Kettering Town 0
Howells 4, Watkins 9, Kovacs 61, Taylor 72, Fleetwood 90
The Hatters started 2012 with a bang by hitting Kettering for five for the second time over the festive period.
And, for the second match running against the beleaguered Poppies, the Town had five different players on target, in a truly comprehensive display at Nene Park which also saw them hit the woodwork five times.
Jake Howells and Adam Watkins put the Hatters 2-0 ahead inside nine minutes as visitors raced comfortably into a half-time advantage, aided by the 40th-minute red card of the Poppies' Phil Ifil.
Further strikes in the second period from Janos Kovacs, Greg Taylor and Stuart Fleetwood further increased the Hatters' goal difference and - allied with results elsewhere - moved Gary Brabin's side up to third place in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
BIGGEST AWAY WINS
·5-0 Exeter, 1967
·5-0 Colchester, 2003
·6-1 Ebbsfleet, 2010
·5-0 Kettering, 2012
The Town began showing two changes to the side that beat the Poppies on Boxing Day with illness ruling out Danny Crow and a back injury preventing Dan Gleeson from lining-up at right-back. There were starts for former Kettering man James Dance and defender Curtis Osano - no stranger to Nene Park having spent three years as a player with Rushden &amp; Diamonds.
Brabin said at his press conference on Friday that he hoped Howells would recover from a knee injury that saw him withdrawn in the first half of the Boxing Day win. Thankfully the 20-year-old was in the starting XI and was soon celebrating putting his side ahead in the fourth minute.
The Wales Under-21 international delightfully spun past his marker to fly down the left and pick-out Aaron O'Connor
. The striker hit a shot on the turn from just inside the box that Laurie Walker, the home goalkeeper, did well to turn away, but his stop only succeeded in rolling into the path of Howells who tucked home a confident finish for his fifth goal of the season.
The Hatters were enjoying the freedom of Nene Park as they bossed possession and five minutes later on nine minutes they were 2-0 up.
Howells won a corner after seeing a shot on the turned behind by a good save by Walker and from the resulting short-corner routine, Watkins wriggled into the area and curled a superb right-shot into the top corner leaving the goalkeeper no chance.
Taylor, playing against his old club, and who was unlucky not to find the target on Boxing Day, came close with a deflected shot on 15 minutes that was well stopped by Walker.
Dance went down looking for a penalty four minutes later before he picked himself up to drive a shot inches wide seconds later to win a corner. Another intelligently-played flag-kick saw Keith Keane float a pass to Alex Lawless on the edge of the penalty box and, after taking a touch, the midfielder saw a well-struck effort parried away by Walker.
As the Hatters continued to lay siege on the Poppies' half, Taylor came even closer to breaking his duck in Town colours when seeing a low shot from outside the box strike the foot of the post and away to safety.
Kettering were slowly creeping back into the game as the Town sat back and waited to exploit opportunities on the break but the hosts' task for the remainder of the game was made more difficult following the dismissal of Ifil who saw red after a two-footed challenge on Taylor five minutes before the interval.
The Hatters almost made their numerical advantage count with two chances in the lead-up to half-time.
Firstly, on 45 minutes, O'Connor saw a deflected shot loop up and hit the top of the crossbar before Lawless attempted an ambitious effort from 40 yards when trying to catch Walker unawares in the second minute of stoppage time.
The Town started the brighter of the two sides after the break without forcing Walker into a meaningful stop.
Kovacs was the first Hatter in the book for an innocuous challenge on 50 minutes before former Town man Sol Davis was also shown a yellow card by the referee for an aerial challenge on Kovacs.
Still the Town pressed, though: Howells failed to play Dance in on 58 minutes as the duo broke through at pace down the left but shortly after the hour mark the visitors had their third goal to celebrate when Kovacs sent a header flying past Walker following Watkins' left-wing corner.
It was almost 4-0 on 68 minutes when Dance tip-toed past the Kettering defence after being gifted the ball by a poor clearance by Walker but the stopper made up for his error by diving away to his left to keep Dance's effort out.
But the Town didn't have wait to long for their fourth but still managed to hit the woodwork twice in the moment leading up to it. Firstly somehow Dance spooned a shot onto the crossbar following Taylor's cut-back from four yards with the goal gaping. From the resultant corner from Howells, Watkins saw a bullet header come back off the post but, after the hosts had half-cleared, Taylor rifled home his first goal for the club against his former employers.
Still the chances continued to come the Hatters' way, Taylor - hugely impressive at left-back once more - galloped down the left flank and picked out Dance at the back-post but the winger saw a shot flash just wide of the target.
That was Dance's final contribution as he was replaced by Robbie Willmott and the Town substitute was denied a chance to make it 5-0 on 82 minutes by a superb intervention by Davis.
