McGeehan brace steals all three points for the Hatters
Two Cameron McGeehan penalties were enough for the 10 men of Luton Town to see off Newport County in a match full of drama.
A goalless first half was a stark contrast from an eventful second, with Luton awarded two penalties, one in the dying moments of the game, as well as a Newport goal sandwiched in between from a Myrie-Williams goal direct from a corner.
Although it was a cagey start, Luton grew into the game with a midfield diamond, of Lee, McGeehan, Cook and Pelly-Ruddock showing a good understanding, with strong movement and passing causing Newport problems in the middle of the pitch.
The first real chance of the game fell Jack Marriott’s way, as the striker and Cook, playing in the point of the diamond showed great combination play on the edge of the Exiles box, with Marriott being fed through on goal, but was forced into a tight angle with Day able to force the ball out for a corner.
With the Newport defence playing deep, Cook was able to find himself on the edge of the final third with space on more than one occasion, with two strong 25 yard efforts keeping Day busy in between the sticks for the Exiles, as he palmed both efforts away.
Town boss Nathan Jones said prior to the game his side need to be prepared for a strong showing from the away side from set-pieces, but the few that Newport did have were thwarted by the Hatters defence.
Luton managed to limit the visitors to counter attacks, with Sean Rigg twice working Walton in the net after quick breaks from Newport County, but he was unable to cause the Brighton and Hove Albion loanee any real problems
With the second half barely underway, Pelly Ruddock smashed the ball over the bar after a Cuthbert long ball was headed down by Hylton, but the midfielder was unable to keep his effort down after just 12 seconds.
It was Ruddock again for Luton who should’ve given his side the lead just two minutes later, when he found himself inside the penalty area with a clear shot at goal after some good play from Hylton, but he was denied comfortably by Day.
The Hatters could have taken the lead when Jack Marriott was expertly picked out in the box by Cook, but the forward somehow had his effort bound for the bottom left hand corner tipped wide.
Fortunately for Marriott, it didn’t matter, as after 61 minutes the Hatters were awarded a penalty.
Hylton carried the ball forwards, lost it on the edge, then regained it and as he cut in from the left hand side of the box, he was dragged down by the defender just inside the penalty area.
Cameron McGeehan clinically dispatched the ball into the bottom right hand corner, sending Day the wrong way, and it wasn’t the last time the 21 year old did so either.
Newport made a pair of substitutions immediately after and it paid, in an unexpected way.
Myrie-Williams lined up a corner on the right hand side for the visitors, swung the ball in, which beat everyone including the outstretched arm of Walton, and flew into the top left hand corner to bring the game level.
Newport substitute Jon Parkin gave the away side some muscle upfront they had been looking for, and the striker won his side a free-kick on the edge of the box, with Mullins going into the book for his trouble with 15 minutes to go.
With 85 minutes gone, Mullins received his second yellow after he brought down Jamie Turley 30 yards out from goal, but the Hatters were determined, as Lee and then Mpanzu went close for the Hatters.
As the game entered the final moments, Mpanzu made a run into the Newport box, was brought down and Luton had their chance to steal all three points at the death.
McGeehan had to wait for two minutes whilst the Exiles remonstrated with the referee, leading to Parkin being booked.
With Day already beaten once by McGeehan, the pressure was on to convert.
Unfortunately for Day, McGeehan once again sent him the wrong way, as he buried the ball in the bottom left hand corner, with Kenilworth Road erupting.
Luton saw out the remaining seconds, with the result keeping them top of League Two on seven points.
LUTON TOWN: Walton, O'Donnell, Potts, Mullins, Cuthbert (C), McGeehan, Hylton, Cook, Marriott, Mpanzu, Lee
SUBS: Smith, Gray, Vassell, McQuoid, King, Justin, Famewo
NEWPORT COUNTY AFC: Day, Butler, Jones, Turley, Labadie, Randall, Myrie-Williams, Jackson, Green, Bennett (C), Rigg
SUBS: Barnum-Bobb, Parkin, Tozer, Bignot, Sheehan, Owen-Evans, Bittner