The Hatters found themselves on the wrong end of a five-goal thriller as Ebbsfleet ended&nbsp;Richard Money's side's&nbsp;run of three straight league victories in their first home game in 33 days.
After an opening half-an-hour that visitors dominated, the Town took the lead when Liam Hatch struck against his old club with a fine left-footed shot after he had got the better of three Fleet defenders.
With everything looking rosy with the Hatters a goal-up, the game turned on its head completely before the break with Magno Vieira striking twice in the space of three minutes.
Firstly on 42 minutes he drove a shot past substitute goalkeeper Shane Gore from 15 yards after taking a neat pass from Ale Stavrinou to level things up.
Then, a minute into stoppage time, Vieira was on hand to tap into an empty net to give the Fleet the lead when seizing on the loose ball after Gore had come out to challenge Ricky Shakes for the ball.
In truth it was no more than the Kent side deserved after a bright first half that belied their lowly position in the Blue Square Premier.
The Hatters began the second period much brighter and eventually, after long spells of possession, levelled things up on 65 minutes.
A long throw from substitute Ed Asafu-Adjaye was headed on at the front post by Asa Hall and Tom Craddock was on hand to hook the ball past Lance Cronin in the Ebbsfleet goal after his initial header was blocked.
Everyone assumed at that point that the Town would go on an record their fourth straight victory but the visitors had other ideas.
Just two minutes later Moses Ashikodi fired Liam Daish's men back in front after the Hatters had failed to clear their lines following a corner.
Still, the Hatters continued to press and they thought they had found their second equaliser of the afternoon twice in the space of 30 seconds on 74 minutes.
Firstly Craddock saw a fine shot saved by Cronin before he swung in a delightful cross that was headed home by an unmarked Hatch inside the penalty area but to the frustration of everyone inside Kenilworth Road a late flag of the lineman, indicating offside, meant the score remained at 3-2.
With time ticking down the Town piled on the pressure but the nearest they came to finding an equaliser came with seven minutes left when Cronin saved firstly from Hatch's swerving long-range effort and then from&nbsp;George Pilkington's super shot on the turn from the resulting corner.
And that was that.
Disappointment all round.
Full report to follow. Minute-by-minute analysis below.
Result from Kenilworth Road
Luton Town 2 (Hatch 28, Craddock 65)
Ebbsfleet United&nbsp;3 (Vieira 42, 45, Ashikodi 67)
FULL-TIME - LUTON TOWN 2-3 EBBSFLEET UNITED - All the reaction to come.
90 mins - Still 3-2 to the visitors and little time left here as Keane is booked.
90 mins - And there's our answer. We've got a further four minutes to try and find al late, late leveller...
89 mins - A minute left and there's no sign of an equaliser. It just depends on how much injury time there will be. Can the Town get one?
86 mins - With the Hatters encamped in the Ebbsfleet half, Money makes his third and final change, bringing off Nicholls and replacing him with Craig Nelthorpe. Pilkington takes over the captain's armband.
83 mins - It's all the Town now as they look to earn an equaliser. Hatch tries his luck from distance with a swerving shot thagt Cronin tips around the post before the Fleet keeper makes an even better stop to deny George Pilkington making it 3-3 with a tremendous tip over from 12 yards.
79 mins - Ex-Hatter Holmes has been quieter this half, maybe because he's changed his shirt number (he's wearing 32 now, it was 27 in the first half) but he pops up to drive a free-kick from distance straight at Gore.
78 mins - Time is ticking away for the Town as both the players and crowd begin to get frustrated. Barnes-Homer breaks into the area and is shrugged off the ball by Charles but that's not a pen.
74 mins - Drama in the space of 30 seconds as the Hatters come oh-so close to making it three-a-piece. Firstly Craddock brilliantly turns his marker to warm the hands of Cronin after taking a neat pass from Hall before Craddock's deep cross finds an unmarked Hatch who heads firmly past Cronin...he wheels away celebrating but the linesman puts up a very late offside flag and the goal is chalked off much to the annoyance of most inside Kenilworth Road.
70 mins - More good play from that man Ashikodi who gets the better of Keane down the left and could have gone down after it had looked like Keane had touched him, but he continued to blast a shot well wide of the target with his team-mates screaming at him to square it for a tap in. Still 3-2.