The Hatters had been frustrated by the woodwork all afternoon and substitute Fleetwood saw his well-hit shot - picking the ball well out of the sky following Willmott's high cross - cannon back off the post - the fifth time the visitors had hit the post or bar. Incredible stuff.
But Fleetwood was not to be denied in the second minute of stoppage time&nbsp;as he made it&nbsp;5-0.&nbsp;The Hatters' endeavour even at this late stage was hugely impressive and, winning the ball back off their tiring opponents, Watkins floated an inch-perfect pass into the path of Fleetwood who showed clinical and explosive finishing from 10 yards to belt the ball past Walker. It was the front-man's second goal in as many games.
Confidence is a wonderful&nbsp;thing and the Town and Brabin will no doubt be delighted with the performance of the side over the Christmas and New Year period. You can't argue about an aggregate scoreline of 10-0.
They say you can only beat what's put in front of you and the Hatters have certainly done that.
Happy New Year!
For minute-by-minute analysis, see below.
Result from Nene Park
Kettering Town 0
Luton Town&nbsp;5 (Howells 4, Watkins 9, Kovacs 61, Taylor 72, Fleetwood 90)
FULL-TIME All over here and the Town have done it again - another 5-0 victory over Kettering. Standby for a full report, reaction, photographs and interviews.
90 mins + 2 GOAL! Kettering 0-5 TOWN (Fleetwood) - And that completes the rout, Watkins lovely pass to STUART FLEETWOOD onside, emphatic half-volley finish. 5-0.
90 mins - Four minutes added.
90 mins - Kettering sub, Davis withdrawn to a superb ovation from the Hatters hordes.
85 mins - Oh, again, the woodwork prevents the Hatters from extending their lead, Fleetwood hitting the post with a fine first-time shot following Willmott's cross. That's the fifth time the Hatters have hit the post this afternoon.
82 mins - Almost five but a brilliant tackle from Sol Davis to thwart Robbie Willmott from tapping home Taylor slide-rule pass.
81 mins Third and final sub for the Hatters, Lawless off for Stuart Fleetwood.
77 mins Second Town sub, Robbie Willmott on for Dance. By the way 3,247 is the crowd with 2,018 from Luton.
74 mins - Oh, should be five. Taylor does brilliantly down the left, skipping away from his man. He spots Dance at the back post and the winger smashes a shot inches wide. He wants a goal.
72 mins &nbsp;Kettering 0-4 TOWN (Taylor) Right where do we start? Firstly Dance misses an open net following Taylor's cut-back, hitting the top of the crossbar in the process. Then from the resultant corner from Howells, Watkins sees a bullet header hit the post...Kettering half-clear and the ball drops kindly for GREG TAYLOR to lash home his first for the club.
68 mins - Almost a chance for 4-0 as the Town break. Brunt chases a long ball but Walker is first to it but only finds Dance. With the keeper out of his goal and the crowd baying him to shoot the former Poppy goes on a mazy run and sees a shot stopped well by Walker.
61 mins &nbsp;GOAL! Kettering 0-3 TOWN (Kovacs) - I was just saying we hadn't had a goal for 50 minutes and then the Town win a corner down the left that Watkins centres and JANOS KOVACS sends a header past Walker through a sea bodies on the line. His second of the season.
60 mins First Hatters change: Ryan Brunt on for Aaron O'Connor
58 mins - Almost a chance for 3-0 as Howells breaks through on goal. The Kettering defence try to catch him and he squares to Dance but the pass isn't the best and the hosts clear.
57 mins - Half chance for the Town after patient build-up as Howells fires over from 20-ish yards.
53 mins - And another booking - this time for Kettering and to Sol Davis - for a late challenge on Kovacs who is flattened to the floor. Not an easy thing to do!
50 mins - Kovacs in the book for the Hatters - not sure why, though.
48 mins - Bright start from the Town at the start of this second half. Dance flicks an effort wide but I don't think he knew too much about it.
46 mins - No changes for either side at the break.
46 mins And we're off and underway for the second half as Kettering restart us. The Town are now shooting towards their massed ranks of support behind the goal.
HALF-TIME And that's the break and the Hatters lead comfortably at the break. It could have been more - the Town have twice hit the woodwork and Kettering have had a man sent-off. It'll be 11v10 in the second half. Join us then won't you.
45 mins + 2 - Lawless tries his luck from 40 yards with a low shot, attempting to catch Walker unawares but the keeper makes a comfortable save.
45 mins - Another Town effort hits the woodwork as an O'Connor effort deflects of Hughes-Mason and loops up and hits the crossbar. From the resultant corner, Kovacs missed at the back post. Two added minutes here.
40 mins - Bad news for the hosts as they're down to 10 men. Phil Ifil has gone in a bit too strong for referee Kinseley's liking and has&nbsp;shown him a straight red card for a challenge on Taylor.
