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3 September 2016

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Five-star Hylton hits hat-trick as Hatters run riot

Hylton 11, 56, 88
Cook 90

Bloomfield 63

Att: 8.097 (530 away)

A Danny Hylton hat-trick – and an assist to set up Jordan Cook’s first goal in a Hatters shirt – took the Town to the top of Sky Bet League Two with a comprehensive dismantling of Wycombe this afternoon.

Hylton scored an early opener, then – after Cameron McGeehan had missed a first-half penalty – bagged a simple second and took responsibility himself for a penalty he won to claim the matchball, before teeing up Cook for an injury-time fourth.

It was a second successive league win for Nathan Jones’ men, scoring seven times in the process, to jump back above Morecambe at the summit on a wonderful afternoon for the club.

It started with the gaffer, along with head of recruitment and club legend Mick Harford, sharing his letter to Luton Borough Council in support of the planning applications for the new stadium at Power Court and Newlands Park with the 7,500 home fans inside the ground.

Town supporters’ groups spent the morning sticking a leaflet explaining how people can write with their own reasons for backing the plans – which is crucial – on every seat. They were encouraged to take any parts they wish from Jones' example.

When it came to writing his teamsheet, the Welshman made one change from the last league encounter at Cambridge, with captain Scott Cuthbert coming in for Glen Rea, who is away on international duty with the Republic of Ireland Under-21s.

New loan signing from Newcastle, Alex Gilliead, came onto the bench in place of Josh McQuoid with Akin Famewo also in the 18-man matchday squad after an impressive showing in the midweek Checkatrade Trophy win at Gillingham.

The Hatters bossed possession in the early exchanges and managed to work an opening for Stephen O’Donnell in the eighth minute that Chairboys keeper Jamal Blackman saved with his feet.

Jones’ men did not have to wait long for the breakthrough, however, and after a patient build-up saw the ball worked out to Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu on the right wing, the Hatters midfielder bamboozled left-back Sido Jombati with a brilliant turn and nutmeg, then crossed for Hylton to flick in at the near post.

It could have been two a couple of minutes later when Hylton played Cook through on goal, but the midfielder’s attempted chip was claimed comfortably by the onrushing Blackman.

The Town attackers were in the mood to enjoy themselves and Hylton was soon nutmegging Jombati in the box, but his chip was intercepted, before Mpanzu pulled off a third nutmeg in as many minutes in the middle of the park and sent Marriott scampering into the area, but Wycome managed to clear the striker’s low cross.

In the 24th minute, Marriott teed up Mpanzu on the left with a backheel, but Blackman parried the Town midfielder’s shot and McGeehan couldn’t force the rebound home, protesting that he’d been fouled right by the post and picking up a yellow card from referee Graham Scott in the process.

Seconds later, Marriott fashioned an opportunity for himself on the edge of the box, but his low left-foot drive was pulled inches wide.

The Hatters had a glorious chance to double the lead on 27 minutes when Cook raced clear and was felled by McGinn, who had already been booked, just as he entered the box. Unfortunately McGeehan’s spot-kick was saved low to his right by Blackman.

Wanderers reminded the Hatters they had something to offer just after the half-hour when Christian Walton had to save low at his near post from Matt Bloomfield, before Anthony Stewart sent a towering header just wide from the resulting corner.
Quite how the score was only 1-0 at half-time was difficult to comprehend, but the Hatters came out of the blocks quickly again and Hylton skipped past his man in the penalty area and squared for strike partner Marriott, whose shot was blocked on the line, as was Potts’ follow-up.

It was one-way traffic again and Marriott soon flashed in a cross that Mpanzu flicked wide as he got across his man in the six-yard box.

The lead was eventually doubled in the 56th minute when Hylton got his second, tapping in from close range after Marriott’s initial shot had been blocked and Cook had squared for McGeehan to side-foot one goalwards, Blackman saving low but only shovelling the ball into Hylton’s grateful path.

The visitors dragged themselves back into things with a rare attack just after the hour, when veteran midfielder Bloomfield raced through the middle and held off the challenge of Scott Cuthbert to fire low into the bottom corner.

Wycombe were enjoying their best spell of the game and Jones introduced Jonathan Smith, captain and scorer in midweek at Gillingham, in the 68th minute for Mpanzu. The 29-year-old midfielder was soon into the referee’s notepad, within 30 seconds, for a foul on Danny Rowe.

Wycombe introduced a new strike duo with just under 20 minutes left, with Adebayo Akinfenwa and Garry Thompson coming on. It was the latter who was first to call Walton into action on 76 minutes, forcing the Town stopper into a smart save at his near post.

With a shade over ten minutes to go, the Hatters went on the attack again with O’Donnell clipping a delightful ball into the area that McGeehan took in his stride and forced Blackman into another fine save.

Another of the midweek stars, Isaac Vassell, came on in the 82nd minute for Marriott, who left the pitch to rousing applause. Within seconds the summer singing from Truro City was proving how accustomed he is becoming with being a professional footballer once again, skipping past Will De Havilland on the right and reaching the byline, only for his cross to be cut out for a corner.

With two minutes left of normal time, Hylton – who else? – put the game to bed. A terrific all-round performance was capped by the Hatters hitman winning the penalty, being brought down the De Havilland, and taking responsibility himself to complete his treble from 12 yards.

And the ex-Oxford man wasn’t finished there, scampering away from the edge of his own box – three on one with McGeehan and Cook to each side of him – and timing his pass to perfection to put the latter in the clear.

This time Cook kept a cool head to slide his shot low past the onrushing Blackman to make it four and complete a great day for the Hatters.

TOWN: Walton, O'Donnell, Mullins, Cuthbert (c), Potts, Lee, McGeehan, Mpanzu (Smith 68), Cook, Hylton (Famewo 90+2), Marriott (Vassell 82). Subs: Gray, Gilliead, King (GK), Justin

Yellows: McGeehan, Cook

WYCOMBE: Blackman, Jombati, McGinn (Gape 54), Stewart, Hayes (c), Bloomfield, Southwell (Akinfenwa 72), Harriman, Rowe, Freeman (Thompson 72), De Havilland. Subs: Richardson, Pierre, Wood, Kashket.

Yellows: Bloomfield, McGinn, Hayes

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