In-form Luton are simply four-some
IT’S FOUR wins from four for Luton Town as they romped to victory at Hartlepool United.
Backed by Pools’ boss Ronnie Moore to win the title this season, the Hatters showed their clinical nature as they took their chances.
At the other end, Pools had 17 shots at goal – and converted only one as they lost heavily at home for the second time in a week.
Substitute Jack Marriott netted twice to turn the game on its head, and victory was capped off by a fine strike in injury time by midfielder Ollie Lee.
Hatters’ assistant boss Terry Harris said: “We are delighted with the result after a few miles this week. To score seven away in two games is fantastic.
“We’ve got 15 on the road this season already and only got 23 all last season – but it was a bit too open for me.
“Losing Craig Mackail-Smith early on with a hamstring problem was a blow, but Jack came on and stretched their defence well.
“Jack has six for the season now and he’s only made two starts! He’s a nightmare to play against always looking to get in behind.’’
Jonathan Smith cracked the visitors into the lead with a crisp, first-time strike after goalkeeper Adam Bartlett parried Luke Guttridge’s initial shot.
But Pools levelled when Rhys Oates swung a cross over for Billy Paynter to head in at the far post in an entertaining first half.
Marriott then took charge with two goals in four minutes to make it six for the season.
On as a replacement for Mackail-Smith, who was suffering from a hamstring strain, the former Ipswich prospect was a constant menace.
First he got in between defence and goalkeeper to poke the ball under Bartlett after a long header from Steve McNulty caught Pools centre-half Scott Harrison napping.
Then he tucked in from close range, meeting a cross from the impressive Guttridge after Bradley Halliday missed the ball.
Pools pressed and kept going, but were unable to get past inspired Mark Tyler.
The Hatters’ keeper saved three one-onone efforts after the striker was in on goal. Pools’ boss Moore said: “I don’t know how we lost – football can be cruel.
“We had the first chance after four minutes, score and it’s different.
“We got in behind them, got on the front foot and it was cruel to be one down. We got level, good ball in, good finish and I don’t think anyone in the ground saw that second half coming.
“We defended sloppily – a long ball from the back catches us flat and they score, then we miss a cross completely and the lad taps in. Fourth one, good finish, but we didn’t defend it well enough in the build up.’’