36 mins - Don't worry, I'm still here, just been a dearth of chances. Kettering have come into things&nbsp;a&nbsp;bit more in the last 5-10 minutes.
29 mins - Half a sniff for the hosts as they win a right-wing corner, David Bridges heads wide of the post. Nothing troubling Pilkington.
23 mins - Ohhhh, almost 3-0, the ball is worked out to left to Taylor who sees a sweet strike come back off the foot of the post. Well and truly all the Town.
21 mins - Walker certainly keeping the Poppies in it as the Hatters continue to persue a third goal. Watkins floats a lovely corner to Alex Lawless on the edge of the box who lets fly with a firm effort that the home stopper does well to beat away.
20 mins - Flurry of action again...Howells cross, Dance brought down in the box, nothing given before Dance sees a shot deflected wide of a corner.
19 mins - Another right-wing raid from the Town, Dance drives a low cross that Walker holds.
15 mins - Still heavy period of Hatters pressure and it's almost 3-0 as the&nbsp;men in white threaten to run riot. O'Connor sprays the ball out to Greg Taylor down the left, he races into the box and lets fly with a shot that takes a deflection goalwards that Walker does well to tip away. Good save. All the Hatters here.
9 mins &nbsp;GOAL! Kettering 0-2 TOWN (Watkins) - The resulting corner gets played short to ADAM WATKINS who shimmies into the box and curls an absolute peach into the top right corner. His fourth of the season and a beauty. Nine minutes played and the Hatters lead 2-0.
8 mins - Almost two and almost a second for Howells, a lovely turn on the edge of the box before blasting a low shot that Walker does well to turn around the post.
4&nbsp;mins &nbsp;GOAL! Kettering 0-1 TOWN (Howells) - It took the Hatters almost half-an-hour to break the deadlock on Boxing Day but it's taken a lot less time this time round. JAKE HOWELLS does brilliantly to skin Phil Ifil down the left and finds Aaron O'Connor
. The latter's well-struck shot from 15 yards is parried by Laurie Walker but the ball falls perfectly at the feet of Howells who hammers home first time - his fifth of the season. Get in!
2 mins - Erm, first shot - and I used the term lightly, as the ball breaks to Jean-Paul Marna 12 yards out but the striker - fresh from a return from a loan spell at Corby - completely fluffs his chance by scewing an effort horribly wide.
2 mins - Hatters lining up with a back four of Osano, Pilkington, Kovacs and Taylor, Lawless holding with Watkins and Keane ahead of him in a narrow midfield three, Howells on the left, Dance on the right and O'Connor down the middle.
1 min And we're off as the Town kick-off -&nbsp;at the second attempt -&nbsp;kicking away from their support. Enjoy the updates. COYH.
14:56 HERE THEY COME
Out come the two sides onto the pitch, Kettering in red, Town in white. A great reception from the Hatters hordes.
14:45 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS
Andrew Barringer: 3-0 Luton, James Cunliffe: 2-0 Luton, Mark Wood: 3-0, Bill Cole: 4-1 Luton, Mike Simmonds: 3-1 Luton, Simon Pitts: 4-0 Luton.
14:22 THE TEAMS
Kettering: Walker, Ifil, Davis, Sangare, Marna, Bridges, Navarro, Noubissie, Hughes-Mason, O'Leary, Dawkin. Subs: Pryor, Jones.
Town: K. Pilkington, Taylor, G. Pilkington, Kovacs, Osano, Lawless, Keane, Watkins, Howells, Dance, O'Connor. Subs: Tyler, Willmott, Fleetwood, Kissock, Brunt.
14:20 TWO CHANGES
Town boss Gary Brabin makes two changes to the side that beat the Poppies on Boxing Day. In come Curtis Osano and James Dance for Danny Crow and Dan Gleeson who are both ill.
Kettering have Jean-Paul Marna back from a loan spell at Corby but still can only&nbsp;name two subs.
14:10 HOPE SPRINGS INTERNAL
A new year, a new start and hopefully a year that sees success for Luton Town Football Club.
And it all starts today on New Year's Day as the Hatters travel to Nene Park, the home of Kettering.
Fresh from Boxing Day's 5-0 win the Town will be hoping to repeat that feat as they look to begin 2012 with a bang.
2,000 Hatters fans will be&nbsp;making the short trip up the A6 to encourage their team to victory.
12:30 HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Good afternoon and welcome to 2012. We hope you've managed to drag yourselves out of bed if you've had a heavy night's celebration.
With that in mind, we'll just wish you a Happy New Year for now and we'll check in with you in an hour or so to preview today's big game against Kettering Town at Nene Park where 2,000 Town supporters will be in attendance..