Match report: Luton 2 Exeter City 3Exeter City came from two goals down to grab a stoppage-time winner as they overcame Luton Town 3-2 at Kenilworth Road.
Goals by Luke Guttridge and Mark Cullen had the Hatters in the ascendancy before half-time as they looked to put paid to a poor run of results.
However the fightback was instigated early after the break as Ryan Harley volleyed in his third of the season.
Jordan Moore-Taylor then levelled from close-range to tie things up going into the last 15 minutes.
And the turnaround was complete with just seconds remaining – Christian Ribeiro headed against the post before David Wheeler stabbed in the rebound to gain a huge, huge three points for Exeter.
Manager Paul Tisdale made three changes to his starting XI – Graham Cummins comes came in to lead the line, in place of the suspended Tom Nichols, and Alex Nicholls replaced Clinton Morrison. Tom McCready missed out with injury, but Liam Sercombe returned to start on the venue where he scored his second pro goal.
The first opportunity fell the way of Luton as a ball wormed its way into the box for Luke Guttridge to strike low, but it was wide of James Hamon’s near post.
After early pressure for the hosts, Exeter began to see more and more of the ball and began to carve out chances. Sercombe had half a chance when Cummins pressured goalkeeper Elliot Justham into a rushed clearance, but the midfielder couldn’t put his effort on target from distance.
Then Cummins had a chance of his own when some neat build-up play eventually saw the ball cleared his way, and he chested down to strike from a narrow angle but shot over.
A clever turn on the right flank allowed Nicholls to burst away down the wing – he hung one up for Cummins to attack at the back post but his first touch was just too heavy and the goalkeeper got down to take it off his toe.
However the goal instead went the way of the hosts – Lee Holmes was dispossessed after a rampaging run forward, and the Hatters quickly broke down the other end. That allowed Cullen to play in Guttridge, and when his strike was deflected it left Hamon stranded as it nestled into the corner.
Holmes had a decent opportunity to level within a minute but the goalkeeper got behind his effort from 25 yards.
Despite trailing it was all Exeter and chances were all falling the way of the visitors. Cummins headed a Holmes delivery into Justham’s arms, and after Sercombe had ridden through challenges and found Nicholls on the right, it needed an important headed clearance from captain Steve McNulty to deny Cummins a goal.
A direct ball upfield from Hamon found the head of Cummins, who nodded onto Nicholls – the forward chested down and shot on the spin but couldn’t test Justham. Holmes then shimmed to work an angle for himself and just struck wide of the goalkeeper’s near post from the edge of the area.
And instead it was Luton that grabbed their second goal just before half-time. A ball through the middle bounced through, and the referee didn’t reach for his whistle when it appeared Holmes had been bundled down. And so Cullen controlled and strike a firm shot into the net to double the advantage.
Half-time: Luton Town 2 Exeter City 0
Without any changes at the break, it was much the same in the early exchanges after the break. A prolonged spell of possession for the Grecians had the Luton players chasing shadows and eventually Lewis Kinsella had to smash over Holmes to break up the play.
But from the resultant free-kick City continued to circulate the ball and got their just rewards. Matt Oakley dinked a ball into the path of Harley, who made a delightful connection as the ball dropped over his shoulder and volleyed Exeter back to within a goal.
The hosts could have reopened a two-goal margin when the ball pinballed in the path of Alex Lawless, but the midfielder lashed his effort high and wide.
Then at the other end a clever corner from Holmes found Arron Davies 25 yards out – after taking a touch to control, he drilled a shot which stuck to the midriff of Justham.
Sercombe was next to test the goalkeeper as he stepped around his marker after linking well with Holmes, and drew an acrobatic save.
David Wheeler was introduced for Nicholls shortly after the hour-mark for the sake of some fresh legs, and then Clinton Morrison was thrown in with quarter of an hour remaining.
And Morrison had a hand in the equalising goal seconds after coming on – a free-kick was nodded on by Wheeler into Morrison, and the forward laid the ball into the run of Moore-Taylor to steer into the corner.
That set up a grandstand finish in the finale quarter of an hour and Davies tried to get the winner as he shot from just outside the area.
Davies had the ball in the net in stoppage as a left-footed cross from the right by Holmes was nodded on by Ribeiro and into the path of Davies, but the flag cut short the celebrations.
But there was late drama to follow as Holmes again got forward and into the box – Ribeiro hit the post with his header but Wheeler followed in to give the Grecians the most dramatic of winners.
Full-time: Luton Town 2 Exeter City 3
Luton Town: Justham; Harriman, Kinsella (Lacey 76), McNulty, Wilkinson; Smith (McGeehan 70), Doyle, Guttridge, Lawless; Cullen (Stockley 75), Benson.
Unused subs: Oduwa, Hall, King, Miller.
Goals: Guttridge (22), Cullen (45).
Exeter City: Hamon; Davies, Ribeiro, Moore-Taylor, McAllister; Oakley, Sercombe, Harley; Holmes, Nicholls (Wheeler 63), Cummins (Morrison 75).
Unused subs: Keadell, Butterfield, Woodman, Bennett, Keohane.
Goals: Harley (51), Moore-Taylor (75), Wheeler (90).
Attendance: 8,755 (429).