Collins bags a hat-trick as five star Luton destroy Plymouth
League One: Luton Town 5 Plymouth Argyle 1
Striker James Collins scored a hat-trick as Luton simply blew Plymouth away with a truly wonderful performance at Kenilworth Road this afternoon.
The first 45 minutes was just simply breathtaking to watch for the majority of the 10,000 inside the ground as Luton just dominated their shell-shocked opponents, almost toying with them at times, leading 4-0 at the interval.
It could easily have been much more such was the manner in which the Hatters sliced through the Pilgrims' back-line, playing with a confidence and swagger that left home supporters positively drooling at the football on display.
Keeping an unchanged side from the team who beat Wycombe in the FA Cup last weekend, the Hatters tore into the Pilgrims from the word go, Elliot Lee firing over the bar from 20 yards.
Ex-Hatters loanee Matt Macey made a superb close range save from Harry Cornick to prevent Luton moving in front, sticking out a long leg to deflect his close range strike wide.
From the resulting corner, Matty Pearson should have given Luton the lead, his header skewing wide, with Collins also curling off target.
Town did get the just rewards on 12 minutes with a glorious team move, Lee picking the ball up and powering forward, James Justin creating the overlap on the left.
Lee timed his ball wide to perfection, as Justin didn't break stride, picking out Collins who had peeled away from his markers, slotting into the bottom corner with his left foot.
Against a team who have proved obdurate opponents in recent times, Luton not winning in the league since 2003, Town made sure they asserted their dominance on 22 minutes, winning the ball on half way.
Jack Stacey sped away, finding Cornick to his right inside the area, his effort across Macey only parried, with Lee there to sidefoot the rebound, just, over the line from a few yards.
Luton were in dreamland seven minutes later as an excellent spell of possession saw Shinnie find Cornick popping up on the left this time.
With the visitors completely stopping for an offside flag that never came, he crossed for Justin to toepoke home for a third goal inside half an hour.
Cornick almost had a fourth, unable to lob Macey , while another breathtaking passing move involving Lee, who had the ball on a string at times, saw Justin through, Macey coming to the rescue this time.
Lee then went on his own after 40 minutes, beating Macey but just missing the bottom corner.
However, Town did have a fourth moments, Justin charging down a clearance in the area and setting up Collins whose attempt was charged down.
However, eagle-eyed referee Darren England spotted Justin had been taken out after the ball had gone, awarding Town a spot kick that Collins thumped home.
After the break, Collins thought he had another penalty after going to ground under a challenge from Yann Songo'o, but nothing was doing this time.
Argyle then mounted what could be described as their first real semblance of slight pressure, Graham Carey shooting over when well placed.
Luton were soon back on the front foot, Sonny Bradley close to a goal against his former side, seeing a header flipped over by Macey.
However, they understandably couldn't quite repeat the heights of that first half, as Argyle almost pulled one back, sub Ryan Taylor seemingly destined to score at the far post, until James Shea intervened to parry behind.
With 13 minutes to go, Collins did have that treble, picked out by a superb Lee dink over the top, with the flag staying down for once, he took a touch, steadied himself, finishing emphatically with the outside of his right foot.
Luton hunted for a sixth, Rea's long ranger saved, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu whizzing wide and then forcing Macey to tip over, as he also ungainly scrambled Lee's low shot behind.
Argyle gave the the travelling fans who had stayed behind something to shout out with a minute to go, Joel Grant blasting home from outside the box, but the cheers emanating from the Oak Road End were definitely in the ironic category.
Luton almost finished with a first league goal for sub Aaron Jarvis, leaping well to direct his header inches wide, but few who were there, will forget the wonderful afternoon they spent inside Kenilworth Road.
Hatters: James Shea, Jack Stacey, James Justin, Matty Pearson, Sonny Bradley, Glen Rea (C), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Andrew Shinnie (Jorge Grant 80), Elliot Lee , James Collins (Aaron Jarvis 84), Harry Cornick (Kazenga LuaLua 80).
Subs not used: Marek Stech, Alan McCormack, Dan Potts, Alan Sheehan.
Argyle: Matt Macey, Yann Songo'o, Jamie Ness (Ryan Taylor 36), Antoni Sarcevic, David Fox (C), Graham Carey (Ruben Lameira 78), Niall Canavan, Joel Grant, Freddie Ladapo (Stuart O'Keefe 46), Tafari Moore, Ashley Smith-Brown.
Subs not used: Gregg Wylde, Kyle Letheren, Peter Grant, Ryan Law.
Booked: O'Keefe 50, Carey 74.
Referee: Darren England.
Attendance: 10,004 (871 Argyle).