Enjoying a period of refreshed resurgence under the tutelage of Mick McCarthy, Cardiff City extended their winning streak to four games as they reigned 2-0 victors at Kenilworth Road.
Quick-fire goals from Welsh Internationals Harry Wilson and Will Vaulks secured a vital three points, which will serve as a great strengthening to the Bluebirds’ ever-growing playoff ambitions.
The impact of the former Republic of Ireland boss is nothing short of phenomenal.
Over the last six matches, Cardiff City sit at the summit of the Championship form table and this remarkable run has saw the Welsh side move within three points of 6th-placed Bournemouth, who host Paul Warne’s Rotherham in their next affair.
Luton meanwhile, failed to build on a patch of momentum after claiming a 1-0 win over Birmingham City on the weekend, and will be looking to return to winning ways when they travel to Stoke City on the weekend.
Initially, the visitors started as the brighter of the two teams.
Brimming with confidence, City flyer Josh Murphy immediately earmarked his presence as one carrying danger and threat, exploiting pockets of space high up the pitch and making darting runs in behind the Luton backline.
Will Vaulks provided Simon Sluga a stern test as he struck a well-hit effort from just outside the area, which the Croatian stopper narrowly tipped away to prevent the deadlock being broken.
Merely two minutes later though, Luton were left ruing what could have been. An exquisite delivery from Welshman Tom Lockyer duly found the head of James Collins. It seemed like destiny that the Hatters’ leading goalscorer would find the back of the net, but Collins could only watch on in horror as his headed effort sailed wide from close range.
Coming within such agonisingly close proximity of gaining an advantage seemingly inspired an influx of endeavour from the hosts, who swiftly sought to soak up the lion’s share of possession.
As the first half ticked on, there was a distinct absence of the energetic, enthralling rhythm displayed by Mick McCarthy’s side in recent weeks as they were unable to combat Luton’s high pressing, high tempo style.
There was though, a sincerely justifiable penalty claim on Cardiff’s behalf when Murphy was brought down in the area by Luton’s Matty Pearson. However, much to the visitors’ frustration, referee Tim Robinson dismissed any complaints and play continued.
Keeping goal behind a resolute Cardiff backline, Dillon Phillips was rarely called into action during the first half. Few chances were created for either side, but the 26-year old had to act quickly to tip a dangerous free kick from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall over the bar.
Earning a wide variety of plaudits in Hertfordshire after joining the club on a season-long loan from Leicester City, Dewsbury-Hall shone throughout the evening. Displaying composure, elegance and a stellar passing range, the young midfielder looked the closest to breaking the Bluebirds down.
For Cardiff City, the second half bore a vast upturn in fortunes.
Exemplifying his captivating craft, Murphy flicked the ball up in a tight space and volleyed it through to the daunting path of Kieffer Moore.
It was simply illustrative of the upsurge in confidence that the winger is enjoying as of present, and it was unfortunate that Moore was short of attacking company as he slashed his effort wide of the mark.
A few minutes later, Cardiff struck gold.
Another player who has revelled in a more-entrusted role, Aden Flint gained superiority in his aerial duel high upfield and headed the ball back to Harry Wilson.
The Welsh Wizard took a few light touches as he advanced forward before unleashing a curled effort into the far corner of the goal, leaving Sluga helpless to suppress such scintillating individual brilliance.
By all accounts, the playmaker was proving peripheral on the evening. But that moment of majestic mastery was always well within his creative clutches.
Wilson easily could have embraced a second just moments later. Dewsbury-Hall’s failed clearance in an area of real danger allowed Wilson to take advantage as he released a powerful effort towards goal, although the Luton stopper was able to get a fingertip this time.
Instead, fellow Welsh International Will Vaulks engraved his name on the scoresheet in similarly sensational style.
Finding himself unmarked on the edge of the 18-yard box, Vaulks connected first time with the cleared ball and struck a venomous volley into the right-hand side of the goal, taking a deflection from Luton’s Sonny Bradley on its goal-bound ascent.
Suddenly, stunningly but surely, Cardiff quickly assumed a blitzing two goal advantage.
In spite of this, Luton were not willing to go down without a fight.
Recapturing their liveliness before the break, the hosts applied the pressure whilst Cardiff seemed more willing to sit back and preserve energy.
In particular, Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu was at the forefront as he threatened the visitors’ goal with a series of a powerful efforts.
But alas, the illusive goal never came for Nathan Jones’ side.
A menacing operator on the right flank, forward Harry Cornick turned Sean Morrison the wrong way late on and was only denied a first league goal since June thanks to the outstretched leg of Curtis Nelson.
Bearing somewhat of a resemblance to the Bluebirds’ 1-0 triumph away to Rotherham last week, the encounter lacked the glamour and aesthetic satisfaction that some contests contain. Ultimately though, it was a laborious evening of football defined by showings of individual ingenuity.
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