Hatters net a couple of late Christmas crackers to defeat Robins

Glen Rea celebrates making it 1-0 to Luton this eveningGlen Rea celebrates making it 1-0 to Luton this evening
Glen Rea celebrates making it 1-0 to Luton this evening
Championship: Luton Town 2 Bristol City 1

Luton Town delivered a couple of late Christmas crackers as they continued to prove almost impossible to beat under the Kenilworth Road lights with a 2-1 victory against Bristol City this evening.

Glen Rea set the tone with a quite magnificent volley on 17 minutes, and although the Robins levelled in the second half through Sonny Bradley's own goal, Town kicked on to seal all three points thanks to Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall's first goal for the club, a pinpoint 22-yard drive into the bottom corner.

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The hosts made six changes from a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Reading on Boxing Day with Simon Sluga replacing James Shea in goal, the latter to be with his partner who had gone into labour.

Also recalled were Rhys Norrington-Davies, Matty Pearson, Dewsbury-Hall, Harry Cornick and Ryan Tunnicliffe, with Dan Potts, Jordan Clark and George Moncur dropping to the bench, Luke Berry missing out due to injury, while Martin Cranie wasn't included.

After failing to muster even a shot on target in the opening half at the Madejski Stadium, Luton did just that and more on 17 minutes.

A corner from Dewsbury-Hall was met at the back post by Rea, the midfielder bulleting a glorious volley beyond Dan Bentley and into the net for an absolutely stunning second of the season.

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Robins thought they had shouts for a penalty on 27 minutes when Antoine Semenyo went down in the area, but referee Gavin Ward gave nothing, and Luton would have added to visisting manager Dean Holden's clear frustrations if Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu had connected with the ball rather than fresh air from an inviting position.

Semenyo drilled a shot at Sluga, with Nahki Wells' curler missing the target, before City looked to have made it 1-1, Chris Martin meeting Jack Hunt's ball from the right to head against the underside of the bar.

Hatters regained their poise though and Rea fancied a second of the evening, sending his shot over the bar from 25 yards, while Cornick was always a threat on the right hand side, his dangerous deliveries just unable to find a team-mate in the box though.

After the break, Rea continued to hunt a first ever double, but this time on his weaker foot, shanked into the stands.

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Town wasted a glorious chance to extend their advantage on 52 minutes, as Cornick played in Collins, who all alone, was faced with Bentley from 15 yards, but saw his powerful drive excellently parried by the keeper.

An open beginning saw Messengo unable to sort his feet out and turn Adam Nagy's cross in at the far post, with former Luton youngster Tyreeq Bakinson putting a header over.

The visitors did level just after the hour mark though when a lovely ball once again caught the Town defence out and Wells' low cross was turned into his own net at full stretch by captain Sonny Bradley.

Jones made two changes to try and give Town some control back in the game, with Kazenga LuaLua and Potts on for Tunnicliffe and Mpanzu, and it worked perfectly, Luton almost regaining the lead, Cornick's wonderful attempt with the outside of his right boot sailing just past the top corner.

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Town were back in front once more on 69 minutes though when Dewsbury-Hall picked up a weak clearance, and proceeded to set himself, before arrowing a delicious drive beyond the dive for Bentley and into the bottom corner for his first goal for the club.

Luton almost had the breathing space they craved with four minutes to go, LuaLua causing some real danger, his pass releasing the rapid Norrington-Davies, who cut on to his right but was denied a maiden Hatters goal by Bentley.

City were determined not to go quietly and might have snatched a point at the end, only to see Tommy Rowe's ball drift across the six yard box with no Robins attacker able to turn it in.

Hatters: Simon Sluga, Matty Pearson, Rhys Norrington-Davies, Tom Lockyer, Sonny Bradley ©, Glen Rea , Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Ryan Tunnicliffe (Dan Potts 64), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Kazenga LuaLua 64), Harry Cornick (Jordan Clark 84), James Collins.

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Subs not used: Harry Isted, Sam Nombe, Danny Hylton, Elliot Lee, George Moncur, Brendan Galloway.

Robins: Dan Bentley, Jack Hunt (Adrian Mariappa 76), Adam Nagy, Chris Martin, Antoine Semenyo, Nahki Wells (Sam Bell 88), Tomas Kalas (C), Tommy Rowe, Zak Vyner, Tyreeq Bakinson, Han-Noah Massengo (Famara Diedhiou 59).

Subs not used: Max O'Leary, Taylor Moore, Zac Smith, Sam Pearson, Ryley Towler.

Bookings: Tunnicliffe 33, Semenyo 73.

Referee: Gavin Ward.