Rovers flew out of the traps at the living Beamish Museum football exhibit that is Luton Town’s Kenilworth Road home. John Marquis missed a sitter of a header three minutes in, moments before effecting harrying from Donny’s front five saw an attempted clearance ricochet across the area for Andy Williams to head onto the crossbar. Marquis then did find the net, only to be denied by the assistant referee’s flag, before finally the inevitable was delivered by James Coppinger, smashing the ball home from a tight angle in front of the travelling fans.
At that point it seemed the only questions was of how many Rovers would win by, but as the celebrations faded into a lengthy stoppage to asses a neck injury to Luton’s Scott Cuthbert all momentum duly drained from the game, and despite having dominated for it’s opening quarter Rovers were never in it again.
Cameron McGeehan equalised for Luton on 36 minutes; turning in Olly Lee’s driven low-cross, and within five minutes Jack Marriott had latched on to Danny Hylton’s backheel to put the home side ahead of the break. When the otherwise commendable Joe Wright tripped Pelly Ruddock in the box ten minutes from time, the home side wrapped things up through McGeehan’s penalty.
I’d be lying if I said the spectacle of Phantom of the Opera mask wearing Hylton getting a second yellow-card for throwing a litter-picker towards a linesman hadn’t lifted the mood slightly, but by then the game was long lost.
by Glen Wilson