Town back to winning ways with comfortable home victory
The Hatters bounced back to form after two successive defeats with a routine home victory over Accrington Stanley and close the gap on the top three in League 2.
After the visitors had frustrated the Town in the opening half at Kenilworth Road, Jayden Stockley’s thumping header four minutes before half-time had the Hatters ahead.
And on the hour the Hatters doubled their lead when Luke Guttridge side-footed home inside the penalty area having taken Elliot Lee’s pass in his stride.
That made the game safe as the Town held onto record their 11th home win in 14 unbeaten matches in League 2.
But it could have started oh-so differently when Accrington, who beat league leaders Burton in the week, came close to taking the lead inside six minutes. Striker Terry Gornell raced clear of the Town defence but Elliot Justham made himself big to snuff out the danger.
Accrington were pushing the Hatters back for long spells in the first half and Justham was called into action again on 21 minutes when he palmed away a dangerous cross from Piero Mingoia before pouncing on the loose ball to thwart the visitors.
Three minutes later Fraser Franks cut out another cross from the right at Stanley continued to press, before Jonathan Smith charged down Kal Naismith’s shot and Justham claimed a Gornell header.
But, as the break approached, the Town upped the ante. And the Hatters came close to breaking the deadlock on 37 minutes when Lee’s header from a left-wing Jake Howells cross was kept out by Stanley keeper Scott Davies at his near post.
With the Hatters now sensing an opportunity, the breakthrough finally arrived four minutes before half-time. Lee did well to win a corner which Guttridge swung in from the left, and Stockley rose above everyone in the box to crash home a header. It was the striker’s second goal in as many games, and his third in total since arriving on-loan from Bournemouth.
The Hatters began the second period in the ascendancy with Cameron McGeehan – making his first start at Kenilworth Road since rejoining on-loan – flicking a header wide of the target five minutes after the restart.
The Town then thought they should have had a penalty a minute later when Lee was sent tumbling in the penalty area.
But the Hatters did double their lead shortly after the hour mark. Lee was the creator, shaping to shoot but instead spotting the run of Guttridge, and with time and space the midfielder finished smartly past Davies to make it 2-0. It was his third goal of the season – all of which have come on home soil.
With the Hatters now in command, it was almost 3-0 three minutes later when McGeehan’s inch-perfect cross was missed at the back-post by Jake Howells.
As time ticked down, and as Accrington’s attacks diminished, John Still introduced Alex Lawless and Mark Cullen from the substitutes’ bench and with a minute left on the clock Cullen almost grabbed a third for the Hatters, only to see his header from Guttridge’s free-kick tipped away by Davies.
With the game almost up, Cullen let fly with a rasping effort from distance that Davies needed to tip over and that was that.
Another home win, another clean sheet and with all the teams above them in the table dropping points the Town can look forward to their trip to Bury on Tuesday night. BE THERE!
Town: Justham; Harriman, Griffiths, Wilkinson, Franks; Smith, Howells, McGeehan; Guttridge; Stockley (sub Cullen 82), Lee (sub Lawless 72).
Subs not used: Whalley, Oduwa, Parry, Drury, King.
Attendance: 8,700, including 87 from Accrington.