League Two: Luton Town 0 Bristol Rovers 1
Luton Town conceded their second injury-time goal in the space of four days as they were beaten at home by League Two new boys Bristol Roverson Tuesday night.
With just seconds left on the clock, former Hatters youth teamer Stuart Sinclair was left completely unmarked to race through and fire past Mark Tyler, compounding what was a truly miserable evening for John Still’s side.
The hosts, for whom so much is expected after a summer of eye-catching transfer activity at Kenilworth Road, struggled to get up a head of steam throughout the entire 90 minutes, failing to test Pirates keeper Aaron Chapman with a single shot on target.
Although the season is still very much in its infancy and the new players naturally need time to bed in, the lack of tempo in Hatters’ performance and the seemingly bemused manner in which they went about their 3-5-2 formation has to be a cause for concern.
Boss John Still had opted for the same side who had drawn 2-2 with Oxford United at the weekend, but Hatters badly lacked the pizazz that was on show during Saturday’s encounter.
Once again it was Paddy McCourt behind their best moments early on, but unable to find the killer final ball to Craig Mackail-Smith and Paul Benson, he eventually opted to go it alone, dragging wide from 20 yards.
Rovers then enjoyed a decent spell of pressure as Luke Wilkinson was fortunate to avoid being sent off after he was adjudged to have fouled Daniel Leadbitter when he was the last man, although with his opponent clearly diving, it would have been a horrible injustice.
The Pirates continued to look the move lively, Jermaine Easter’s deflected drive flying wide and Tom Lockyer nodding narrowly off target.
Five minutes before the break the hosts were indebted to keeper Tyler for a crucial point blank save from Lee Brown’s close range effort.
There was no change to Town’s fortunes after the break as still they looked laboured and cumbersome, with Ellis Harrison wide from outside the box.
Changes were made as Jonathan Smith replaced a hobbling Nathan Doyle and Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu came on, but despite Luton finally enjoying possession, they couldn’t do anything with it.
McCourt once again was engineering all of Luton’s, what could be described as brightest moments, but after a delightful one-two with Benson, he broke into the area and slid his cross far too close to the underworked Chapman.
With the Kenilworth Road crowd’s frustration audible for all to hear, they then witnessed the hammer blow as with time running out, Sinclair broke away and coolly found the net, to leave Luton heading to Yeovil this weekend still searching for that first victory.
Hatters: Mark Tyler, Scott Cuthbert, Steve McNulty, Luke Wilkinson, Stephen O’Donnell, Cameron McGeehan (Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu 70), Nathan Doyle (Jonathan Smith 64), Paddy McCourt, Scott Griffiths, Paul Benson, Craig Mackail-Smith (Jack Marriott 76).
Subs not used: Dan Potts, Alex Lawless, Elliot Justham, Josh McQuoid.
Rovers: Aaron Chapman, Daniel Leadbitter, Lee Brown, Tom Lockyer, Tom Parkes, Ollie Clarke, Ellis Harrison, Chris Lines (C), James Clarke, Jermaine Easter (Matty Taylor 68), Stuart Sinclair.
Subs not used: Steve Mildenhall, Jake Gosling, Cristian Montano, Billy Bodin, Jay Malpas, Jeffrey Monakana.
Referee: Trevor Kettle.
Booked: Wilkinson 15, McCourt 55, Harrison 76.
Attendance: 8,061 (553 Rovers).
Hatters MOM: Steve McNulty. Captain is one of the few who can hold his head high.