Mpanzu's stunner sends Luton on their way to superb Robins win

Championship: Luton Town 3 Bristol City 0

Monday, 21st October 2019, 4:28 pm
Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu celebrates his wonderful opening strike

A marvellous second half performance saw the Hatters record their best victory of the season in the Championship this term, with a thumping 3-0 win over promotion hopefuls Bristol City at Kenilworth Road.

Going into the game, there had been plenty to fear, the Robins sitting sixth in the table, unbeaten since the opening day of the campaign, and knowing a sixth success in the league could potentially put them top.

However, they were well and truly put to the sword by the hosts after the break, with Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu and Izzy Brown in particular sensational, while the recalled James Shea ensured Town kept a first clean sheet in the Championship this term too.

Prior to kick-off, Hatters chief Graeme Jones made three changes, as Simon Sluga was dropped after his error-strewn outing at Derby County, with Shea coming in for his first start in the Championship this season.

Martin Cranie also returned after two months out injured to move into a new-look back three alongside Sonny Bradley and Matty Person, with Brown in, Andrew Shinnie and Callum McManaman.

The visitors, as expected of a side unbeaten since the opening game of the season, caught the eye early on, as Tommy Rowe's low effort from outside the box was parried by Shea, Town hacking the loose ball away.

Rowe then beat the offside trap, but forced wide by Shea, couldn't find the empty net from an increasingly tight angle.

However, Luton could well have been ahead with their first attack, Brown bursting forward and his low cross was flicked goalwards by James Collins, brushing off a visiting defender as it crept inches wide.

The Hatters then started to turn up the pressure in what was an opening first half an hour, Matty Pearson finding the run of Brown who advanced into the area, only to dally too long, Ryan Tunnicliffe eventually shooting straight at Daniel Bentley.

Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu's fierce blast was bravely blocked by Ashley Williams, while with 28 gone, the midfielder then teed up Brown just outside the box, whose thunderbolt cannoned off the post and away, Bentley getting the slightest of touches.

City were always quick to show their attacking qualities, Andreas Weimann darting between Town's back-line, and with Shea retreating back to his line, saw his chip only narrowly drop wide.

With Brown on the ball, Luton looked increasingly threatening going forward, one positive burst into space seeing the on-loan Chelsea midfielder send over a fine cross only just out of the reach of Collins.

Town's leading scorer then had a go from distance, Bentley able to watch if fly wide, before the Robins keeper was required to get down well and prevent Mpanzu's low show finding the bottom corner at the expense of a corner.

Town brought on Luke Bolton for the injured James Bree at the break, Collins going close early on, swivelling to volley over from eight yards.

The Hatters then lead with a stunning goal on 56 minutes, as Mpanzu cut in from the left, broke into the box and curled a superb effort beyond Bentley and into the top corner.

Luton then moved 2-0 in front just six minutes later as the visitors offside trap failed spectacularly, Brown sending Harry Cornick away and he burst through, keeping his nerve to beat Bentley.

Town were indebted a truly magnificent save from Shea on 70 minutes to keep them two in front, as City brought on former Sevilla striker Rodri and his glancing header was destined for the bottom corner, until Town's keeper stuck out a glove to fingertip it on to the post.

Luton almost had the points sewn up with 17 to play, breaking impressively as Cornick found Brown who in turn fed Collins through, Bentley out quickly to block with his legs.

Rodri then looked like he had pulled one back, turning in from close range, but the offside flag was raised, before he whistled another attempt wide, as Town ensured they weren't breached for the first time in the Championship.

They then managed to add some icing on the cake late on, with Tunnicliffe bursting down the left wing and sending over a cross that Williams turned past his own keeper at full stretch.

Hatters: James Shea, James Bree (Luke Bolton 46), Dan Potts, Sonny Bradley (C), Matty Pearson, Martin Cranie, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Harry Cornick (Kazenga LuaLua 88), Izzy Brown (Callum McManaman 76), James Collins.

Subs not used: Lloyd Jones, Jacob Butterfield, Andrew Shinnie, Simon Sluga.

Robins: Daniel Bentley, Jack Hunt, Nathan Baker, Josh Brownhill ©, Famara Diedhio (Rodri 64), Andreas Wiemann, Taylor Moore (Callum O'Dowda 58), Tommy Rowe, Ashley Williams, Han-Noah Massengo, Kasey Palmer (Niclas Eliasson 59).

Subs not used: Bailey Wright, Antoine Semenyo, Pedro Pereira, Niki Maenpaa.

Booked: Tunnicliffe 51, Diedhiou 63, Mpanzu 85, Hunt 90.

Referee: Graham Scott.

Attendance: 10,064 (1,032 City).