Stanley 0

Luton Town 3

ACCRINGTON Stanley paid the penalty as they were beaten by League One leaders Luton Town in a tale of spot kicks, sunshine and sendings off.

Goalkeeper Dimitar Evtimov was villain, hero and villain again in the space of 25 first half minutes as the Reds played two thirds of the game with 10 men and ultimately lost 3-0.

Manager John Coleman was without Sam Finley, ruled out for the season with a knee injury, so Scott Brown came into the side which had defeated Walsall last time out.

That side could barely have started worse though, with Evtimov miscontrolling a backpass inside his area and allowing striker James Collins to pounce. The keeper’s attempt to get the ball back only impeded his opponent and referee Carl Boyeson pointed to the spot and showed him a yellow card.

Collins himself stepped up, only to see Evtimov atone with a save that kept it at 0-0.

Reprieved, Stanley began to settle a little more and though they were mostly on the back foot began to make some progress into Luton territory as they sought back-to-back home wins for the first time since October.

All hopes of that feat were soon dashed though as the home side failed to learn their lessons.

A Mark Hughes header back towards his own goal caused confusion between Evtimov and defender Callum Johnson and Kazenga Lua Lua nipped in, got a toe to the ball and collided with a sliding Evtimov.

Again Mr Boyeson pointed to the spot, leaving the defenders with faces as red as the card that followed for the Bulgarian.

This time Collins didn’t miss his opportunity as he powered the penalty past sub keeper Jonny Maxted to make it 1-0.

Coleman’s side tried to regroup and initially responded well with Sean McConville shooting narrowly over the bar.

Moments later all eyes were on the referee again as Collins, back defending, seemed to push Billy Kee in the back inside the box but the appeals were waved away.

Inevitably the attacking impetus was with Luton and they should have doubled their lead before the break.

Rampaging full back Jack Stacey was denied by Maxted and then Hughes before Lua Lua nicked the ball from the experienced defender, surged into the box and looked to have Maxted beaten only to place his shot wide.

It was a similar story after the break with Maxted again saving from Stacey, Hughes clearing a George Moncur free kick off the line and the goalkeeper making a superb stop to keep out Elliott Lee’s header.

A second goal seemed like it would be conclusive and so it proved when Moncur’s corner was headed on by former Stanley man Matty Pearson for Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu to turn and shoot beyond Maxted.

Coleman’s ire was probably made worse by a feeling his team should have had a second penalty soon after, when Janoi Donacien seemed to be kicked in the shins inside the six yard box by Collins.

The closing stages were damage limitation for the relegation-threatened Reds but they could do nothing about Ruddock Mpanzu’s stunning second.

Three minutes from time the midfielder picked the ball up on the left flank cut in and rocketed the third goal into the top right corner of Maxted’s net.