League Two: Luton Town 1 Accrington Stanley 0
Cameron McGeehan's ninth goal of an increasingly prolific season saw Luton Town secure a vital 1-0 win over Accrington Stanley this afternoon.
It had looked like the hosts were going to be frustrated by visiting keeper Elliot Parish, who made a handful of top drawer saves, with Alan Sheehan's superb free kick thundering against the bar too.
But to their credit, the Hatters kept on going, with McGeehan doing what he does better than any other at this level, timing his run into the box perfectly yet again to sweep home James Justin's cross via a deflection.
The hosts then had to hold on for the final seven minutes a man light, Jordan Cook being the fifth player to see red this term, for two needless bookings, but hold on they did, to keep a first home clean sheet in the league this season.
Earlier, boss Nathan Jones made just the one change, bringing in Jack Marriott for the suspended Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, as Luton struggled to ever really get going in another quiet first half at Kenilworth Road.
Chances were few and far between from both sides, Glen Rea heading over Sheehan's corner, with Alex Gilliead making Parish work for the first time, the keeper comfortable tipping his 20-yard half volley behind.
Hatters went on to dominate possession in the opening half hour, but most of it came in their first half, with Scott Cuthbert's downright dismal distribution ensuring both Jack Marriott and Danny Hylton had little if anything to feed on.
Stanley's Scott Brown tried his luck from 30 yards, shooting wide, while a neat backheel from Hylton gave McGeehan a sight on the angle, his effort hitting the stanchion behind the goal.
With 33 gone, Luton demonstrated another inventive free kick routine, with McGeehan and Gilliead combining for Marriott, who couldn't keep his attempt down.
Hylton then went down the route described at best as hopeful, the ball breaking to him on halfway, and his ambitious chip didn't get anywhere near the required elevation.
Luton then started to belatedly build a head of steam up, as five minutes before the break, Sheehan's dangerous corner saw Rea's volley palmed away by Parish and after Gilliead's deflected low drive, he somehow stretched out a glove from a prostrate position to keep out McGeehan's follow up.
In the second period, although once again bossing possession and having a bit more intent about them, Hatters struggled to create anything clear-cut once more during the early stages, Stanley's Jordan Clark firing off target on 54 minutes.
Hatters finally had a go themselves moments later, Cook wastefully over, before Marriott's difficult afternoon was ended with Isaac Vassell on for the final 25 minutes.
The sub played a huge part in Town's firmly grasping the initiative during the latter stages, his enthusiasm and energy allowing Luton to win the ball back much higher up the pitch, while the striker's lightning pace caused the visiting defenders no end of problems.
Vassell's entrance almost saw Luton in front, as he won a free kick just outside the box and Sheehan's wonderful effort cannoned off the underside of the bar, with the sub unable to turn the rebound in.
As the game finally started to open up a smidgen, Terry Gornell's 25-yarder saw Christian Walton right behind it, while Parish continued his heroics, somehow sticking a foot at to deny Cuthbert a first Luton goal, diverting his downward header away.
You started to get the feeling it might not be Town's day, but that all changed when Justin's cross was met by the right on cue by McGeehan with 15 minutes left, his effort looping over Parrish to finally break the deadlock.
Luton's victory bid then took a hit as Cook, who had been booked on 77 for pushing a Matty Pearson over the hoardings, then slid in needlessly on the same player six minutes later and quite rightly saw red, earning a reprimand from Jones after the game.
Stanley threw the giant Omar Beckles up for the final stages, and he caused Town's defence no end of problems, winning one aerial battle for Boco to nod goalwards, Walton tipping over.
The Luton keeper then matched anything Parish had done before him, as when a corner hit McGeehan on the back of head, he somehow clawed it away to preserve his side's lead.
Vassell almost had the goal his cameo deserved, charging down Parish's clearance, but the keeper recovered to stop the ball trickling over the line, as the whistle went before he could launch his clearance forward, with Luton victorious at home for the first time since September 24.
Hatters: Christian Walton, James Justin, Alan Sheehan, Scott Cuthbert (C), Glen Rea, Olly Lee (Johnny Mullins 90), Alex Gilliead (Jonathan Smith 86), Jordan Cook, Cameron McGeehan, Jack Marriott (Isaac Vassell 66), Danny Hylton.
Subs not used: Craig King, Stephen O'Donnell, Jake Gray, Craig Mackail-Smith.
Stanley: Elliot Parish, Matty Pearson, Mark Hughes, Omar Beckles, Jordan Clark, Scott Brown, Terry Gornell, Sean McConville, Rommy Boco, Paddy Lacey (Gary Taylor-Fletcher 82), Seamus Conneely (C).
Subs not used: Aaron Davies, Bastien Henry, Steven Hewitt, Aaron Chapman, Reagan Ogle, Ross Sykes.
Bookings: Parish 77, Cook 77, McGeehan 90, Clark 90.
Sent off: Cook 83.
Referee: Brett Huxtable.
Attendance: 8,008 (101 Stanley).
Hatters MOM: James Justin.
"He's now finding his feet, and when he gets going and really hits the ground running, we could have an animal on our hands."