Town's second half blitz blows Cambridge away
League Two: Cambridge United 0 Luton Town 3
A wonderful second half display from the Hatters saw them continue their superb winning record in the league at Cambridge United this afternoon.
The visitors could count themselves lucky to not be trailing in the first half, with keeper Christian Walton making three excellent saves, but from the hour mark onwards, there was only one winner.
A quickfire double sucked the life out of the hosts, who went into the game at the bottom of the table, with Josh Coulson putting through his own net, and then Jack Marriott scoring a simply sublime curler into the top corner.
From then on, United were stunted, unable to must any kind of fight back, with the coup de gras applied in stoppage time, through Danny Hylton’s composed sidefoot into the bottom corner, as Hatters made it eight league games unbeaten at the now titled Cambs Glass Stadium.
Town boss Nathan Jones had made two changes from the 1-0 defeat against Leeds United on Tuesday night, with Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu and Jordan Cook replacing Jake Gray and Jonathan Smith, who dropped to the bench.
Hatters threatened first and might have led on four minutes as Stephen O’Donnell’s searching cross was met by a weak punch from Will Norris as Jordan Cook acrobatically volleyed the rebound goalwards only to be denied his first goal for the club by the upright.
United, without a win in the league this season, also came close, as Piero Mingoia’s excellent right wing cross was met by Luke Berry, whose downward header took a deflection, as Walton had to readjust and make a brilliant instinctive stop.
The keeper came to the rescue once more from Berry again moments later as Town were sliced open and the winger’s close range effort saw Walton produce a wonderful reaction stop, palming the ball over.
Back came Luton though as Stephen O’Donnell’s low ball into the area was dummied by Mpanzu for Marriott to unleash a fierce shot from 20 yards that required tipping over by Norris.
Town appeared to have settled from what was an open start to the game and on 20 minutes should have been ahead after carving the home defence apart with a wonderful move.
Hylton cleverly picked out Mpanzu’s run with the outside of his foot, only for the midfielder to draw Norris, and just like Marriott had on Tuesday night against Leeds, criminally miss the target, the fourth time in three games Town had fluffed a one-on-one opportunity.
Defender Leon Legge shot well over the bar with an ambitious effort from 20 yards, as United were always fashioning decent opportunities of their own, Medy Elito collecting Ben Williamson’s cross, beating his man, only for Walton to once again get his angles spot on.
Mindful of the aerial dominance Cambridge were enjoying, Jones too action just before the half hour, with Olly Lee coming off and Scott Cuthbert taking his place, allowing Glen Rea to move into the holding role.
It paid dividends too as Cuthbert immediately repelling a long ball away from his area and barked out orders ensuring the visitors looked a lot more solid at the back from then on.
Cambridge had the better of the latter stages of the first half in terms of territory, but Hatters kept it tight, to crucially get through to the break unscathed.
With the game degenerating into a scrappy affair after the break, with neither side able to produce any real quality, Luton then took complete control with their rapid double.
First, on 63 minutes, Cook’s well flighted free kick was met by the completely unmarked Rea whose header down was diverted past his own keeper and into the bottom corner by Coulson.
Then, with Cambridge still reeling, Marriott, showed his confidence wasn’t in the least effected by Tuesday night’s misses, cutting in and from 20 yards curling a magnificent effort into the top corner, racing over to celebrate with the 1,690 travelling fans.
Luton then looked to see the game out as best they could, knowing they had inflicted enough damage on a team clearly struggling for confidence in the league this term.
They were guilty of giving away too many free kicks in dangerous areas though, but importantly, Cambridge couldn’t make them count, Berry putting the best of them over the top, with Mingoia sending another ambitions half volley well wide.
Hatters were almost out of sight in the closing seconds as Hylton fed Cook who slalomed through the hosts defence, with his toe-poke blocked by the legs of Norris.
Hylton’s rebound was charged down, and Cameron McGeehan sent his volly from the follow up flying wide too.
However, there was no such let off in time added on, when sub Smith intercepted Berry’s woeful pass, raced down the right and showed wonderful vision to pick out Hylton who coolly did the rest.
United: Will Norris, Greg Taylor, Blair Adams (Jake Gosling 78), James Dunne, Leon Legge, Piero Mingoia, Luke Berry (C), Ben Williamson (Joe Pigott 65), Josh Coulson, Max Clark (Uche Ikpeazu 65), Medy Elito.
Subs not used: David Gregory, Sean Long, Tom Dallison, Conor Newton.
Hatters: Christian Walton, Stephen O’Donnell, Dan Potts, Glen Rea, Johnny Mullins (C), Olly Lee (Scott Cuthbert 28), Jordan Cook, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Jonathan Smith , Cameron McGeehan, Danny Hylton, Jack Marriott (Isaac Vassell 90).
Subs not used: Craig King, James Justin, Jake Gray, Isaac Vassell, Josh McQuoid.
Bookings: Clark 33, O’Donnell 40, Rea 63, Hylton 83.
Attendance: 5,606 (1,690 Luton).