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Rampant Luton hit eight


In the opening game of the 2017-18 League Two season, Luton Town went on a record breaking goalscoring rampage against Yeovil Town in Bedfordshire. Luton Town 8, Yeovil Town 2.

One’s first question has to be, “How the faff, do you follow that one”.

What a match. The half time score could so easily have been in double figures before half time, such was intensity of the game.


The season’s opening game was one of the most pulsating and entertaining league matches for many a year at Kenilworth Road.

From the kick off Luton surged forward, new signing from fellow Leaguer one side Crawley Town, James Collins, found himself in space with only the Yeovil keeper to beat, maybe it was first day nerves, but his shot going straight into the hands of the visitor’s Polish keeper Artur Krysiak.

The Hatters continued to press and just minutes later Collins again found himself with a perfect opportunity, only for his right footed shot to be blocked on the line by defender Keston Davies.

The Luton support was intense, but on seven minutes they were silenced (for a short while), when from just outside the Luton penalty box, following Alan Sheehan’s clumsy tackle on Francois Zoko, Otis Khan stepped up to place the ball securely in the top right hand corner, to give the Somerset side a surprise lead.

From the restart Luton pushed forward, on loan from Birmingham City, midfielder Andrew Shinnie saw his worthy shot from outside the box saved.

Luton continued to press forward and they were rewarded after twelve minutes. Isaac Vassell, looking leaner and meaner than anytime last season, surged down the left flank, shimmied past a flat footed Yeovil defender, lifted the ball across goal, finding Olly Lee with precision, who placed the ball perfectly into the left hand corner to put the game level.

The Luton vocal support was again at full volume.


Luton were now on a high, Two minutes and James Collins again had a good chance thwarted when his header, from a left sided free kick, fell into the hands of the Yeovil keeper. The debutant striker would not have been blamed for thinking that this was not to be his day.

Both side’s then had opportunities to take the lead. Otis Khan’s shot saved by Stech and Isaac Vassell watched his header drift past the post.

Nineteen minutes into the game and James Collins was able to let out a sigh of relief, a perfectly placed ball from Andrew Shinnie found the striker who ran past defenders and slotted the ball neatly past Krysiak, to give the home side a much deserved lead.

Again, Luton bombarded the Yeovil goal, Olly Lee went close to securing his second of the game, but his header blocked on the line. The Hatters were looking more like a Championship side at the very least in comparison to the Grovers. Vassell was running Yeovil ragged down the left hand side, he was relentless in his pursuit.

Yeovil’s former Jamaican international defender, Nathan Smith, conceded a corner to Luton’s right, the corner was cleared as far as another of the Hatters debutants, Alan McCormack, who from a full thirty yards out unleashed an inexorable volley into the top left hand corner of the away teams goal. Kenilworth Road duly erupted. Luton were relentless in their chase for goals. Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu had a good chance to make if four only for his shot to be averted by the over worked Krysiak.

If there was one player who deserved a goal to his credit throughout the first half proceedings it was most definitely Isaac Vassell and he was justly remunerated in the thirty sixth minute. A high ball down the centre from the Luton defence, Vassell able to bring the ball to his feet, despite being between two defenders with ease he brushed them off and with a show of simplicity slipped the ball past the sprawling goalkeeper, four one to Luton and still nine minutes of the first half remaining.

Two minutes later and the superlative Vassell made it five with his second goal in as many minutes. A beautifully placed cross by James Collins from the right found Vassell who with casual ease placed the ball out of reach of the hapless Krysiak. Five one to a rampant Hatters team.

Despite the unpitying powers of the home side Yeovil showed no intention of giving up their challenge and they were awarded a penalty in the fortieth minute when Alan McCormack bought down midfielder Ryan Dickson in the area, there were no complaints from the home side, a clear cut decision which resulted in McCormack being shown a yellow card. Otis Khan’s tame kick was superbly saved though by Marek Stech diving to his right. Yeovil were probably realising this was not going to get any better for them and with still the second forty five to contend with one would not wanted to be in their boots.

