Exeter City slipped to a 4-1 defeat at home to Luton Town at St James Park in Sky Bet League Two.
Goals from James Collins, Dan Potts, Danny Hylton and Harry Cornick did the damage for the visitors who were ruthless as they struck three quick-fire goals just after half-time when the scores were level at 1-1, after Jake Taylor levelled the match with an excellent finish.
Match report sponsored by Speedy Freight
The Grecians, who had access for the first time to the new changing room facilities in the IP Office stand, made one change from the side that earned a hard-fought point away to Wycombe Wanderers last weekend, as the injured Hiram Boateng was replaced by Lee Holmes.
It took just 15 seconds for Paul Tisdale’s side to fashion their first chance of the match when a ball forward from kick-off eventually fell to Jayden Stockley, whose effort rifled against Marek Stech’s crossbar almost giving City the perfect start.
The opening four minutes saw the Grecians create two further opportunities when Jordan Tillson found space on the edge of the Luton box before having his low effort saved by Stech.
Shortly after, Taylor did brilliantly down the left against former City loanee, Jack Stacey, but the winger’s cross was kept away from the onrushing Exeter forwards.
But, against the run of play, it was the visitors who drew first blood with their first attempt at the City goal.
After good work by Harry Cornick on the Luton right-hand side, he squared the ball back to an unmarked James Collins who fired low past Christy Pym, to give Nathan Jones’ side an early advantage.
But City were determined not to let the setback affect them as Dean Moxey went inches from levelling things on 11 minutes when he latched onto a Lloyd James corner, but could only steer his effort the wrong side of Stech’s post.
The home side’s good work paid off on 20 minutes when Taylor fired the Grecians level with an exquisite effort.
After a long ball forward from James was flicked on by Stockley to Taylor in space, the midfielder cut inside to bend his effort into the far corner past Stech to bring Tisdale’s side deservedly level.
The City players had their heads in their hands on 28 minutes when they gave up an excellent opportunity to put themselves ahead.
After Troy Brown did well to win his header in the Town box, Reid then flicked an effort towards goal but after the ball seemed to hit Tillson on the goal line, the away side somehow managed to scramble it away to safety.
Danny Hylton then had one of few chances for the visitors in the first half when he darted inside Pierce Sweeney, but could only blaze his effort over Pym’s goal, thanks to good pressure from the onrushing Grecians defence.
Stockley, who was proving a handful for the Town defence, then went close on 42 minutes as he failed to keep his header on target from yet another good cross from Holmes, which meant the sides went into the break on level terms.
The Grecians got off to the worst possible start in the second half when they once again fell behind after failing to clear their lines.
Tentative defending meant Dan Potts found himself in space in the box, and credit to the defender, who finished well to restore the away side’s advantage.
Five minutes later, City gave themselves an even harder mountain to climb when they fell further behind to Hylton’s left-footed attempt.
The striker cut inside from the right to shoot powerfully past Pym to strengthen the visitor’s advantage.
A rampant Luton attack saw them further their lead to make the score 4-1 on 54 minutes when a low cross was met by the head of Cornick as he gave Town a three-goal cushion.
Following those three quick-fire blows, Tisdale looked to the bench as the Grecians searched for a way back into the match as Liam McAlinden, Matt Jay and Kyle Edwards all entered the field.
But with the away side more than happy with their lead, they did their best to frustrate the Grecians, often slowing play down as they looked to close the game out.
A chance fell late on to substitute, McAlinden, who looked to narrow the scoreline but his low drive from distance ended up just wide of Stech's goal.
Exeter City: Pym, Sweeney, Woodman (Jay, 60), James, Tillson, Holmes (Edwards, 70), Moxey, Taylor, Reid (McAlinden, 60), Brown, Stockley
Subs not used: Hamon, Archibald-Henville, McAlinden, Jay, Wilson, Edwards, Harley
Booked: Brown, Moxey
Luton Town: Stech, Potts, Cuthbert, Stacey, Lee, Hylton, Cornick (Justin, 82) Rea, Berry (Ruddock-Mpanzu, 90+3), Collins (Lee, 88) Sheehan
Subs not used: Shea, Justin, Mullins, Cook, Ruddock-Mpanzu, Gambin, Lee
Booked: Rea, Sheehan, Potts
Attendance: 4,209 (Inc, 353, away)