Striker causes Portsmouth pain again as Luton grab win to take League One title advantage

James Collins returned to terrorise Pompey once again and swing the title race firmly in Luton’s favour.

Wednesday, 30th January 2019, 8:42 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:44 pm
James Collins celebrates netting against Pompey

The Hatters striker’s two-goal haul made the difference as his side ran out 3-2 winners in last night’s promotion showdown at Kenilworth Road.

That means Luton open up a five-point gap at the top of the table after knocking the Blues off top spot on Saturday.

Collins’ salvo continues an outstanding goalscoring run down the years against Pompey.

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James Collins celebrates netting against Pompey

The 28-year-old scored the winner for Luton in the FA Cup last season and the strike which made the difference as Northampton celebrated their League Two title win in 2015-16.

Collins also savaged Pompey with a four-goal demolition job as Swindon thumped them 5-0 on New Year’s Day in 2013.

He said: ‘I didn’t realise how many I’d scored against them over the years.

‘You can only play what’s in front of you and if I seem to score against Portsmouth all the time, ‘I’ll certainly take it.

‘There was the four goals I scored for Swindon and things just seem to happen like that sometimes.

‘I actually didn’t think about it and Portsmouth don’t feel like a team I always score against.

‘But now it’s been mentioned, it’s something I’ll take!’

Pompey were given a first-half hiding by the home side, who chalked up 13 shots to one wayward Gareth Evans effort in the 43rd minute.

Omar Bogle’s half-time introduction made a huge difference, however, as the visitors markedly upped their game.

Collins admitted he would have taken a point with the score at 2-2 before George Moncur’s free-kick settled it.

The former Aston Villa trainee knows the balance has swung his side’s way as they made it 17 league games unbeaten.

And Collins now wants to see Luton continue to prove the doubters wrong over the season’s finale.

He added: ‘In the first-half we were the better side, but, at 2-2 I would probably have taken that.

‘They are a good team with good players, but we want to prove we can do it.

‘There’s a long way to go and there’s still 16 games to go.

‘Nothing’s done yet - we know that. So we’re not going to get too above ourselves. The job is nowhere near done.

‘We just need to keep doing what we’re doing and see who comes out on top.

‘There definitely is (a momentum swing). That momentum has been there through our unbeaten run.

‘We’ve carried on the run and I think everyone is thinking we’re going to slip up.

‘We’re proving them wrong and long may that continue.’