REPORTS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES
TEAM STATS (Hatters/Stags)
14 Goal Attempts 15
9 On Target 6
5 Off Target 8
0 Hit Woodwork 1
6 Corners 3
15 Fouls 18
5 Offsides 1
Luton Town gave their supporters a promotion party to remember with an 11th successive league victory over faltering Mansfield Town.
Joe Kinnear's men, who secured promotion at Swansea on Saturday, turned on the style at Kenilworth Road to enjoy a thrilling 5-3 win.
Six of the goals came in an exhilarating first half that saw Luton score with every shot on target they managed.
Ex-Premiership star Scott Sellars, now 36, also rolled back the years with an exquisite chip that gave Mansfield a glimmer of hope with the score 4-2 at the break.
Luton went ahead after ten minutes when Steven Howard fed overlapping French winger Jean Louis Valois, who shot low across Stags keeper Kevin Pilkington into the bottom corner.
But Mansfield levelled the scores straight from the kick-off when target man Andy White rounded home keeper Carl Emberson and on-loan Derby midfielder Adam Murray rolled the loose ball into an empty net.
The Hatters went back in front after 21 minutes when Dean Crowe ran off his marker to get a deft touch on Valois' firmly driven free-kick.
Skipper Kevin Nicholls made it 3-1 from the penalty spot on 29 minutes after Emmerson Boyce had his shirt tugged by Mansfield winger Wayne Corden.
The former Charlton and Wigan midfielder sidefooted emphatically into Pilkington's bottom right-hand corner.
Rampant Luton scored a fourth on 34 minutes when Australian defender Chris Coyne found Matthew Taylor with an excellent diagonal pass.
Taylor, who is a transfer target for Premiership clubs Tottenham, Chelsea, Newcastle and Sunderland, wriggled past Stags right-back Bobby Hassell before sending an accurate cross for top scorer Howard to net with a brave diving header.
An overwhelmed Mansfield side pulled a goal back on 41 minutes when former Blackburn and Leeds midfielder Sellars beat a flat-footed Emberson with a terrific lob from 15 yards.
But the home side made the points safe four minutes into the second half when Valois' curling effort was saved by Pilkington but Crowe's downward header then found Howard, who sidefooted into an empty net for his 20th goal of the season.
White shot wide of an open net from two yards for the visitors on 57 minutes and then leading scorer Chris Greenacre, who had been dropped to the bench before entering the action on 35 minutes, rounded Emberson only to hit the post.
Greenacre did grab an injury-time consolation to end an eight-game goal drought when he capitalised on casual defending in the six-yard box by Taylor to shot confidently past Emberson.
Newly-promoted Luton turned on the style to beat promotion hopefuls Mansfield at Kenilworth Road.
The victory maintained the Hatters' hopes of overhauling Plymouth to take the Third Division championship, while Mansfield's hopes of taking the third and final automatic promotion spot suffered a severe blow.
Having been in the top three since mid-January, (December in fact - Stagsnet) the Stags have now gone five games without a win and might well have to settle for a play-off place.
Their defence was ruthlessly exposed by the Third Division's leading scorers with Steve Howard netting twice to take his season's tally to 20 goals.
The other marksman were Jean-Louis Valois, Dean Crowe and Keven Nicholls from the penalty spot.
Mansfield's marksmen were Adam Murray who made it 1-1, Scott Sellars to reduce the deficit to 4-2 at the interval and Chris Greenacre with a consolation goal in stoppage time.
Latest | April 2002