67 mins GOAL Hatters 2-3 EBBSFLEET - Well a) that didn't last long and b) Ashikodi clearly hasn't been affected by that miss as he's fired the Fleet's third goal of the afternoon beyond Gore as the Town failed to clear their lines. Poor defending and we're back to square one...20 minutes left to salvage something. Can it be done?
65 mins - GOAL!! &nbsp;HATTERS 2-2 Ebbsfleet - That miss from Ashikodi could prove to be crucial as Craddock hauls the Hatters level. A long throw from Asafu-Adjaye from the right is headed on at the near post by Hall to Craddock who hooks the ball home at the back-post after his initial header was blocked. Game on.
63 mins - Ashikodi has been a real threat all afternoon for the visitors and he comes close to putting the game beyond doubt. Bailey picks out the striker with a neat pass before he turns sharply on the edge of the area before blasting a fierce shot over Gore's crossbar. That was close to 3-1. Not good.
62 mins - The attendance at Kenilworth Road is another healthy one...6,658, including 156 from Kent.
60 mins - First booking of the game as Charles is booked for a robust manhandling job on Hatch. With half-an-hour to go can the Hatters turn this around? The visitors were an 8/1 shot to win this...
57 mins - Second change of the afternoon for the Town as Adam Newton is replaced by Ed Asafu-Adjaye who goes to right back.
55 mins - Decent shout for a penalty to the visitors as Holmes goes flying under the challenge of Pilkington after Ashikodi had done well to get into the Town 18 yard box down the left. Moments later the Hatters break and a poor clearance from the visitors lands a the feet of MBH but with everyone in the crowd urging him to shoot with Cronin off his line, the Fleet close ranks and clear the danger.
53 mins - Not much to tell you about, expect that it's still the Town who are dominating. Ebbsfleet though seem pretty comfortable at the minute as the Hatters keep getting flagged offside.
48 mins - Another quiet start to the half but it's all Luton so far...
46 mins - No personnel changes maybe but the Town have lined-up differently at the start of this half. Newton's gone to right back, Keane's in midfield with Hall pushed further forward, Barnes-Homer is on the advanced right-wing/forward role, Craddock's on the left in a similar position and Hatch remains up front.
46 mins - The Hatters get the second half underway, kicking towards the Kenny. There's no changes for either side at the break. Can they get back into this? Let's hope so. COYH!
HALF-TIME Luton Town 1-2 Ebbsfleet United. A bright start from the visitors and then a goal from Hatch and at that point everything was losing rosy. Not now though. Two goals in three minutes have changed this game completely and the Town will need to score twice more themselves to earn the three points this afternoon. It should be an interesting half-time team talk and an interesting second 45 minutes. Check back in 15 minutes to see if the Hatters can do it.
45 + 2 - Almost two-apiece as Craddock blasts a volley straight at Cronin&nbsp;who makes a fantastic save getting down low as the Town looks for an immediate equaliser.
45 + 1 GOAL - Hatters 1-2 EBBSFLEET - Oh dear. A long ball forward catches the Hatters short at the back with Shakes beating Gore to the ball which runs free across goal to an unmarked Vieira to knock home into an empty net. Unbelievable.
45 mins - We've got an additional two added minutes...
42 mins - GOAL - Hatters 1-1 EBBSFLEET - The visitors have certainly been no mugs this half and they have levelled the scores three minutes before the break. On-loan midfielder Ale Stavrinou plays a lovely reverse pass into the path of Vieira who blasts the ball past a hapless Gore from 12 yards. One a piece.
42 mins - Half a chance for an Ebbsfleet equaliser as Clint Easton curls a free-kick way over the bar.
39 mins - Keane's had a good game at right-back so far this afternoon and the Town have their number four to thank for heading away a dangerous Shakes cross from the right with Ashikodi lurking in the six yard box. Great defending.
38 mins - The Hatters had much the better of the play since going ahead and it's almost 2-0 as Nicholls plays in MBH in on goal. The striker holds off the attenion of Will Salmon before driving a fierce shot straight at Cronin. Good shot, good save.
33 mins - Hatch is clearly in the mood for another as he comes close to heading a second following Nicholls' free-kick. We've just remembered he used to play for Ebbsfleet, when they were known as Gravesend and Northfleet.
