Two goals in 40 seconds gave the Hatters their second win in a week but they were given an all-mighty scare by Gateshead at Kenilworth Road.
The visitors, with two successive promotions behind them in recent seasons, stunned Kenilworth Road when Michael Mackay put them in front on five minutes.
Inside the opening 15 minutes the Town were a poor second best and the hosts had to thank a combination of poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping from Mark Tyler to keep the score at 1-0.
But the game turned on its head in a 40-second spell on 21 minutes when the Hatters turned a deficit into a lead.
Firstly Asa Hall headed home Rossi Jarvis' right-wing&nbsp;free-kick and then Kevin Gallen fired home from 20 yards to put the Hatters in charge.
The Town failed to build on their lead and&nbsp;Andy Burgess was guilty of missing a great opportunity to&nbsp;make it 3-1 before the break when&nbsp;denied by&nbsp;Gateshead keeper Jim Provett.
In a second half of few chances and that was dominated by the visitors, Mick Harford's men were relieved to hear the final whistle but with Salisbury losing at home to the Hatters' conquerers on Tuesday&nbsp;- Mansfield - it meant the three points lifted the Town to top spot in the Blue Square Premier.
Luton Town: Tyler, Murray, Pilkington, Blackett, Keane, Burgess, Hall, Jarvis, Howells (Gnakpa 71), Craddock (Basham 70), Gallen.
Substitutes: Gore, Beavan, Watkins.
Booked: Gnakpa 81
Gateshead: Provett, Baxter, Robinson, Gate, Curtis, Jones (Armstrong 84), Harwood (Francis 70), Turnbull, Forsyth (Richardson 46), Mackay, Phillips.
Substitutes: Francis, Richardson, Armstrong, Swailes, Farman.
Booked: Richardson (85)
Referee: R Adcock.
Attendance: 6,829 including 48 from Gateshead.
For minute-by-minute action, see below...
Result&nbsp;from Kenilworth Road
Luton Town&nbsp;2 (Hall 21, Gallen 21)
Gateshead 1 (Mackay 5)
90 mins - An additional three minutes has been indicated by the fourth official...can the Town hold on?
88 mins - To be fair the visitors have had the better of the play this half and Tyler again is called into action to catch Richardson's back-post header following another right-wing cross.
85 mins - The ball is in the Luton net this time but this one is easy to discount. A cross from the right from Gateshead finds Richardson who tries his best Maradona impression by handling the ball past Tyler. The ref's not impressed and the striker is booked.
82 mins - Let off for the Hatters as Jarvis presents the ball straight to Richardson but instead of taking the ball further the striker tries his luck from range and his shot lands up comfortably into the arms of Tyler.
79 mins - Claude's off on one of his rampaging runs down the right and he uses his pace to carry the ball forward. He keeps running and running and eventually wins a corner which the visitors are able to clear at about the fifth time of asking as both sides play head tennis in the six yard box.
76 mins - Still not much action to report but the attendance is through - another very healthy crowd. 6,829 with 48 from Gateshead.
70 mins &nbsp;Double change for the Hatters. Mick's bringing on Steve Basham and Claude Gnakpa for Tom Craddock and Jake Howells.
68 mins - This is a real frustrating afternoon. Gateshead have played their part in making this hard work for the Hatters. The Tynesiders' left-winger Phillips looks a good player. He sets-up Turnbull who drives a shot goalwards but sees his effort charged down by Keane.
60 mins - The ball is in the Gateshead net for the third time but it won't be counting. Burgess swings in a delightful cross from the left and an unmarked Gallen side-foots home from close range but the veteran striker is denied his second of the game by the offside decision of the linesman.
59 mins&nbsp;- Still more of the same as Gateshead have come out in this second half and begun playing like they were in the opening 20 minutes. The only highlight of another lull in proceedings is the all-round game of Tyler whose distribution has been second to none.
52 mins - The Town have failed to test Provett at all this half so far but come close to doing so when Burgess gets the better of his marker 30 yards from goal. He tries to pick out Craddock but the ball eludes the striker and Provett comfortably gathers the loose ball.
49 mins - A quiet opening half bursts into life when the visitors come within inches of netting an equaliser. Substitute Richardson flies down the right wing and attemps to pick-out Mackay with a square pass. It looks like the Gateshead goalscorer will double his tally but he's denied by a great interception by George Pilkington sliding to knock the ball behind for a corner.
46 mins - We're ready for the second half and there's one change and it's for the visitors as Ian Bogie introduces Steven Richardson for Darren Forsyth.
HALF TIME: Well after a scare the Hatters are in front at the break thanks to two goals in the space of 40 seconds. Gateshead have looked dangerous in attack and unsure at the back but the same could be said for the Hatters. But it's 2-1 and the Town are winning which is the all important matter. Stay tuned for the second half updates!
45 mins - Craddock needlessly handballs on the edge of his own penalty area and from the free-kick the visitors' Phil Turnbull curls the ball harmlessly over Tyler's crossbar.
43 mins - It's probably been the quietest period of the half so far but it's brought to live when a mazy run from Howells is brought to an end by a crunching Gateshead foul on the edge of the area and from the resulting free-kick Gallen - sensing a second - hits a shot inches wide of Provett's right-hand post. Unlucky.
