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Match Reports

REPORT & GALLERY | FLEETWOOD TOWN 1 LUTON TOWN 2

Moncur and Mpanzu on target as the Hatters set new club record of 20 EFL games without defeat

16 February 2019

The Hatters set a new club record this afternoon by making it 20 EFL games without defeat by beating Fleetwood Town 2-0 at Highbury Stadium.

That result meant that the Town, who extended their cushion over third place to 11 points, have not been beaten since the trip to Barnsley in mid-October and have broken the 19-game unbeaten Football League with a sixth successive victory - a record that has stood for 50 years.

George Moncur, with his fourth goal for the club on his first start, set the ball rolling just before half-time, and Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu - with a long-range shot that Fleetwood keeper Alex Cairns couldn't deal with - bagged the second that sealed the win four minutes into the second half.

In truth, it was relatively comfortable from then on in as the Hatters recorded a 16th win in that 20-game run, Paddy Madden's 18th goal of the season two minutes into injury-time proving a consolation for the hosts.

Harford made one enforced change to his starting line-up; with Moncur coming in to the midfield at the tip of the diamond following his two-goal substiutute's performance against Wycombe last week in place of Luke Berry, who was sidelined by the hamstring niggle that forced him off late in the second half of that 3-0 win.

The other changes were on the bench, where Elliot Lee returns after missing the last five matches through injury, and Kazenga LuaLua after being absent last Saturday with a tight hamstring.

That meant James Shea was in goal, with a back four of Jack Stacey, Matty Pearson, captain Sonny Bradley and James Justin.

Alan McCormack anchored the midfield with Mpanzu and Andrew Shinnie either side of him and Moncur at the tip of the diamond, behind a front two of 19-goal top scorer James Collins and Danny Hylton.

The hosts had the first shot on goal in the seventh minute, as Ross Wallace fired straight at Shea from 25 yards.

The Town's first attack of note came soon after when Mpanzu, Shinnie, Moncur and Stacey combined down the right and the full-back's dangerous cross caused consternation in the home defence, as Lewie Coyle eventually turned the ball back to his goalkeeper Cairns, with referee Peter Bankes ingnoring appeals for handball from the travelling fans behind the goal.

The Hatters' first corner saw Justin roll it low to the edge of the box where Shinnie let fly with a first-time effort that was goalbound until it struck a Fleetwood defender in the six-yard box, but the Town were starting to find their rhythm.

Wallace, who was shown a yellow card for a late challenge on Shinnie by the left touchline, tried his luck with a volley from fully 40 yards after Shea's clearance from just outside his area flew straight to the Scottish midfielder. Bradley managed to deflect the effort wide for a corner, which the Town defended well.

A deep free-kick from Wallace on the right led to another chance for the hosts as Paddy Madden volleyed over the bar, then Wes Burns and Alan McCormack were both booked in a stop-start period, with Burns the third home player to be yellow carded for fouls, Jack Sowerby the other.

The Town were in front four minutes before half-time, and it was Moncur who once more came up with the goods for his fourth goal in a Luton shirt.

It came after Hylton had flicked McCormack through the middle with a delightful touch, with Shinnie wiped out to the right of the box as he cut inside onto the Irishman's sideways pass.

Jason Holt became the fourth Fleetwood player to be booked for a foul, but Moncur didn't need a second invitation - coming up with another stunning free-kick, Justin again acting as the decoy as he did against Portsmouth, and Moncur whipping a brilliant right-foooted shot around the wall into the top corner.

Fleetwood tried to respond, and Wallace had another go from distance, but this one went well wide of Shea's near post and the Hatters were comfortable until the break.

The lead was extended four minutes after the interval when Mpanzu netted his second of the season, albeit with a helping hand from Fleetwood keeper Cairns who seemed to be deceived by the movement of the ball from the midfielder's 25-yard shot.

The Town had done well to work the ball down the right initially, with Shinnie preventing it from going wholly over the line and Collins eventually switching the play to the left, where Mpanzu let fly and the ball was soon nestling in the bottom corner, Cairns palming it away from the centre of the goal where the powerful shot had been hit straight at him.

Again, Fleetwood went for an immediate reply, but Shea was equal to James Husband's low drive, then right-back Lewie Coyle hit a 68th-minute shot that only troubled the top of the Percy Ronson Stand housing the standing majority of the 1,083 travelling Hatters.

The Hatters came close to adding a third in the 76th minute when McCormack led a blistering counter-attack from a Fleetwood corner, charging down an attempt to play the ball back into the Town box on the edge of the centre circle.

The midfielder carried the ball to the 30-yard mark and slipped Stacey into the area to his left, with the right-back crossing low for Elliot Lee - just on as a sub for Moncur - but Fleetwood sub Ashley Hunter did brilliantly to get back and block at point-blank range in the six-yard box.

Harford brought George Thorne on for the excellent McCormack, but Shea was the next keeper called into action, diving at Ched Evans' feet as the ex-Wales international striker looked to pull the trigger after controlling a deep cross on his chest.

Shea needed treatment for his trouble as he tried to preserve a 16th league clean sheet of the season, but he was soon picking the ball out of the back of his net in injury-time when Madden volleyed in for the hosts.

It mattered little as the Town lads wrote their names further into the club's annals. Well done you history-making Hatters!

 

TOWN: Shea, Stacey, Pearson, Bradley (c), Justin, McCormack (Thorne 82), Mpanzu, Shinnie, Moncur (Lee 68), Collins, Hylton (Sheehan 86). Subs: Potts, Cummings, LuaLua, Isted.

Yellows: McCormack, Moncur, Collins

Goals: Moncur 41, Mpanzu 49

FLEETWOOD: Cairns, Coyle, Holt (Nadesan 58), Eastham (c), Burns, Souttar, Wallace (Hunter 76), Husband, Sowerby (Sheron 84), Madden, Evans. Subs: Morgan, Biggins, Garner, Jones (GK)

Goal: Madden 90+2

Yellows: Wallace, Sowerby, Burns, Holt

REFEREE: Peter Bankes

 


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