Heartache for Hatters as Vassell wins it at the death for Bluebirds

Action from the Hatters' clash with Cardiff this afternoon
Action from the Hatters' clash with Cardiff this afternoon

Championship: Cardiff City 2 Luton Town 1

Former Hatter Isaac Vassell popped up with a stoppage time winner as Cardiff earned a late, late victory against Luton Town this afternoon.

It had looked like the visitors were going to leave Wales with a valiant point, Matty Pearson equalising with just five minutes to go.

But Vassell, who signed for the Bluebirds from Birmingham City on deadline day and had only been on the pitch for a matter of seconds, rose highest to flick home Junior Hoilett's excellent cross at the death to nick it for Cardiff.

The manner of the defeat was harsh on Graeme Jones' side, who once more didn't look out of their depth throughout the 90 minutes, showing that they are more than capable of plying their trade at this level.

However, one moment of poor marking from a set-piece and then Vassell's header meant that they left empty-handed.

Jones made two changes to his side from the 3-3 draw with Middlesbrough, Jacob Butterfield handed his full Luton debut, while George Moncur also came in, Elliot Lee and Andrew Shinnie dropping to the bench.

Deadline day signing James Bree was on the bench, although Izzy Brown and Luke Bolton weren't included.

City were almost in front within 60 seconds as a long ball over the top was misjudged by Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu.

Robert Glatzel fed Josh Murphy through on the left, his angled shot going wide, with Sonny Bradley managing to get out of the way of turning it into his own net.

Murphy went close moments later, as he was sprung through again with Town getting in a tangle clearing their lines, but on his right foot this time, fired into the side-netting.

Town looked to get to grips with proceedings, as Moncur and Dan Potts combined well for a free kick that was headed out as far as Callum McManaman, who volleyed over.

On 15 minutes, Town keeper Simon Sluga produced a terrific stop when Sean Morrison headed Joe Ralls' free kick goalwards, flicking out a glove to turn the effort on to the bar, the rebound nodded over.

Joe Ralls then fluffed his lines after breaking into the box, while chief architect Murphy delivered a low cross that Gavin Whyte couldn't convert at the back post.

The heavily-involved Murphy was shown a yellow on 21 minutes though, going down in the box under minimal pressure from Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, referee Darren Bond showing the £11m attacker a yellow for diving.

Town had their best chance of the half on 35 minutes, when Moncur sent Dan Potts away on the left and from his cut back, McManaman spun to shoot, the ball deflecting behind for a corner.

Cardiff tried to put some pressure on an increasingly assured looking visitors, Murphy trying his luck, only to find Bradley in the way once more.

Luton then had their best chance just before the break, as Moncur dug out an excellent cross from the left, McManaman unable to direct his header on target from eight yards out.

City then led on 52 minutes when a deep free kick was poorly defended by the Hatters, no-one picking up their men and Aden Flint was left all alone to prod past the exposed Sluga and break the deadlock.

Murphy went close to making it 2-0, as Sluga couldn't collect a header across goal, with the winger's volley cannoning behind for a corner.

Just as Cardiff looked like extending their advantage, Town, who brought on Harry Cornick for Moncur, should have levelled.

The substitute was released on the right, picked his head up well and found McManaman in the area who dallied far too long and was tackled by the covering Flint.

Mpanzu curled over, before the Town fans though they were celebrating an equaliser on 65 minutes, Cornick again doing well, getting to the byline and finding Collins whose snapshot flashed inches wide of the post.

City brought off the dangerous Murphy, replacing him with Junior Hoilett, whose first action was to send over a cross that Glatzel completely missed when unmarked.

Town introduced Bree for his debut in place of Cranie for the final 15 minutes as they hunted for that leveller.

They had it with five to go as well, Luke Berry on and swinging over a corner that Pearson majestically headed past Alex Smithies after timing his run to perfection.

City then came back strong, Luton unable to clear their lines or stop the ball being pumped into their box, Vassell taking full advantage to win it for the hosts.

Bluebirds: Alex Smithies, Lee Peltier, Joe Bennett, Sean Morrison (C), Aden Flint, Joe Ralls, Robert Glatzel (Isaac Vassell 90), Josh Murphy (Junior Hoilett 68), Callum Paterson, Marlon Pack, Gavin Whyte (Will Vaulks 75).

Subs not used: Joe Day, Leandro Bacuna, Curtis Nelson, Omar Bogle.

Hatters: Simon Sluga, Martin Cranie (James Bree 74), Dan Potts, Sonny Bradley, Matty Pearson, Jacob Butterfield (Luke Berry 85), Ryan Tunnicliffe, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, George Moncur (Harry Cornick 55), Callum McManaman, James Collins.

Subs not used: James Shea, Brendan Galloway, Andrew Shinnie, Elliot Lee.

Booked: Murphy 21, Paterson 45, Collins 61, Potts 90.

Referee: Darren Bond.

Attendance: 24,724.