36 mins - It's all the Town now and another flowing move involving Keane, Jarvis, Gallen and Howells ends with Hall firing a half-volley over Provett's&nbsp;crossbar from just outside the penalty area. Good effort.
34 mins - It should have been 3-1. Provett in the Tynesiders' goal kicks the ball straight to Burgess who is standing five yards away but the Hatters' midfielder can only shoot straight at the keeper who makes a terrific save.
32 mins - Chance for the Hatters this time. Burgess finds Craddock in the left-hand inside channel. The striker is up against the giant centre-back Curtis but he gets the better of him and, from a narrow angle, he gets a left-foot shot away that flashes past the post.
31 mins - Great play down the left wing by Wayne Phillips for the visitors. He roasts Burgess and Keane and gets to the by-line to send a low cross goalwards. It looks like someone will have an easy tap-in but a combination of Tyler and then Blackett clear the danger, albeit a corner.
28 mins - The Town are beginning to find their feat and great play between Gallen finds Craddock who almost gets a touch on the ball that would have taken him past Provett but the goalkeeper is quicker to it&nbsp;and snaffles the ball.
22 mins - OK, I've got some typing to catch up! The Hatters have scored twice in a minute to be in front in a 40-second turnaround. The first is as simple as they come: Jarvis floats a well executed free-kick from the right which is headed home&nbsp;by Hall from close range and then from the kick-off the Hatters win the ball back, Craddock steals the ball off his market when he had no right to, and Kevin Gallen thumps home from 18 yards with a shot that leaves Provett motionless. It's a funny old game.
21 mins - GOAL! &nbsp;HATTERS 2-1 Gateshead
21 mins - GOAL! &nbsp;HATTERS 1-1 Gateshead
17 mins - Back come Gateshead - they are frightening the lives out of the Town at the moment. They have two chances in the space of&nbsp;a minute. Firstly Mackay hits a shot straight at Tyler and then Forsyth takes a lovely pass from Kris Gate to force Tyler into action once more.
16 mins - Nimble footwork from Burgess sees him dance past two would-be markers and his deflected shot finds Craddock who heads wide of Provett's left-hand post although he did look offside.
13 mins - Gateshead are looking dangerous and are picking holes in the Hatters defence at will. Goalscorer Mackay receives a lovely pass from Curtis and sees a shot deflected goalwards and Tyler is brave to seize the loose ball with Darren Forsyth looking to knock home the Tynesiders' second.
10 mins - That's better from the Town. A lovely little on-two&nbsp;between Gallen and Hall sees the latter drive a left-foot shot goalwards that Gateshead goalkeeper Jim Provett does well to push away at full stretch diving to his left. With Tom Craddock lurking for a tap-in the visitors' James Curtis is on hand to blast the ball away from a corner.
9 mins - To say Kenilworth Road is stunned would be an understandment. There's a distinct hush around the ground a series of misplaced passes from the Town players are not helping matters.
5 mins - GOAL! &nbsp;Hatters 0-1 Gateshead - Well that certainly wasn't the plan. Wayne Phillips knocks the ball into the feet of Mackay who is unmarked to steer the ball past Tyler from eight yards.
3 mins - Chance for the visitors. Striker Michael Mackay runs down the right flank and floats a cross-cum-shot to the back post which drops inches wide of Mark Tyler's crossbar.
1 min - And we're off, as Craddock and Gallen get the Hatters underway from the kick-off. Burgess is right wing with Asa Hall and Rossi Jarvis in the centre of midfield and Jake Howells left wing. Almost immediately the Town have their effort effort on 50 seconds, from Burgess' left wing corner, Hall sees a shot blocked and from the rebound Jarvis fires over the crossbar.
14:58 The two sides are out on the pitch, the Hatters led by Keith Keane and Gateshead in their blue away shirts. First impressions of the visitors - well, their centre-back looks an&nbsp;absolute giant!
14:20 TEAM NEWS
Mick Harford makes two changes to his side that beat Mansfield Town on Tuesday night.
Shane Blackett returns from suspension to replace Callum Reynolds who sits out following his sending-off against the Stags on Tuesday.
Adam Newton has not recovered from a groin problem and Jake Howells takes the winger's place in the starting XI.
There is a place on the bench for Luton-born midfielder Adam Watkins who has been given the squad number 30.
We think Andy Burgess may&nbsp;partner Rossi Jarvis in the centre of midfield, Howells will be on the left and Keane - Mr Versatile - will switch to right-back. He's already played in centre-mid and at centre half already this season.
Visiting Gateshead manager Ian Bogie, meanwhile, makes one inforced change to his side that lost at home to Histon last weekend.
Midfielder Martin Brittian is away at his sister's wedding with Phil Turbull deputising.
Luton Town: Tyler, Murray, Pilkington, Blackett, Keane, Burgess, Hall, Jarvis, Howells, Craddock, Gallen.
Substitutes: Gore, Gnakpa, Basham, Beavan, Watkins.
Gateshead: Provett, Baxter, Robinson, Gate, Curtis, Jones, Harwood, Turnbull, Forsyth, Mackay, Phillips.
Substitutes: Francis, Richardson, Armstrong, Swailes, Farman.
Referee: R Adcock.
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