Party time for the Hatters as late goals secure final home win

Danny Hylton celebrates putting the Hatters 1-0 in front this afternoon
Danny Hylton celebrates putting the Hatters 1-0 in front this afternoon

League Two: Luton Town 3 Forest Green Rovers 1

Late goals from Olly Lee and Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu ensured the Hatters brought the curtain down on life in League Two at Kenilworth Road in style this afternoon.

It had looked like the hosts were going to be denied a victory in front of their own fans by the plucky visitors, who had by far the better of the second period, until Lee swept home from inside the area and then Mpanzu added the late gloss.

At half time, you couldn't see anything other than a comfortable home win for Luton, who absolutely dominated proceedings, with visiting keeper Cameron Belford easily the stand-out performer.

Luton, who named an unchanged side for the fourth game running, had the ball in the net through striker James Collins on nine minutes from Mpanzu's whipped cross, but did so with one of the most blatant handballs you could wish to see, rightly booked by official Lee Collins.

Mpanzu then went alone on his left foot, shanking wide, before a combination of Danny Hylton and Dan Potts were denied in stunning fashion from a spreadeagled starfish save by Belford.

The Rovers stopper demonstrated excellent reflexes to repel Hylton's point blank effort from the ensuing corner too, as the scores somehow remained level.

Visiting striker Christian Doidge served notice of his talents, with an effort easily stopped by James Shea, before Luton moved ahead in the 20th minute.

Elliot Lee, who was superb in the first half at the tip of the diamond, showed great vision and weight of pass to set Collins away on the left.

He advanced on goal and although his effort was again parried by Belford, there was no stopping Hylton, who gleefully tucked the rebound home for his 50th Luton goal.

Belford was to prove Town's nemesis once more, Jack Stacey's deflected cross missed by Collins, with Hylton nipping in to prod goalwards, the keeper's legs again getting in the way.

He proved just as competent with his hands, when Elliot Lee twisted and turned before unloading from 20 yards, the stopper flying to his left this time to palm away.

Town weathered a brief spell of pressure from the visitors, Glen Rea making a brave block, but as half time approached, Luton upped the tempo.

Mpanzu broke on to Elliot Lee's pass and sent Hylton through, who cut back on to his left, only to find Belford in top form once more, with Collins inches away from Stacey's low cross at the far post.

Scott Laird's daisycutter was kept out by Shea, while after the break, the hosts made an uncustomary poor start, gifting possession and territory to Rovers.

They made them pay too when Doidge took Reece Brown's pass and with no tackle coming in, had time to pick his spot beyond Shea, which he did with ruthless ease.

Town couldn't find their way back up the gears during the second period, as they didn't enjoy anywhere near the amount of dominance they had in the first period.

It almost proved costly, Reuben Reid inches away, while Shea had to claw away Brown's low effort, with Doidge swivelling to put another effort over.

Town were struggling to create any chances of note, but with Mpanzu dragging the hosts on to the front foot, they managed to get the party into full swing with five minutes to go.

Harry Cornick, on as a late sub, found some space on the right and his low cross was turned in by Olly Lee for a ninth goal of the season.

Within moments, there even more reasons to celebrate, Mpanzu taking aim from 20 yards, his drive deflecting into the corner of the net.

Glen Rea almost had a fourth in stoppage time, but Hatters had done enough and even news of the title going to Lancashire, with Accrington beating Lincoln 1-0, could do nothing to dampen the spirits of the 10,000 crowd, who are in for yet another good night.

Hatters: James Shea, Jack Stacey, Dan Potts, Glen Rea, Alan Sheehan (C), Alan McCormack (Scott Cuthbert 90), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Olly Lee, Elliot Lee, Danny Hylton, James Collins (Harry Cornick 82).

Subs not used: Marek Stech, James Justin, Luke Gambin, Jake Jervis, Flynn Downes.

Rovers: Cameron Belford, Scott Laird, Lee Collins (C), Dayle Grubb (Reuben Reid 59), Christian Doidge, Reece Brown (Tahvon Campbell 85), Gavin Gunning, Farrend Rawson, Chris Clements (Charlie Cooper 64), Haydn Hollis, Isaiah Osbourne.

Subs not used: Jordan Simpson, Daniel Wishart, Harry Pickering, Sam Hendy.

Referee: Lee Collins.

Booked: Collins 9, Hylton 26, McCormack 58, Collins 67, Mpanzu 90, Gunning 90.

Attendance: 10,029 (117 Forest Green).

Hatters MOM: Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu. Drove the side on and scored at the death.