Luton Town 4 Crawley Town 1: Reds great run comes crashing to an end at Luton

James Collins heads home the second for Luton last night
James Collins heads home the second for Luton last night

Former Crawley Town striker James Collins scored a brace against his old club to engineer a 4-1 defeat by leaders Luton Town.

Luton took the lead on the half hour on Tuesday night when Olly Lee netted off the crossbar.

They made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time from a set-piece thanks to former Reds striker Collins.

Luke Berry scored a third goal for the hosts in the second half.

Collins rubbed salt into the wounds with a 76th minute fourth goal after Josh Lelan brought him down in the area.

New Reds signing Karlan Ahearne-Grant netted a late consolation goal in the 87th minute with a lovely finish.

Head coach Harry Kewell made four changes from the side which beat Grimsby 3-0 on Saturday with Jordan Roberts, Mark Randall, Cedric Evina and Josh Payne coming in place of Josh Yorwerth, Dannie Bulman, Josh Doherty and Thomas Verheydt.

The Hatters made two changes from the line-up which drew 1-1 at Stevenage.

The leaders made some early attacks as Harry Cornick beat Mark Connolly and shot from an angle, forcing Glenn Morris to make a fine early save.

Morris was soon in action again to deny Luke Berry but the move was flagged for offside.

Collins hit the Crawley post before Glen Rea headed the rebound over the bar.

Collins then set-up Lee who scored off the crossbar to give the home side the lead.

Morris made his third big save of the game to tip over Collins’ downward header from Stacey’s cross.

Jordan Roberts nearly struck back for Crawley just before half-time and hit the post.

Collins then doubled his side’s lead just on half-time with a deflected effort from Lee’s corner.

The second half got underway with Kewell making two substitutions, bringing on Dutch giant striker Thomas Verheydt in place of Roberts while Doherty came on for Mark Randall.

Collins looking for a third goal hit an attempted bicycle-kick which went out for a goalkick.

Reds nearly pulled a goal back when Verheydt had a chance cleared off the goallline by Justin, then Enzio Boldewijn’s shot was saved by Marek Stech.

Stacey supplied Berry from the right to score a fine 56th minute third goal to send the visitors home disappointed.

Collins tried to score a fourth, with a first-time shot supplied by Lee, but the ball flew over the bar.

Boldewijn gave Reds skipper Jimmy Smith an attempt to score from 25-yards which ballooned high over the bar.

Collins made it 4-0 with 14 minutes to go from the penalty spot after Lelan tripped him in the box.

Ahearne-Grant scored a brilliant consolation goal from a jinking run with three minutes to go.

Finally Verheydt was denied by Stech in Reds’s last chance of the game.

Crawley Town: Morris, Young, Grant, Lelan, Roberts (Verheydt 46), Randall (Doherty 46), Connolly, Evina, Payne, Smith (capt), Boldewijn.

Unused subs: McNerney, Mersin (GK), Tajbakhsh, Bulman

Luton Town: Stech, Stacey, Rea, Sheehan, Justin, Downes, Berry, Lee, Shinnie (Jervis 84), Cornick (Gambin 90), Collins

Unused subs: Mullins, Cook, Mpanzu, D’Ath, Shea

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 8,020 (away 267)