30 mins - Fleet seem quite rightly frustrated at going behind after they had dominated the first half-an-hour so much. Back they come however as Leon Crooks gets above everyone in the penalty box following a left-wing corner but his header is off target and it stays 1-0.
28 mins - GOAL &nbsp;HATTERS 1-0 Ebbsfleet - I said they were slowly getting there...Craddock finds Hatch, who spins his marker superbly. He's in on goal but still has plenty to do. He then goes between two more men unchallenged before rifling home a left-foot shot past Cronin for his first goal for the club. Get in!
26 mins - And there's another. Hatch finds Craddock, and with the visitors' defence backing off, the former Middlesbrough man tries his luck with a poweful effort from 20 yards that is too hot for Cronin to handle. The Town are slowly getting there...
24 mins - An effort on target for the Town at long last. Craddock scampers down the left and cuts the back for Freddie Murray who sends a first-time cross towards Hatch who sees his header clawed away by Lance Cronin in the Ebbsfleet goal.
23 mins - Holmes...those blue boots...I'm riding my luck here...he let's fly again, this time from the edge of the area, but his left-foot shot screws wide of Gore's left-hand post. Holmesly looks up for this one.
21 mins - A better passage of play from the Town but nothing comes of it as Craddock, Hall and Barnes-Homer combine but the Fleet easily contain the attack.
18 mins - Janos Kovacs has been quiet so far at the heart of the Hatters but he does well as Fleet attack in the shape of Magno Vieira down the left. The big Hungarian does well to stop the visiting midfielder's pass reaching an unmarked team-mate before he cooly clears the danger.
16 mins - Still all Ebbsfleet at the moment and the crowd are getting restless. The Town's front two have barely had a kick so far.
14 mins - Kevin Pilkington has kept the Town in it so far but they are going to have to play the last 76 minutes without him. The stopper pulls up after a goal-kick and goes down again. It means the Hatters have to make an early sub with Shane Gore coming on for his first league appearance for the club.
12 mins - This is getting too close for comfort. All Ebbsfleet at the minute and it should be 1-0 as Ashikodi turns in the box to shot agonisingly wide of the left-hand post.
11 mins - I was taking the mick out of Holmes' boots and perhaps his ears are burning...He drives a half-volley goalwards that looks destined for the net until Pilkington sticks out a finger right at the last minute to deflect the shot onto the post and behind for a corner. Super save. Another warning shot. That was close.
8 mins - Back come the Fleet and the Hatters have a brave Kevin Pilkington to thank. He's still receiving treatment after he had collided with Ricky Shakes to prevent the visitors' midfielder opening the scoring. A long punt down field from the keeper was headed on by Moses Ashikodi into the path of Shakes but the Town stopper stood tall to stuff out the danger. Good goalkeeping.
6 mins - The first shot on target of the afternoon falls to the Town. The ball breaks kindly for Craddock down the left and after a mazy run it falls to the feet of Asa Hall who - sensing a second goal in as many games - drives a shot goalwards. It's hit hard and low but it's off target.
4 mins - We're relying on our observations to keep us amused so far. Former Hatter Peter Holmes drifts a free-kick to precisely nobody and the ball runs out of play. We then notice the midfielder is the only one on the field sporting blue football boots. Nice.
3 mins - Very subdued opening and it's the visitors who are marginally on top. The only thing of note to happen so far as Tom Craddock's dive into the Main Stand enclosure as he kept an Asa Hall pass from going out of play. Thrilling stuff so far.
1 min We're off as Ebbsfleet get us underway kicking towards the Kenilworth Road end.
14:58 HERE THEY COME
Here come the two sides with Nico leading out the Hatters. We're in our now traditional orange shirts, white shorts and socks while Ebbsfleet are in their change strip of yellow and black shirts, black shorts and yellow socks.
After the handshakes the Town players go through a small shuttle routine by the Kenilworth Road byline. We're almost set now - here's to three points! Enjoy the updates.
There's an expectant crowd inside Kenilworth Road for the Town's first home game of 2010 - a wait of 33 days is nearly over...COYH!
14:45 SIX OF THE BEST
We've just been speaking to Under-18 boss Martin Prickett in the tunnel who has good news to report.&nbsp;His side saw off a Tottenham Hotspur academy side 6-1, coming back from 1-0 down. Jordan Patrick scored twice and there were further strikes from Matt Harriott, Liam Toomey, Adam Watkins and Taylor Nathaniel. Well done lads.
