Hatters rated v Portsmouth

Kazenga LuaLua goes close to opening the scoring for Luton
Kazenga LuaLua goes close to opening the scoring for Luton

Luton Town enjoyed a wonderful 3-2 win over promotion rivals Portsmouth at a packed Kenilworth Road last night. Here’s how the Hatters rated.

James Shea: 9 - After a surprisingly quiet opening, he more than played his part in Town’s win with two superb saves after the break. Stuck out a hand to tip over Morris’ blast, while when Pompey had just made it 2-2, got a crucial foot to Bogle’s effort after he raced through. Also denied Curtis, while his handling and distribution was excellent on a tricky surface.

Jack Stacey: 8.5 - Got at the visitors back-line in the first half as he skated round his marker to send over a cross for Berry to head wide. Fired over himself before his attacking instincts were curtailed somewhat by the visitors’ improved second half display.

James Justin: 8.5 - Gave Luton some real potency on the left hand side in the opening half, overlapping at will, sending in one effort that was just about saved. Was a threat after the break as well, his dipping attempt tipped over, and moved further forward in the latter stages when Berry came off. Opting to dummy the free kick proved a masterstroke for Moncur to do the rest.

Matty Pearson: 8.5 - Had Pitman in his pocket in that opening 45 minutes as the visitors couldn’t get a sight at Shea’s goal. When the striker was replaced, had a much tougher evening as Pompey looked a completely different outfit, but cleared his lines effectively.

Sonny Bradley: 8.5 - Was completely dominant in the first period when Town had Pompey on the rack. The introduction of Bogle changed that, as Luton’s skipper looked ruffled for one of the first times this season. Managed to stand firm though as Town held on for a precious three points.

Alan McCormack: 9 - Almost brought the house down with an instinctive 30-yarder which flew inches wide with MacGillivray rooted to the spot. Ensured the visitors didn’t get out of their half in a first period of utter dominance and then battled hard after the break when Pompey had the bit between their teeth to keep them out.

Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu: 9 - Back to his buccaneering best at times, particularly from kick-off as he had his swagger back, collecting possession and brushing his opponents off as he burst forward to keep Luton on the front foot. Like the rest of his team-mates, had to show the other side of the game during second 45, but did so accordingly as Town triumphed.

Andrew Shinnie: 8.5 - Another fine display as Luton had a monopoly on possession before the break, with Portsmouth unable to get the ball off him at times. Operated a shoot on sight policy at times, as he was determined to test MacGillivray’s handling on a difficult pitch.

Luke Berry: 8.5 - Came close to opening the scoring with a header that drifted narrowly wide, and another effort flashing across the goal. Knitted play together well, although naturally started to tire slightly with Town under the pump, replaced by Potts.

Kazenga LuaLua (STAR MAN): 9 - Gave the visiting defence any almighty work-out, as with conditions worsening, he was a defenders nightmare, finding pockets of space and driving at his markers. Shame a heavy first touch saw him miss a great chance, but then excellent vision and weight of pass immediately set up Collins. Won the penalty for his strike partner to smash home as his recent inclusion has proved a masterstroke.

James Collins: 9 - Town’s leading marksman continued his wonderful form in front of goal with a classy finish to get Luton and up running. Buried a penalty in the second period to make it 16 for the season. Work-rate is somehow reaching even greater levels, heading a corner away and then racing upfield to block an attempted clearance to the delight of Town’s supporters.

Dan Potts (SUB): 8 - Came on to replace Berry allowing Justin to move into midfield. Made some important headed clearances and helped run the clock down.

George Moncur (SUB): 8 - Became an instant hero for the Hatters as won the free kick and then wonderfully bent it into the bottom corner to seal a magnificent win.

Alan Sheehan (SUB): 7 - On for Shinnie as Luton went into game management mode.