League One: Fleetwood 1 Luton Town 2
Luton Town's class of 2018-19 wrote their names into the record books after going a truly sensational 20 Football League games without defeat with a 2-1 win at Fleetwood Town this afternoon.
The Hatters went into the game knowing they were 90 minutes from making history and they did so with two goals of varying quality, George Moncur's wonder free kick, followed by home keeper Alex Cairns' howler allowing Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu to score.
Up against a home side who took their physical approach to the extreme at times, particularly in the first half, seeing four players booked, the Hatters gave a masterclass in how to play when out of possession, pressing the life out of their opponents at times, to make it six straight wins.
With third placed Portsmouth letting a 3-0 lead slip to draw 3-3 at Southend prior to kick-off, Town knew victory would strengthen their position at the top even further.
Boss Mick Harford made one change, Moncur making his league debut for Town in place of Luke Berry, while Elliot Lee and Kazenga LuaLua were fit enough for the bench.
On a tricky playing surface, after Ross Wallace's long ranger was simple for James Shea, Luton settled by far the better, starting to get their passing football going.
James Justin's clever low corner picked out Andrew Shinnie perfectly, his drive drawing an excellent block.
The hosts were certainly flying into their challenges, Ross Wallace seeing yellow for a poor challenge on Shinnie, James Husband fortunate to escape a booking after going through Alan McCormack.
Town looked to have their hosts under control, only appearing in danger when Shea came out of his box to clear, Wallace's instinctive volley deflecting behind off Sonny Bradley.
Paddy Madden then volleyed wildly over at the back post from another corner, as the Hatters couldn't create any real goalscoring opportunity,
With the hosts picking up bookings like they were going out of fashion, while Alan McCormack talked himself into the referee's notebook, another poor tackle led to Town taking the lead.
Danny Hylton's clever backheel sent Alan McCormack through the middle and he found Jack Stacey to his right, fouled by Jason Holt, who was cautioned.
Like he had done against Portsmouth recently, James Justin dummied the free kick, Moncur wrapping his foot around the set-piece, sending it beyond Alex Cairns and into the top corner, undoubtedly a better strike than he had netted in that Pompey encounter.
He saw yellow though for his celebration in front of the home fans, as Fleetwood tried to hit back, Wallace well wide from distance.
After the break, Luton were gifted a second five minutes into the second half when Mpanzu took aim from 25 yards.
True, there was a degree of power behind his snapshot, but it was straight at Cairns, who somehow managed to spill the shot through his legs and into the net for the midfielder's second goal of the season.
Shea saved well from James Husband after he advanced into the area, but Luton, who continued to harrying and close down their opponents, Collins to the fore once more, continued to look for a clinching third.
They should have been out of sight with 14 minutes to go, as the excellent McCormack charged down a clearance leaving Town with a two one one break.
He found Stacey of all people overlapping on the left flank, the defender dinking past Cairns for sub Elliot Lee in the middle, who took a touch only to see his fierce attempt from two yards out blocked by Ashley Hunter.
Shea then had to keep his wits about him to bravely block from Ched Evans after Hunter's penetrating cross beat Justin, the hosts finally finding a way through Town's watertight defence.
Luton continued to show their desire for and work-rate for each other, when Stacey was well challenged breaking forward and Fleetwood attempted to counter, Collins of all people popped up in the right back position to clear.
Late on, Madden's strike was blocked by George Thorne, while he then put a decent chance over at the far post, as time ticked away.
The hosts did have one back in stoppage time after the away defence switched off for the first time, Evans allowed to head a cross over to Madden who volleyed beyond Shea.
Madden almost nipped in to salvage a point, Shea letting the ball run behind as Town managed the final moments expertly to further cement their position at the top of the table with just 13 games to go now.
Fleetwood: Alex Cairns, Lewie Coyle, Jason Holt (Ashley Nadesan 58), Ashley Eastham ©, Wes Burns, Ched Evans, Harry Souttar, Paddy Madden, Ross Wallace (Ashley Hunter 76), James Husband, Jack Sowerby (Nathan Sheron 84).
Subs not used: Paul Jones, Craig Morgan, Harrison Biggins, Gerard Garner.
Hatters: James Shea, Jack Stacey, James Justin, Matty Pearson, Sonny Bradley (C), Alan McCormack (George Thorne 83), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Andrew Shinnie, George Moncur (Elliot Lee 68), James Collins, Kazenga, Danny Hylton (Alan Sheehan 86).
Subs not used: Harry Isted, Dan Potts, Kazenga LuaLua, Jason Cummings.
Booked: Wallace 14, Sowerby 26, Burns 36, McCormack 37, Holt 39, Moncur 42, Collins 74.
Referee: Peter Bankes.
Attendance: 3,651 (1,048 Luton).