Hatters top the table after awesome second half display

League Two: Exeter City 1 Luton Town 4

Tuesday, 17th October 2017, 11:30 pm
Updated Monday, 11th December 2017, 9:18 pm
James Collins is mobbed after making it 1-0 to Luton this evening
James Collins is mobbed after making it 1-0 to Luton this evening

Luton Town sent the clearest message yet that they mean serious business this season, taking promotion rivals Exeter City to the cleaners on their own patch this evening and climbing to the League Two summit.

Few would have seen this coming at half time, with the Grecians easily having the better of the first period, as Hatters could consider themselves very fortunate to be on level terms.

However, once Dan Potts put Luton back in front just moments after the break, Town then absolutely tore their hosts apart with a truly rampant display of attacking football.

They scored three goals in just nine minutes as a beleagured Exeter completely wilted under the incessant pressure from the visitors, who played some glorious stuff at times.

Prior to the game, boss Nathan Jones made two changes, recalling the available Potts for James Justin, with Alan Sheehan replacing Johnny Mullins in the centre of defence.

City were inches away from a dramatic opener after just 10 seconds, former Hatter Jayden Stockley hammering against the underside of the bar, with Reuben Reid's follow up saved by Marek Stech.

Jake Taylor sent an effort wide, but with Exeter on top, Town then took the lead out of nothing after eight minutes.

Luke Berry sent a long ball over the top for Harry Cornick who did wonderfully to outmuscle Craig Woodman and reach the byline before crossing low for James Collins to tuck home his eighth goal of the campaign.

Still Exeter threatened though, Dean Moxey heading wide from Pierce Sweeney's corner and Stech bravely out at the feet of Brown, with Lee Holmes volleying over too.

With 20 gone, Hatters went close to a second, Danny Hylton's low shot parried by a wrong-footed Christy Pym, the rebound hacked clear.

However, City were deservedly level on 22 minutes as Stockley flicked on for Taylor who, although had time and space to pick his spot, did it superbly, curling beyond Stech.

The Grecians should have been in front on the half hour, Brown's header at the back post saw Reid somehow miss from close range, with Jordan Tillson unable to convert.

Taylor fired over from 25 yards as City stepped up the pressure, although Town had huge penalty shouts when Jack Stacey was sent flying by Woodman, but official James Linington gave nothing.

With Stockley enjoying an aerial dominance over the Luton back-line not witnessed during his brief loan spell at Kenilworth Road, Jones opted to revert to a 3-5-2 formation to counteract the hosts threat, Glen Rea dropping in as part of a three man defence, allowing Town some precious and much-needed cover.

It gave Town a modicum of control, Hylton skying over from range, while Potts should have done better after rising to meet Sheehan's free kick, as he couldn't keep his header down and Cornick spun and shot straight at Pym.

Stockley then missed a glorious chance on the stroke of half time, glancing off target from five yards, and Sweeney also fluffed his lines from close range.

Whatever Jones said at the interval clearly worked though, as immediately after the restart, Luton were back in front.

Sheehan's corner saw headers back in from Olly Lee and then Scott Cuthbert, while with Hylton appealing for a penalty, Potts took matters in his own hands to smash in.

Rather than sit on their lead, Town sensed blood and a truly magnificent team goal saw the visitors sumptuously work the ball down the right and into the area, where Hylton fashioned a shooting chance and his effort deflected past Pym on 52 minutes.

Three then became four just four minutes later with another truly glorious goal, as a searching crossfield ball was controlled perfectly by Hylton.

He sent Collins clear on the left and from his cross, Cornick's downward header flew in, netting his first Luton goal in the process.

Still Town pressed, Hylton and Luke Berry looking for a fifth, but they then went into cruise control for the final half an hour, happy to keep their hosts at arms length for the remainder, easing to a fourth straight victory.

With Notts County losing to Crewe, it meant Town went top of the table with their seventh win in eight games, the four goals netted making it 16 in four matches as well, ahead of a trip to Crawley Town this weekend.

City: Christy Pym, Pierce Sweeney, Craig Woodman (Matt Jay 61), Lloyd James (C), Jordan Tillson, Lee Holmes (Kyle Edwards 71), Jayden Stockley, Dean Moxey, Jake Taylor, Reuben Reid (Liam McAlinden 61), Troy Brown.

Subs not used: James Hamon, Troy Archibald-Henville, Ryan Harley, Kane Wilson.

Hatters: Marek Stech, Jack Stacey, Dan Potts, Scott Cuthbert (C), Johnny Mullins, Glen Rea, Olly Lee, Luke Berry, Harry Cornick (James Justin 83), Danny Hylton, James Collins (Elliot Lee 89).

Subs not used: James Shea, Jordan Cook, Johnny Mullins, Luke Gambin.

Booked: Brown 37, Rea 45, Olly Lee 61, Moxey 74, Sheehan 75, Potts 80.

Referee: James Linington.

Attendance: 4,209 (353 Luton).

Hatters MOM: Harry Cornick - livewire display and his first goal too.