Luton edged out by Cherries despite a valiant second half display
Championship: Bournemouth 2 Luton Town 1
A spirited second half performance from Luton failed to earn the visitors what would have been a deserved point at promotion favourites Bournemouth this afternoon.
The Hatters had trailed 2-0 going into the break against a home side who looked increasingly capable of adding to their tally when the teams swapped ends for the second period.
However, Town emerged from the interval a different team, taking the game to their hosts from the word go, pulling one back thanks to Lloyd Kelly's own goal midway through, but this time, couldn't quite find the equaliser, beaten for the first time in over a month.
The Hatters made one change for the clash, Jordan Clark in for Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu who missed out due to an injury, while Sonny Bradley and Amari'i Bell were fit enough to return to the bench.
Bournemouth kept an unchanged side from their 1-0 win at Cardiff City, with former Hatter Jack Stacey only able to get a place on the bench.
For the first time in four games, there were no last-minute alteration for Town either in their starting line-up or on the bench, as they moved away from their five man defence, Kal Naismith out to left back and Gabe Osho in the holding role.
The visitors started well, Elijah Adebayo and Luke Berry both forcing the Cherries defence into vital clearances, while Bournemouth's only real opening saw Ryan Christie's tame effort easy for Simon Sluga.
Town then had a marvellous chance to open the scoring on 14 minutes, one they simply had to take, as Harry Cornick was played in on the right hand side, picking out Adebayo just three yards from goal.
With the whole ground waiting for the net to bulge, somehow the forward got it all wrong, not even remotely close to hitting the target, ending up shooting against his standing foot, slicing way over the bar.
He was unlucky moments later, charging down a clearance from keeper Mark Travers, only to see the ball fortunately spin back to the Cherries' stopper who was able to gather.
Typically, Bournemouth made Town pay almost immediately, as a delicate dinked cross into the box by Christie was tucked home on the volley by Philip Billing.
Boosted by the goal, the Cherries then started to take control of the encounter, although Luton did threaten a leveller with half an hour gone, Tom Lockyer meeting Henri Lansbury's cross and sending it well wide of the target.
Despite not creating a great deal, the hosts had a second with 32 gone, and another of sheer simplicity as well, a short corned worked back to the impressive Christie and he was the provider again, with a chipped cross nodded back past Sluga by top scorer Dominic Solanke.
The hosts almost had a third on 39 minutes, Sluga slipping when trying to clera Osho's backpass, the ball going straight to Jefferson Lerma, whose effort hit the covering midfielder and flew inches wide.
Jaidon Anthony was also off target, while Town finally won the ball back in enemy territory, but James Bree rushed his 25-yarder, skewing well wide of the target.
Town made one change at the break, Bell replacing Osho, as the Hatters began brightly, winning two corners, with Adebayo's fierce cross only just cleared away.
Luton almost halved the deficit on 50 minutes, when Henri Lansbury's dangerous free kick flicked off defender Adam Smith and would have flown in, but for a terrific reflex save by Travers who managed to stick out a glove and parry.
The Cherriers keeper then had to tip over another driven cross by Adebayo as the Hatters continued to dominate, winning a number of corners.
Finally, Luton got the goal they deserved on 64 minutes, although there was a touch of fortune about it, Lockyer's flick setting Berry clear on the right.
His cross was missed by Reece Burke, who had stayed up, from a few yards, with Cherries defender Kelly unable to stop himself diverting it into the roof of the net.
Jones threw on Carlos Mendes Gomes and Cameron Jerome in a bid to beef up the visitors attacking outlets in the final 20 minutes, with the former sending a rising left footer over.
With nine remaining, the excellent Lansbury delivered another deep free kick from the right, Naismith meeting it only to see Travers gather low down.
Town then fashioned an even better opening, Clark picking out the unmarked Adebayo, whose wasteful afternoon continued, directing his header wide.
Naismith sent a swerving effort into the gloves of Travers, as the game went into stoppage time, with Town this time unable to repeat their heroics at Blackburn and Bristol City, and snatch a point.
Cherries: Mark Travers, Lloyd Kelly, Jefferson Lerma, Dominic Solanke (Jamal Lowe 90), Ryan Christie (Chris Mepham 79), Adam Smith, Ben Pearson, Gary Cahill, Philip Billing, Jaidon Anthony (Morgan Rogers 73), Jordan Zemura.
Subs not used: Orjan Nyland, Jack Stacey, David Brooks, Emiliano Marcondes.
Hatters: Simon Sluga, James Bree, Kal Naismith (C), Reece Burke, Tom Lockyer, Gabe Osho (Amari'i Bell 46), Henri Lansbury, Jordan Clark, Luke Berry (Carlos Mendes Gomes 71), Harry Cornick (Cameron Jerome 75) Elijah Adebayo.
Subs not used: James Shea, Dion Pereira, Sonny Bradley, Glen Rea.
Bookings: Pearson 49.
Referee: Tim Robinson.