Luton beaten by Forest to suffer a 10th successive away league defeat
Championship: Nottingham Forest 3 Luton Town 1
Luton Town's familiar failings on the road saw them fall to a 10th successive away league defeat for the first time since the 1927-28 season, with a 3-1 reverse at Nottingham Forest this afternoon.
The Hatters had given themselves every chance of ending that miserable run on their travels, leading through Harry Cornick's seventh goal of the season, only to see the defensive problems that have blighted their campaign rear their ugly head once more, conceding three times to their promotion-chasing hosts.
Hatters chief Graeme Jones made three changes to his side from the 2-1 defeat to Birmingham, Glen Rea starting his first league game in over a year, while Ryan Tunnicliffe and Dan Potts returned, Andrew Shinnie, Luke Berry and Donervon Daniels dropping to the bench.
Town made a bright start to proceedings, settling well, with Kazenga LuaLua once more winning a number of fouls and James Bree's dangerous free kick narrowly eluding Matty Pearson at the far post.
For once, Luton were causing problems from their set-pieces and another led to a great opportunity on 11 minutes, when Bree produced another delivery and Potts rose highest, unfortunately clearing the bar with his follow up.
It was a game of set-plays in the opening 15 minutes, Forest's Michael Dawson directing his header off target from a deep corner.
Town then had the lead on 23 minutes with a wonderful move on the left hand side. Simon Sluga picked out LuaLua with his goal kick and rather than take anyone on himself, the attacker found Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu.
He threaded a pass through to the onrushing Potts, who looked up to pick out Cornick, the striker firing into the bottom corner.
Town were indebted to Sluga on 29 minutes, as Joe Lolley's corner was flicked goalwards by Pearson, the keeper parrying excellently and then collecting the following cross.
Albert Adomah shanked well wide as Forest responded well to going behind, with Tiago Silva swivelling to shoot over the bar after another quick break.
They were level on 37 minutes in controversial fashion after another quickfire counter which came from home keeper Brice Samba just beating Cornick to a cross from James Collins.
As the ball came out, LuaLua was clearly pushed to the ground by Ben Watson, only for referee Tony Harrington to wave play on.
The ball was transferred to the other end where Potts, so good for the Luton goal, backed off and off, as the shot from Lolley eventually came in and went tamely underneath the sprawling Sluga.
Town's keeper then made a fine stop on the stroke of half time from Dawson's downward header at the far post, as Luton's back-line threw their bodies on the line to prevent Forest from taking a lead into the interval.
After the break, Lolley sent an effort into the stands, before Jones was dealt another injury blow, Cornick having to go off, George Moncur replacing him.
Luton were behind on 57 minutes when the ball was transferred wide to Lolley, with Potts once more allowing him to cut on to his favoured left foot just inside the box and swerve a shot beyond the grasp of Sluga.
Once the hosts had the advantage, they always looked comfortably in control, Sammy Ameobi coming off the bench to fire a low effort that deflected just wide, with Lolley almost grabbing his hat-trick, Town getting back, just, to prevent him doing so.
Hatters did come close to levelling with nine minutes to go, Collins finally manoeuvring some space to drive forward and shoot low, Samba unconvincingly finger-tipping behind.
The visitors' misery was completed in the 90th minute though when captain Sonny Bradley handled Tiago Silva's free kick in the area and Lewis Grabban sent Sluga the wrong way from the penalty spot to make it 3-1.
Forest: Brice Samba, Yuri Ribeiro, Joe Worrall, Lewis Grabban, Ben Watson, Matty Cash, Michael Dawson ©, Samba Sow, Joe Lolley (Ryan Yates 83) Tiago Silva (Joao Carvalho 90), Albert Adomah (Sammy Ameobi 67).
Subs not used: Jordan Smith, Carl Jenkinson, Alfa Semedo, Chema Rodriguez.
Hatters: Simon Sluga, James Bree, Dan Potts, Matty Pearson, Sonny Bradley (C), Glen Rea (Elliot Lee 72), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Kazenga LuaLua, Harry Cornick (George Moncur 50), James Collins.
Subs not used: James Shea, Luke Berry, Andrew Shinnie, Luke Bolton, Donervon Daniels.
Booked: Rea, Tunnicliffe, Potts.
Referee: Tony Harrington.
Attendance: 27,081 (1,554 Luton).