Hatters run riot against managerless Wrexham

Luke Guttridge nets Town's opening goal against WrexhamLuke Guttridge nets Town's opening goal against Wrexham
Luke Guttridge nets Town's opening goal against Wrexham
Rampant Hatters went goal crazy yet again tonight as they crushed managerless Wrexham 5-0 at Kenilworth Road, writes Mark Wood.

With nearest challengers Cambridge United losing 1-0 at Braintree, Luton stretched their lead to 14 points at the top of the Skrill Premier.

The win extended Town’s record unbeaten run to 24 games as Luke Guttridge’s brace, goals from Andre Gray and Paul Benson, plus a second half Jake Howells penalty overwhelmed the visitors.

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Town named an unchanged team for the side that thrashed Nuneaton Town on Saturday, while Wrexham made four changes following the departure of manager Andy Morrell on Monday.

The visitors had a great chance after just 25 seconds when Neil Ashton’s cross ran to the unmarked Rob Ogleby at the far post, but his point-blank range effort was well saved by Mark Tyler.

Luton snatched the lead with their first attack on three minutes when Howells and Benson combined beautifully and Guttridge skirted the edge of the area before firing home.

Horrendous defending handed Town their second six minutes later when Ashton missed a number of opportunities to clear as Gray battled his way through into the box and stroked past the exposed Andy Coughlin.

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Another error allowed Guttridge to break through the middle, but Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu could only curl tamely at the keeper.

An unbelievable start from the Hatters continued with a third on 17 minutes when Gray and Benson linked superbly and Guttridge raced through to finished confidently.

Wrexham still had their chances as Brett Ormerod somehow spooned over from a couple of yards out and Joe Clarke’s cross over the motionless Tyler flicked off the bar.

Mpanzu and Gray, after good work by Howells, both had efforts blocked, while Johnny Hunt feigned a foul under a non-existent Ronnue Henry challenge in the box as play continued.

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A pile-driver from Gray brought a brave block before a corner dropped to Fraser Franks on 42 minutes and his volley was cleared as Luton walked off 4-0 to the good.

Gray threatened in the opening moments of the second half as he surged to the byline and Scott Griffiths’ dangerous cross was cut out.

Town proceeded to play some champagne football, even looking to move the ball out of their own box at times.

Hunt was the first man into the book for a cynical trip on Mpanzu, while Griffths and Howells had efforts repelled from a corner, before Jon Shaw replaced Benson.

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A quiet second half was enlivened when Mark Carrington tripped Howells in the box and he netted the resulting spotkick with 20 minutes to go.

Shaw was close to his first goal of the season when his shot rippled the side netting with 10 minutes left.

Joe Clarke’s low long-range effort was straight at Tyler in stoppage time as Town recorded their 12th-straight home league win.

Hatters (4-3-3): Mark Tyler, Fraser Franks, Steve McNulty, Jake Howells, Scott Griffiths, Cameron McGeehan, Luke Guttridge (Matt Robinson 77), Ronnie Henry (C), Paul Benson (Jon Shaw 64), Andre Gray (Alex Lawless 72), Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu.

Substitutes not used: Anthony Charles, Elliot Justham.

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Red Dragons (4-3-3): Andy Coughlin, Neil Ashton, Danny Livesey, Joe Clarke, Brett Ormerod, Dean Keates (Joe Anyinsah 66), Steve Tomassen, Rob Ogleby (Andy Bishop 72), Johnny Hunt, Robert Evans, Mark Carrington.

Substitutes not used: Joslain Mayebi, Stephen Wright, David Artell.

Booked: Hunt 59; Ashton 90+3.

Referee: J Amey.

Assistant Referees: A Howson and M Hutchinson.

Fourth Official: J Smith.

Attendance: 7,526 (Wrexham 124).

Star Hatter: Luke Guttridge. Pulled all the strings and his finishes oozed confidence.

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