League One: Luton Town 4 Accrington Stanley 1
Striker Danny Hylton scored a hat-trick as Luton Town brushed aside Accrington Stanley in a fiesty clash at Kenilworth Road last night.
There was a sense that the Hatters were up for this from the word go, determined to defeat the side who had beaten them to the League Two title last term, and the last opposing team to win in Bedfordshire since March.
But Luton, with Hylton to the fore, were just too good on the night, as they climbed to sixth in the process, showing they are a real force to be reckoned with on home soil.
Luton made just one change, with James Justin in for the injured Dan Potts, the full back to have a major hand in Town taking the lead on five minutes with a goal that was counter-attacking football at its most sublime.
Billy Kee's effort was charged down well inside Luton's half, as James Collins sprung Jorge Grant, who in turn found Justin, hurtling forward on the left.
He had the presence of mind to look up and dink over the perfect cross for Hylton to volley home from close range for his first goal since returning after injury.
Stanley came close to a leveller on 15 minutes when Offrande Zanzala was left unmarked to send a free header goalwards from Sam Finley's cross, James Shea pulling off a fine save at full stretch.
Town didn't heed their warning though as just before the half hour, the visitors did equalise, Callum Johnson's delivery met again by Zanzala, his header going through Shea and trickling over the line.
Justin tried to restore the lead, cutting in on his right foot, Jonny Maxted holding on to his 20-yarder, while the keeper watched Andrew Shinnie's attempt fly wide.
On the stroke of half time, Luton had a wonderful chance to retake the lead, as Jack Stacey's pass was dummied by Hyllton for James Collins, who opted to shoot first time, Maxted getting down well.
The whistle led to an almighty scuffle between players and backroom staff as the players went down the tunnel at half time, which clearly only acted to pep up Town's effort after the break.
With their gander rising, they raced out of the blocks, Shinnie taking aim from 20 yards, skidding an effort into the bottom corner eight minutes in.
Before the home fans could take their seats, they were up again, as Grant picked out the overlapping Shinnie, whose low ball was swept intop the empty net by Hylton for his second just 60 seconds later.
Accrington weren't lying down though, as McConville's curler drew a fine save from Shea, Justin hurling himsel in the way of Zanzala's rebound, while McConville tested the Town keeper once more.
Hylton put the result to be on 71 minutes though, nodding home from close range after Sonny Bradley's towering header across from Grant's deep free kick.
Luton had to withstand some late pressure, but withstand it they did, while James Collins was denied a fifth by a tremendous Maxted save, as Luton head to AFC Wimbleon on the back of two excellent wins in four days.
Hatters: James Shea, Jack Stacey, James Justin, Matty Pearson, Sonny Bradley, Glen Rea (C), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Andrew Shinnie (Alan Sheehan 85), Jorge Grant (Harry Cornick 76), James Collins, Danny Hylton (Kazenga LuaLua 81).
Subs not used: Harry Isted, Alan McCormack, Elliot Lee, Aaron Jarvis.
Stanley: Jonathan Maxted, Callum Johnson (Connor Hall 74), Michael Ihiekwe, Mark Hughes, Ben Richards-Anderton, Jordan Clark, Sam Finley (Scott Brown 59), Daniel Barlaser, Sean McConville (C), Offrande Zanzala (Andy Mangan 87), Billy Kee.
Subs not used: Tony Warner, Ross Sykes, Piero Mingoia, Matthew Platt
Booked: McCormack 45, Clark 47, Grant 61, Brown 68, Hughes 69, Bradley 90.
Referee: Chris Sarginson.
Attendance: 8,454 (64 Stanley).