Hatters head home from Rovers empty-handed
League One: Doncaster Rovers 2 Luton Town 1
Luton saw their four game unbeaten run ended in hugely frustrating fashion as they went down 2-1 at Doncaster Rovers this afternoon, a game they should never have lost.
The stats alone tell a story, Luton with 14 corners to the hosts two, with 10 attempts on goal by the visitors as well, as they deserved a point at the very least from proceedings.
However, defensive lapses once again proved costly, Luton conceding early in both halves to ensure the Hatters remain without a win on their travels in League One this term.
Town boss Nathan Jones made two changes to his side from the 1-1 draw at Wycombe last weekend, Harry Cornick in to partner James Collins upfront, while Jorge Grant was back, Andrew Shinnie and James Justin dropping to the bench.
There was also a place among the substitutes for Aaron Jarvis and Harry Isted for the first time this season after impressing during Tuesday night's Checkatrade Trophy win over Brighton U21s.
With the manager's words no doubt ringing in their ears about making a good start and not conceding first, the visitors then went and did the exact opposite, falling behind on six minutes.
Once again it was all their own doing, winger Matty Blair allowed the freedom of the Keepmoat Stadium to cut in from the right flank, run and run, and then send a left footer from 22 yards beyond James Shea, the sixth time in seven league games Town have trailed in the first half.
Luton tried to mount an instant response, winning two corners, Elliot Lee seeing a shot charged down, before James Coppinger tried to double the advantage, his effort easy for Shea.
James Collins went close when the ball ricocheted into his path as he went for the top corner when he could have advanced, angling a shot straight at Marko Marosi.
The keeper was back in action on 20 minutes, scrambling across to parry Grant's accurate free kick that was destined for the bottom corner, Dan Potts heading Lee's dinked cross from the rebound over.
Jones' side went on to enjoy a period of dominance for the remainder of the half, Collins fed by Lee, his low attempt fielded by Marosi.
The visitors fashioned plenty of overlaps on the right hand side throughout the first period, but time and time again, they just couldn't pick out a team-mate in the box.
Jack Stacey's delivery was just beyond the sliding Grant, while Andrew nodded Potts' cross from the other side away in the nick of time.
Matty Pearson went for the direct route, firing in a cross that Marosi fisted away unconvincingly, Grant's drive seeing Luton win a ninth corner of the first half with most left.
Finally a set-piece paid off, Potts rising highest to meet Grant's delivery, Lee left unmarked to nod over the line from close range for his third of the season.
With Town all set to go and look for the three points in the second period, all the hard work to get back on level terms was criminally wasted just 35 seconds in.
Once again it was a goal of sheer simplicity too, a deep cross wasn't cleared by Potts, the loose ball falling to the unmarked Ben Whiteman, his shot deflecting past Shea to make it 2-1.
Mallik Wilks was off target, as was Andrew, while Luton attempted to restore parity yet again, Cornick's sidefooter blocked, Grant scuffing the rebound well wide.
The superb Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu was then agonisingly away from a leveller, doing brilliantly to win the ball at the byline, his low effort flashing across goal.
Rovers somehow didn't have a third on 70 minutes to surely kill Luton's challenge off, John Marquis charging forward and sending sub Alfie May away, his cross put wide by Coppinger.
Luton pressed again, Potts' striking too close to Marosi, while Sonny Bradley just couldn't get on the end of Pearson's header from another Grant free kick.
Rea went even closer than most in the final minute of normal time, his sidefooter from replacement Eunan O'Kane's low corner into the side-netting, meaning try as they might, Town just couldn't fashion that equaliser.
Rovers: Marko Marosi, Niall Mason, Danny Andrew, Joe Wright, Andy Butler (C), Mallik Wilks (Alfie May 62), Ben Whiteman, John Marquis, Herbie Kane (Jermaine Anderson 75), Matty Blair, James Coppinger (Paul Taylor 81).
Subs not used: Ian Lawlor, Tom Anderson, Alfie Beestin, Cody Prior.
Hatters: James Shea, Jack Stacey, Matty Pearson, Sonny Bradley, Dan Potts, Glen Rea (C), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Jorge Grant (Aaron Jarvis 85), Elliot Lee, Harry Cornick, James Collins (Eunan O'Kane 76).
Subs not used: Harry Isted, Alan McCormack, Alan Sheehan, James Justin, Andrew Shinnie, Aaron Jarvis.
Booked: Collins 35, Wright 55, Blair 61, Marosi 90.
Referee: Tom Nield.
Attendance: 7,526 (1,013 Luton).