It was another afternoon of disappointment at The Vic for Pools as Luton Town ran out 4-1 winners.
After showing plenty of promise and determination in first-half, two quick-fire Luton Town goals after the break left Ronnie Moore’s side reeling and they failed to find a response. Pools showed the required reaction to Tuesday night’s defeat to Bristol Rovers by bursting into action at The Vic this afternoon. Moore’s men chased everything in the first half and put everything into a lively showing. Pools won the first free kick of the game within the opening minute but Jake Carroll sent the ball in too close to the keeper. Rakish Bingham, back in the side after a two-game absence through injury, had two early strikes on goal from distance but both went just wide of the target. Luton had the first real spell of pressure on eight minutes and the visitors passed it about nicely but Pools continued to plug away, giving them little time or space on the ball. Rhys Oates, who was bright again this afternoon, wriggled his way into the box on ten minutes to send a low shot at goal but his effort also went wide. Oates and Connor Smith gave Pools a new width this afternoon and the pair worked hard for the team all afternoon. In the 17th minute, Luton Town broke and showed the threat they possessed to open the scoring; a ball in from the right found Luke Guttridge who shot at goal. Adam Bartlett saved the initial shot but could do nothing as Jonathan Smith arrived to hit home the rebound. Pools did not let the goal break their stride as they continued to press and there was a good chance for Bingham after determination from Smith on the edge of the box. Paynter fed the ball through for Bingham with only Mark Tyler to beat but after taking a good first touch, his shot was put wide by the visiting keeper. Oates turned to shoot from just outside the box but his effort went just over the bar as Pools continued to look for a goal. The equaliser came on 44 minutes as Oates again sent a good cross into the box which found Paynter waiting to pounce and the striker did well to hold off the defender as he forced a header into the back of the net. The goal meant Pools left the field full of positivity and to cheers from the home fans but it was Luton Town who returned the more positive. The visitors were strong from the off and began to find a few frailties in the home defence. Their second goal came on 53 minutes as a Luke Wilkinson looping header over the top from the half-way line caught Pools out, allowing Jack Marriott to run through with only Bartlett to beat and, with the Pools keeper coming off his line, the Luton forward slotted it under Bartlett to make it 2-1. It was 3-1 just four minutes later and it was Jack Marriott again; this time Guttridge crossed into the box and Marriott hit home from close range to give Moore’s side a mountain to climb. There were a couple of chances for Rakish Bingham to get one back for Pools but both times the striker lost out to Tyler who made a couple of top-class saves. Rakish Bingham was back to test Tyler on 76 minutes as he burst through on goal at speed but with the goal in his sights, the striker again had his effort saved by the keeper. But there was little else to threaten Luton’s lead as the game became flat and Pools struggled to create anything of note. Luton Town wrapped things up in the 90th minute and they did it in real style as Ollie Lee smashed a unstoppable thunder strike into the top corner of the net to make it 4-1. And so a game which had started out quite positively finished in defeat for Ronnie Moore’s side. Final Score: Pools 1 Luton Town 4 Booked: Scott Harrison (90) Attendance: 3876 (406 Luton Town) Pools: Bartlett, Halliday, Harrison, Boyce Carroll, Oates, Magnay, Woods (Featherstone 84), Smith, Paynter (Fenwick 72), Bingham. Subs Not Used: Carson, Jones, Bates, Walker, Oyenuga. Luton Town: Tyler, Smith, McNulty, Cuthbert, McGeehan, Griffiths, Lee, Guttridge, Mackail-Smith (Marriott 27), McQuoid (Doyle 80), Wilkinson. Subs Not Used: Justham, Potts, Lawless, Hall, Green.