Rea bringing down McNulty at full stretch on the edge of the box to see red from official Rob Jones.

Jordan Shipley took aim and hammered the set-piece beyond Stech to ensure there was no way back for Luton.

It got even worse before the end too, as Duckens Nazons sped away and with Potts trying to cover, could only deflect the sub's effort to wrongfoot Stech and make it 3-0.

Luton's stopper made a decent save to prevent conceding an incredibly harsh fourth, but results elsewhere saw Hatters knocked off top spot, overtaken by Notts County and also Accrington Stanley, as they now sit third in the standings.

Hatters: Marek Stech, Jack Stacey, Dan Potts, Scott Cuthbert (C), Johnny Mullins (Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu 58), Glen Rea, Olly Lee, Luke Berry, Harry Cornick (Andrew Shinnie 74), Danny Hylton, James Collins (Elliot Lee 80).

Subs not used: James Justin, Luke Gambin, Lawson D'Ath, James Shea.

Coventry: Lee Burge, Jack Grimmer, Jordan Willis, Rod McDonald, Liam Kelly, Peter Vincenti (Max Biamou 81), Michael Doyle (C), Marc McNulty, Jodi Jones (Jordan Shipley 90), Ryan Haynes, Jordan Ponticelli (Duckens Nazon 81).

Subs not used: Chris Stokes, Tom Davies, Liam O'Brien, Callum Mayock.

Booked: Hylton 6, O Lee 40, McNulty 90, Cuthbert 90.

Sent off: Rea 90.

Referee: Robert Jones.

Attendance: 9,670 (1,067 Coventry).