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Luton Town 4 Rovers 0

23 March 2019

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It was a difficult day for Rovers as league leaders Luton Town turned on the style at Kenilworth Road.

After a tight opening half, the home side showed their class as goals from Danny Hylton, Kazenga LuaLua and Luke Berry added to their first-half opener from Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu and continued the Hatters' impressive run which sees them still unbeaten at home all season.

Rovers boss Grant McCann was forced in to two changes, withBen Whiteman and Herbie Kane ruled out through injury. Aaron Lewis came in at right back, with Matty Blair pushing forward into the midfield three and Ali Crawford taking on a central holding role.

Another notable change to the matchday squad was a place on the bench for Academy player Lirak Hasani.

Luton Manager Mick Harford was also forced into a few changes. The Hatters' top striker James Collins was away on international duty for Ireland, so Dan Pott and Kazenga LuaLua came into the starting XI.

LuaLua proved a handful from the off and, while Lewis did not get booked for his first foul on the striker, which he arguably deserved, he did receive a card for his second, which he arguably did not. It was the free-kicks resulting from these fouls which gave the home side their best chances of the opening 20 minutes as James Justin's delivery asked questions of the Rovers defensive unit but Marko Marosi then Paul Downing were able to see the danger clear.

At the other end, Rovers had a few half-chances of their own. Mallik Wilks did well to breeze past two Luton defenders and burst into the box, but his shot towards the near post was saved comfortably by James Shea.

And Lewis, who was busy in the opening exchanges, linked up well with Matty Blair to burst down the right and knock a good cross in the box for John Marquis who attempted a chest and volley, but he was unable get the power he needed to find the back of the net.

A third half-chance came when James Coppinger was able to chip a fantastic ball over the Luton defence and into the path of Marquis, but the home backline were able to clear the ball.

The home side had been forced into an early substitution when an injured Danny Potts was replaced by Luke Berry, prompting a slight change in formation.

Berry had an headed effort saved before Mpanzu grabbed the lead with an effort from the edge of the box which crept in at the far post to put the home side and league-leaders a goal up.

Andy Butler headed wide from a corner, but at the interval the home side held a narrow advantage.

There were no changes for either team at the break and Luton doubled their advantage just before the hour mark through Hylton.

McCann opted for a change to try and get back into the game, as Tommy Rowe and Mallik Wilks left the field to be replaced by the pace of Kieran Sadlier and Tyler Smith.

Elliot Lee saw an effort smash against the woodwork for the Hatters, and Hylton had the ball in the net again but was ruled out for offside.

McCann opted to make another chance with Hasani coming on for his Rovers debut to replace Lewis.

The 16-year-old looked assured his holding midfield role, while Blair took over at right-back.

The change gave Rovers the opportunity to push Ali Crawford further forward and that did bear some fruit as the Scotsman found Marquis who in turn found Smith.

The loanee forward's effort was blocked for a corner. The delivery was punched clear but only to Sadlier. His effort towards the far post was cleared and launched a break for Luton through Hylton who saw his one-on-one effort saved by Marosi.

Marosi was unable to do anything about LuaLua's similar chance moments later as the striker took his opportunity to make it 3-0.

There would be even more heartbreak for Rovers in injury time as Berry's impressive solo effort from range found the back of the net to cap off an impressive second-half display from the home side.


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