Hatters lose two-goal lead at Huish Park
The Hatters fell to their second consecutive league defeat this afternoon at a muggy Huish Park.
First half goals from Craig Mackail Smith and Paul Benson cancelled out by a Stephen Arthurworrey header and two second half goals from Yeovil sub Ryan Bird.
Luton fall away dramatically in the second half.
Luton travelled to Yeovil in Somerset today for only the second time – but it would turn out to be a fruitless trip for the Town who fell to a disappointing 3-2 defeat.
Things started brightly enough for the Hatters, who won the toss and kicked off with over 700 travelling fans cheering them on behind Mark Tyler’s goal. Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, a change from earlier in the week against Bristol Rovers. Three changes were made to personnel too – with Danny Green, Ryan Hall and Jonathan Smith making the starting XI.
Luton were quickest out of the blocks in the early exchanges, and after three minutes Danny Green whipped a cross in just over Paul Benson’s head into the Yeovil Keeper Krysiak’s hands.
Then, a minute later a goal to Luton as Craig Mackail Smith spotted the Yeovil keeper off his line and met a cross with a sweet volley, fully 25 yards out. The shot flew past Krysiak, and into the back of the net. This was Mackail Smith’s first league goal for the Hatters, and one to remember.
The positive start continued, with some good passing movements for Luton, with Wilkinson, McGeehan and Green moving the ball quickly between them. And on 16 minutes, the Town were two to the good.
Ryan Hall met a cross with a volleyed shot which took a deflection. The resulting corner was delivered long and deep by Green. Bravely, Jonathan Smith headed the ball back back into the path of Wilkinson making a simple pass to Paul Benson who simply slotted the ball home.
From that moment on, the tide turned Yeovil’s way. Stephen McNulty picked up a yellow card for holding on to Jeffers over by the far touchline, as the Glovers started creeping back into the game. On 37 minutes, an unmarked Stephen Arthurworrey rose to meet a cross from the left with a solid header past Mark Tyler for 2-1.
His goal lifted the Yeovil team, and the half came to a nervy close, with Hatters skipper McNulty receiving a stern word from referee Hooper.
As the two teams came out for the second half, the weather looked to be taking a turn for worse with dark skies and some spots of rain. McNulty unsurprisingly made way at half time, with manager John Still looking to avoid losing the player to a possible second yellow. Mark O’Brien came on his in his place for the Hatters.
The Glovers came out looking up for it, with the home side testing the Luton defence with a through ball to Jeffers, who was caught narrowly offside.
Early in the half, Paul Benson had a volleyed shot turned around the post, and Cameron McGeehan also had shot parried behind, but the corner delivered by Ryan Hall was too long to pose any danger. Hall was substituted a few moments later for Alex Lawless.
Yeovil then really started putting the pressure on the Hatters defence. On 53 minutes Dolan nearly put Smith through down the right flank with an inventive cross, but the ball went out for a throw. Yeovil continued with this strategy - trying to get through the Luton defence, and were caught out on two or three occasions by the offside trap.
The real turning point came with the arrival of Ryan Bird as a sub, on for Ryan Jeffers on the hour mark. The Yeovil equaliser came soon after. Luton failed to close the attack down quickly, and Harry Cornick made his way through for Bird to stroke the ball past Tyler.
John Still looked to mix things up with the introduction of Paddy McCourt on for Danny Green after 65 minutes, and the weather looked to make things a misery for everyone with heavy and prolonged shower.
With the town looking nervy on 72 minutes, Paul Benson went down holding his neck – looking a bit dazed. Play continued as Ryan Bird picked up the ball over on the right after a Jonathan Smith clearance ricocheted back into his path and fired home confidently past Tyler in goal to take the lead.
All that remained for Yeovil was to see the game out. Jonathan Smith was getting stuck in in midfield, but was penalised on 85 minutes for a strong two footed challenge. The last half chance of the game came as Griffiths sent a cross-cum-shot bouncing of the top of the Yeovil crossbar on 89 minutes.
The match came to a close after 3 minutes of time added, with Yeovil marking their first points of the 15-16 campaign, and more questions than answers for John Still and his team.
Luton host Premiership Stoke City on Tuesday night in the Capital One Cup.
Luton: Tyler, Smith, McNulty (Y), Cuthbert, McGeehan, Benson, Hall, Green, Griffiths, Mackail Smith, Wikinson,
Subs: Lawless (58), McCourt(65), Justham, Ruddock Mpanzu, McQuoid, O’Brien (HT), O’Donnell
Yeovil: Krysiak, Smith ©, Dolan, Arthurworrey, Sokolik, Jeffers, Compton, Lacey, Cornick, Roberts, Wakefield
Subs: Bird (60), Weale, Burrows, Sowunmi, Allen (72), Beck, Norris
Referee – Simon Hooper