League Two: Shrewsbury Town 2 Luton Town 0
Luton Town suffered a thoroughly disappointing and demoralising defeat to Shrewsbury Town at the Greenhous Meadow this afternoon.
Hatters were behind early on in the contest to Jordan Clark’s neat finish and never seriously threatened a comeback, while they were reduced to 10 men late on when Matt Robinson was sent off.
Boss John Still had made two changes as Andy Drury missed out with a rib injury, while Alex Lacey was dropped to the bench.
Luke Guttridge came in after his game-changing display at Accrington and Jim Stevenson made his full Football League debut.
Scott Griffiths didn’t make the squad due to his hamstring injury as Jake Howells remained at left back, with Ricky Miller on the bench for the first time.
After slamming his players for a poor start against Stanley last weekend, Town then made an even worse one as they were behind with just three minutes on the clock.
Having escaped the danger from one Connor Goldson long ball when Scott Vernon dallied, the skipper then sent over another raking pass which comprehensively beat Town’s defence.
This time Jordan Clark made no mistake, racing away to coolly slot under the advancing Tyler.
A shell-shocked Hatters tried to claw their way back into the game as Luke Rooney’s dangerous cross was missed by Mark Cullen and Paul Benson at full stretch.
The winger then went it alone when a corner was headed high into the air, before his afternoon was ended in baffling circumstance on 13 minutes.
As he had done against Accrington, Still opted to change formation, bringing Lacey on for the visibly disappointed Rooney, who spread his arms out in annoyance when passing his manager.
That saw Town move to a 3-5-2 formation, with Lacey part of the new-look back-line, but the hosts remained on top as Vernon shot straight at Tyler from distance.
Luke Wilkinson bravely threw himself at a goalbound drive to deflect behind for a corner, but the Shrews kept on probing as Clark teed up Ryan Woods to sidefoot wide of the mark.
Whereas Benson and Cullen struggled to link up in the opening half, Vernon and Collins were having no such issues, with one neat move seeing the latter fire well over, while his next effort, a curler, was claimed by Tyler.
The home striker was having all the opportunities, as found unmarked in the box, he then scuffed low at Tyler when he should have done better.
With Shrews bossing possession, Hatters were reduced to long balls from defence and the odd counter attack.
They did finally retain the ball long enough to show some quality as Stevenson sent Cullen away on the flank and his cross was turned behind for a corner that ultimately led to nothing.
Hatters then started to enjoy some territory and Robinson let fly from 25 yards, with Jayson Leutwiler springing to his left to parry.
Shrews then almost added a second on the stroke of half time as Collins glanced a left wing cross narrowly wide.
After the break, Luton threatened an immediate response as the towering Jermaine Grandison only just reached Cullen’s lofted cross ahead of Benson.
Hatters were then indebted to a stunning Tyler stop to keep them level. The visitors were sliced open through the middle and when the ball was worked wide, Vernon crossed on to the head of Collins, but somehow Tyler clawed the ball over from a yard out.
Vernon then glanced off target, but the introduction of Ross Lafayette for Cullen just before the hour, appeared to pep up both Town’s players and travelling contingent.
Guttridge was then forced off after a heavy challenge left him rather worringly hobbling around the pitch and moments later it looked like it was game over on 70 minutes.
Shrews won a free kick on the right which was swung under the bar as Tyler blotted is copybook by fumbling it into the net.
Town’s stopper appealed to referee Peter Bankes that he was impeded by Collins, but the cries fell on deaf ears and the goal stood.
It could and should have got worse for Hatters as Vernon volleyed against the bar from a yard and then headed the rebound over.
Collins had a snapshot turned over by Tyler, before Luton were reduced to 10 men with eight minutes to go as Robinson was shown a straight red for a lunging challenge on Cameron Gayle
Home sub Jean-Louis Akpa Akrpo waltzed through and saw his attempt repelled by Tyler, while fellow replacement Andy Robinson blasted over as Town trooped off a well beaten side.
Shrews: Jayson Leutwiler, Jermaine Grandison, Mickey Demetriou, Ryan Woods, Connor Goldson (C), James Collins (Josh Ginnelly 90), Scott Vernon (Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro 77), Cameron Gayle, James Wesolowski, Nathanial Knight-Percival, Jordan Clark (Andy Robinson 86).
Subs not used: Callum Burton, Mark Ellis, Anthony Griffiths, James Caton.
Hatters: Mark Tyler, Paul Connolly, Jake Howells, Steve McNulty (C), Luke Wilkinson, Matt Robinson, Jim Stevenson, Luke Rooney (Alex Lacey 13), Luke Guttridge (Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu 68), Mark Cullen (Ross Lafayette 58), Paul Benson.
Subs not used: Elliot Justham, Alex Wall, Ricky Miller, Curtley Williams.
Booked: Connolly 90.
Sent off: M Robinson 82.
Attendance: 5,888 (1,037 Luton)
Star Hatter: Alex Lacey, good response after he was subbed early last week.