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Stanley 0 Luton 3

20 April 2019

Ten-man Stanley slipped to a defeat against League One leaders Luton in front of the Sky cameras.

The Reds had to battle for almost 70 minutes with ten-men when keeper Dimi Evtimov was sent off and James Collins scored the resulting penalty – the Bulgarian stopper had already saved a spot kick in the fourth minute.

Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu made the three points safe with a second half double.

It was agony for the Reds who are three points above the relegation places in a tightly packed bottom half of the table with three games to go.

Scott Brown came in for the injured Sam Finley – the only change from the 2-1 victory against Walsall last time out.

John Coleman applauded the home fans before the game as they came with balloons, flags and banners.

Luton could have made a dream start as they were awarded a penalty on three minutes when Evtimov was judged to have brought down Collins in the area and was shown a yellow card.

Collins dusted himself down to take the penalty but the Bulgarian keeper dived low to collect it.

Luton were forcing the pressure and Collins leapt high for a header but Evtimov collected comfortably while, at the other end, Jordan Clark dragged an effort wide.

The Hatters were awarded another penalty on 22 minutes when Evtimov this time was judged to have brought down Kazenga Lualua and was shown a second yellow. Jonny Maxted came on with midfielder Brown leaving the field.

Collins this time made no mistake, blasting the ball past Maxted with 24 minutes gone.

Sean McConville wasn't far off with a 20-yard effort soon after and the Reds appealed for a penalty when Billy Kee went over in the area but referee Carl Boyeson waved play on.

Luton continued to look the more threatening with the man advantage and Jack Stacey was denied twice by Maxted

Lualua should have scored when he got the ball on the edge of the area and he tried to curl it past Maxted but he also sent it around the far post.

Stanley kept pressing, Clark trying to run clean through and McConville having a strike blocked on the stroke of half-time.

Luton pressed at the beginning of the second half with Maxted keeping out a Stacey drive.

There was some superb defending from Stanley on 56 minutes with Mark Hughes twice clearing off the line and Maxted making a superb save to keep out Elliot Lee's header.

Luton got the second on 68 minutes when a James Justin corner was headed down by ex-Red Matty Pearson and Ruddock-Mpanzu swivelled and fired home.

Stanley had a couple of goalmouth scrambles but just couldn't find the final shot while Maxted continued to impress, denying Harry Cornick.

There was more agony for Stanley on 85 minutes when Newcastle loan midfielder Dan Barlaser was stretchered off and, to rub salt into their wounds, Ruddock Mpanzu rifled home a second on 85 minutes.


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