Wonderful second half display sees Luton come from 2-0 down to beat Bristol City
Championship: Bristol City 2 Luton 3
A tremendous second half display saw Luton come back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 for the second time this season with a marvellous victory at Bristol City.
After a bitterly disappointing opening period which saw the Hatters fail to ever get going with a display miles away from the kind they had produced against Watford and Reading, Nathan Jones' side turned things around in the second period, thanks to three goals in 16 minutes from James Collins, Elijah Adebayo and Harry Cornick's long overdue first of the season.
The Hatters were unchanged for the contest from their goalless draw with Reading on Wednesday night, and had made the early running, Adebayo's fierce shot earning what looked like a generous with keeper Dan Bentley not looking like he got a touch.
True enough, referee John Busby then blew for an apparent infringement on the City stopper that only he saw when the set-piece was delivered by Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and bundled into the net, the goal predictably chalked off.
A low quality beginning saw Nahki Wells drag his shot wide from 20 yards as both sides struggled to create any clear-cut opportunities, while the Robins striker was then denied by a brave save from Simon Sluga, who took his shot flush in the face after he raced on to Steven Sessegnon's ball over the top.
Town responded with their best moment in the opposition area, James Bree finding Jordan Clark, whose turn and shot flashed narrowly wide.
The opening goal then arrived, somewhat out of nothing on 32 minutes as after a lengthy spell of possession, a ball on the right saw Naismith rashly attempt to win it in front of his man.
Unable to, he was then caught out of position, leaving a vast gap in behind, allowing Adam Nagy to drive into the area, where he found Wells who clinically drilled an angled attempt past Sluga.
Wells then fluffed a great chance to make it 2-0, as with Luton caught square by a lofted ball over the top, he was picked out in the area, only to volley it back where it came from, complaining of a push by Sonny Bradley.
Town didn't heed the warning though, as on 38 minutes Henri Lansbury's free kick was met by Tomas Kala, who found the unmarked Wells.
His header was well saved by Sluga, but Town's defence couldn't react quickly enough, Nagy first to the loose ball to slot home the second.
Hatters might have had a response on the stroke of half time, Naismith's cross met by Bree whose bouncing volley landed invitingly for Clark, his header drawing a fine reaction stop from Bentley.
Jones reacted to a well below par first half showing, bringing on Collins and Cornick for Tunnicliffe and LuaLua at the break and Luton looked a different side from the word go.
The alterations almost made an instant impact, Cornick's long causing danger, as both Collins and Adebayo couldn't turn it in, City just about hacking clear, before Collins put his header over the top.
City hunted a third though, Han-Noah Massengo getting his control all wrong inside the area, as Sluga fingertipped Tommy Conway's effort away.
Luton then had a way back into the game just before the hour mark as a corner from the right was speared in by Dewsbury-Hall as Collins escaped his marker to get the merest of touches and divert it into the net for his 13th of the season.
Town then levelled on 68 minutes when another cross from Dewsbury-Hall was met by an impudent sidefooted flick by Adebayo that hit the base of the post and dribbled over the line to make it 2-2.
Robins boss Nigel Pearson responded with a quadruple substitution in a bid to breathe new life into his side, but before any of the new players had a chance to make an impact, Luton had completed their turnaround, to move 3-2 in front on 74 minutes.
Dewsbury-Hall was involved again, his long range shot rebounding kindly for Cornick who was able to spin and beat Bentley on his left foot to end his long 45-game search for a goal, with his first of the season, and first since scoring at Leeds on June 30.
Massengo volleyed well over as a shell-shocked home side were now searching for an equaliser, a position that hadn't looked likely at half time.
Collins had a real chance to put the result beyond doubt with seven minutes left, but volleyed into the ground after Cornick's long throw flicked off a home defender's head.
The hosts thought they had rescued a point with two minutes left, Conway prodding the ball over the line from close range, only for a flag raised by the assistant referee to halt his celebrations.
With no further alarms in the final seconds, Town were able to leapfrog both Stoke City and Millwall to sit 11th in the able, with the top 10 position that Jones is hunting, now well within reach.
Robins: Dan Bentley, Adam Nagy (Nathan Baker 71), Henri Lansbury (Alex Scott 71), Nahki Wells (Antoine Semenyo 71), Tomas Kalas (C), Tommy Rowe (Jack Hunt 71), Zak Wyner, Tyreeq Bakinson (Saikou Janneh 86), Tommy Conway, Han-Noah Massengo, Steven Sessegnon.
Subs not used: Max O'Leary, Adrian Mariappa, Sam Pearson, Kasey Palmer.
Hatters: Simon Sluga, James Bree, Kal Naismith, Matty Pearson, Sonny Bradley ©, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Ryan Tunnicliffe (Harry Cornick 46), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Jordan Clark (Dan Potts 86), Kazenga LuaLua (James Collins 46), Elijah Adebayo (Glen Rea 86).
Subs not used: James Shea, Martin Cranie, George Moncur, Joe Morrell, Sam Nombe.
Referee: John Busby.