14:30 STRONG LINE-UP
The line-up is pretty much the one that finished Wednesday's game at Histon - barring Jake Howells' late introduction. Therefore - although it's dangerous to assume, especially with Luton Town - it's going to be a back-four of Keith Keane, George Pilkington, Janos Kovacs&nbsp;- who makes his home debut - and Freddie Murray. Tom Craddock will play on the left-hand side of midfield which he did to such great effect on Wednesday, Kevin Nicholls and Asa Hall in the middle and Adam Newton on the right flank. Up-front will be Barnes-Homer and Hatch. What an exicting&nbsp;XI that looks.
14:15 HATCH &amp; MBH IN
Team news is in and Richard Money makes two changes to the side that started the 2-0 win at Histon. Strikers Liam Hatch and Matthew Barnes-Homer come in for Kevin Gallen and Claude Gnakpa who both picked up injuries in the victory at the Glassworld Stadium on Wednesday.
Ebbsfleet, have former Town midfielder Peter Holmes in their starting XI and manager Liam Daish names him as captain.
Hatters: K. Pilkington; G. Pilkington, Keane, Kovacs, Murray; Newton, Nicholls (C), Hall, Craddock; Barnes-Homer, Hatch.
Substitutes: Nelthorpe, Asafu-Adjaye, Gore, Howells, Jarvis.
Ebbsfleet: Cronin, Salmon, Vieira, Ashikodi, Stavirou, Shakes, Crooks, Bailey, Charles, Easton, Holmes (C).
Substitutes: Collins, Heeroo, West, Ginty, Wills.
14:00 GOOD VIBES
No team news yet but the home dressing room sounds in good spirits with the music booming out with an hour to kick-off.
13:35 IN GOOD NICK
Considering the weather we've had since our last home game the pitch looks in tip-top condition. Hopefully it will make for good game of football. All credit to the groundstaff.
13:15 THOSE WERE THE DAYS
28 years ago today the Hatters beat Leicester City 2-1 at Kenilworth Road with goals from Steve White and Mal Donaghy before a crowd of 11,810. Later that season the Town were crowned Division Two champions and began the following season in the top division.
It's absolutely freezing here at Kenilworth Road.
However, do not worry - the game is definitely on.
But a little bit of advice to those who haven't stepped outside their front door yet today: wrap-up warm. Get your hats, gloves and scarves on to keep you warm.
12:15 UNFAMILAR SURROUNDINGS
Luton Town 4-1 Eastbourne Borough.
I'll forgive you if you can't.
We've had three games since and celebrated New Year's Eve.
Thirty-three days later and the Hatters are back in action at Kenilworth Road at long last.
Trips to Southampton, Gateshead and Histon have seen the Town bow out of the FA Cup and record six points out of six to rekindle their promotion push.
So after over a month without a game at home today the Town take on struggling Ebbsfleet United at Kenilworth Road with the two sides meeting for the first time ever.
Richard Money's men will want to get off to the best possible start to their 2010 campaign in front of the home faithful who have been treated to seven goals in the last two trips to the old ground following the Eastbourne win and the 3-0 FA Cup replay success over Rotherham.
Hopefully it will be more of the same again this afternoon against Liam Daish's Fleet who lie in 20th place in the BSP.
Around 6,500 fans will be inside the ground this afternoon but if you're not one of them, don't worry: we'll have all the goals and incidents as it happens live&nbsp;with the usual news in the run-up to kick-off with team line-ups and plenty of&nbsp;chat as your official website has, as ever,&nbsp;all the usual updates keeping you bang up-to-date with all the action - and in a number of ways.
There's none of those boring ball-by-ball "defensive thrown-in taken by Luton left-back" updates as we continue to try and bring you an updated and detailed text commentary. This is a great way to keep in touch and has been popular to those supporters not able to get to a computer or a radio as the service is also available and is updated live on our WAP site.
On Hatters Player you all have access to our live commentary. Remember, Player is available as ever which means you all have access to our live commentary. If you haven't heard it yet then where you have been? It's brought to you by Simon "Statto" Pitts - who is quickly making a name for himself with commentary that is the envy of all the competition. He's back 'home' in the gantry, high above the rest of the crowd calling home the shots with the best view in the house...what better coverage can you get?
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