League Two: Luton Town 0 Accrington Stanley 2
The season can’t end soon enough for Luton Town after they fell to yet another home defeat, their 10th of a truly disastrous campaign at Kenilworth Road this afternoon.
Goals from Scott Brown and Terry Gornell sealed victory for the visitors, who looked every inch a side who are pushing for promotion, as this result saw them climb into the automatic spots.
Although Hatters did miss some great chances, Josh McQuoid’s early sitter the worst of the bunch, they never fully extended Stanley keeper Ross Etheridge, particularly in the second half, as they failed to score for the third home match running.
Boss Nathan Jones threatened changes following on from last weekend’s defeat to Stevenage and made four of them, although two were enforced with Jonathan Mitchell recalled by Derby and Scott Cuthbert injured.
Paddy McCourt and Joe Pigott missed out too, with Elliot Justham, Dan Potts, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu and McQuoid coming in, with youngsters Zane Banton, Frankie Musonda and James Justin named on the bench.
An action-packed opening 10 minutes saw chances at both ends as the impressive Josh Windass and Cameron McGeehan sent shots wide from range.
Stanley were inches away from an opener with five minutes gone as Gornell just couldn’t get enough on Sean McConville’s low cross as it flashed wide of the post.
Jack Marriott then shrugged off the attentions of last man Brad Halliday, but couldn’t direct his effort either side of keeper Ross Etheridge, who blocked, while Luton wasted an even better opening to finally break their first half duck at home on 10 minutes.
Marriott’s clever turn and shot saw Etheridge fail to hang on, the rebound falling perfectly to McQuoid, who blasted woefully over the top from a matter of yards.
Justham was then called into his first meaningful action, performing his duties admirably to push aside Windass’ excellent angled volley as it bounced just prior to reaching him.
Hatters, already showing more hunger and desire than in the entire duration from the previous weekend, went close again after McGeehan foraged possession back.
Smith took up a good position on the right hand side of the box and from his pull back, McGeehan’s side-footer went agonisingly the wrong side of the post.
Stanley then took the sting out the game impressively, with McConville’s low cross evading everyone bar Potts at the far post, Justham pouncing on his deflection goalwards.
Luton tried in vain for that opening period strike, but McGeehan couldn’t hook his shot on target at the far post, while once Gornell had nodded over, the whistle went, making it nine games and almost four months since Town have netted prior to the break at Kenilworth Road.
After the interval, Hatters were behind within the first two minutes as Windass powered past the labouring Olly Lee and his pull back was perfect for Brown to finish beyond Justham.
From there, Hatters never really exuded the confidence of a side who truly felt they could muster a fight back, Marriott going off for Paul Benson on the hour mark after a whack, with his replacement heading over.
Jones then stuck to his promise of giving youth their chance, as Zane Banton came on for his first appearance since November 9, 2013, in place of Smith, with the striker impressing during a lively cameo.
Hatters should have had a penalty with 17 minutes to go as the ever improving Ruddock Mpanzu was felled in the box by Tariqe Fosu, but nothing was given, a poor decision when taking into account the spotkick Luton had given away last weekend.
However, Stanley then had a crucial second on 84 minutes, when Fosu’s delicious cross saw Gornell cut across Glen Rea and glance a superb header past the despairing Justham.
Youth team captain Musonda was handed his home debut for the final five minutes, but Luton couldn’t even manage a consolation, McQuoid fluffing his lines once more at the far post.
Hatters: Elliot Justham, Stephen O’Donnell, Dan Potts (Frankie Musonda 85), Alan Sheehan, Glen Rea, Jonathan Smith (Zane Banton 73), Olly Lee, Cameron McGeehan, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, Josh McQuoid, Jack Marriott (Paul Benson 61).
Subs not used: Craig King, Alex Lawless, James Justin, Joe Pigott.
Stanley: Ross Etheridge, Matty Pearson, Tom Davies, Piero Mingoia, Josh Windass, Terry Gornell, Sean McConville (Tariqe Fosu 72), Scott Brown, Mark Hughes, Seamus Conneely (C), Brad Halliday.
Subs not used: Dean Winndard, Andrew Proctor, Andrew Little, Shay McCartan, Adam Buxton, Jason Mooney.
Attendance: 7,467 (Stanley 123).
Booked: McQuoid 20, Pearson 54, Hughes 72, Benson 90.
Referee: Peter Bankes.