Again Luton attacked the Yeovil goal with venom and before the referee Ward blew for the half time interval Olly Lee had two excellent chances to add to the score, his first shot coming back off the post and his second effort just glancing wide of the post.

The only questions on most lips during the break was how many were Luton going to score in the second period. Their appetite for goals seemed phenomenal. One could not be reproached for thinking they could easily score ten or even more.

Luton made no changes to their side at the interval. However, Yeovil manager made one change from his starting line-up replacing Keston Davies for Omar Sowunmi.

The second half began a little more sedate, although Luton still took complete command of the game. Olly Lee again went close with a left footed shot from outside the box. Yeovil’s Zoko also had a superb effort saved brilliantly by Stech tipping the ball away when looked like going into the top left hand corner of his goal.

With the Luton support urging their heroes forward, on fifty eight minutes their pleas were answered, a forward pass from Shinnie to Collins and the striker had time to place the ball beyond the outstretched keeper.

This woke the Luton players up, they had been more relaxed in their approach until then, but with the sixth goal bagged they again began to make waves upon the Yeovil goal.

A substitution for each side was made on sixty four minutes. Nathan Jones had obviously noticed as the supporters had that Yeovil were attempting to get Alan McCormack riled, which may have resulted in him receiving a second yellow, therefore, the decision was made to replace him with Glen Rae. As he left the pitch, McCormack was greeted with a standing ovation from the home crowd, he had been faultless throughout. Yeovil exchanged Connor Smith for Brazilian born Alefe Santos.

Two minutes later it was seven one to the marauding Hatters. James Collins collected the ball in the centre of the field and duly crashed the ball between two defenders giving the Yeovil keeper no chance of reaching. Despite his early disappointments of the first half the striker had bagged a hat trick on his league debut. A legend has been born.

To their credit Yeovil refused to sit back, going forward from the restart Ryan Dickson’s cross from the left met with the head of Francois Zoko who headed across goal and past Stech to make it seven-two.

On sixty nine minutes the hat trick hero Collins was substituted for Elliot Lee, brother of the Luton’s opening goal scorer, Olly. Collins was given a rousing farewell to the game by the Kenilworth Road masses. His job done for the day.

Other second half substitutions for each side were, Sam Surridge (on loan from Bournemouth) for Olufela Olomola (Yeovil) on seventy one minutes and for Luton Johnny Mullins replaced Andrew Shinnie, again a rousing departure, in the seventy fifth minute.

Marek Stech required extensive treatment on a neck/head injury following a collision with a Yeovil player and for a while it was feared that he would have to leave the field, which would have left the Hatters having to designate a goalkeeper from the outfield as all substitutions had been made. Fortunately, although noticeably dazed was able to carry on. This stoppage resulted in nine added minutes.

In the final moments of the game, from an Olly Lee taken free kick close to the left hand corner post his brother Elliot stooped to head the ball into the net from close range at the far post.

A most satisfying end to the most compelling of games.

Luton were simply magnificent throughout. Each and every player faultless.

What must be asked is, how good is this Luton side? But also one has to consider how bad the Yeovil side was on the day? The following weeks will answer those questions.

But whatever the answers the remaining teams of League Two will certainly be sitting up and thinking.

Team Line-ups:

Luton Town: Marek Stech, Scott Cuthbert, Danny Potts, Alan McCormack (Rea, 64), Jack Stacey, Alan Sheehan, Olly Lee, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Andrew Shinnie (Johnny Mullins, 75), James Collins (Elliot Lee, 69) and Isaac Vassell. Subs not used: James Shea, Jack Senior, Luke Gambin and Jordan Cook.

Yeovil Town: Artur Krysiak, Dan Alfei, Keston Davies (Omar Sowunmi, 46), Nathan Smith, James Bailey, Ryan Dickson, Jake Gray, Otis Khan, Connor Smith (Alefe Santos, 64), Olufela Olomola (Sam Surridge, 71) and Francois Zoko. Subs not used: Jonny Madison, Tom James, Rhys Browne.

Chris Luke