Stanley lost their unbeaten home record in 2017 as they suffered a 4-1 defeat to Luton, who secured their spot in the play-offs.

The Reds levelled through Matty Pearson on 39 minutes and forced Hatters keeper Stuart Moore into some superb saves but it was fourth placed Luton who took their chances – although they needed an own goal to put them back in front.

The defeat means Stanley’s dreams of a late charge for the play-offs are over as, after a 15-game unbeaten run, they have lost their last two matches.

The Reds started well with Billy Kee firing over in the early stages while Stanley appealed for a spot kick on 17 minutes when Pearson went down in the area but referee Chris Sarginson didn’t entertain it.

Luton came close to opening the scoring on 26 minutes when Jake Gray won a free kick 20 yards out and Alan Sheehan’s set piece was one-handedly tipped over the bar by Marek Rodak.

From the resulting corner Sheehan headed over and, in the Hatters next attack on 28 minutes, James Justin raced into the area and fired low into the far corner of the net for his first senior goal.

Stanley appealed for a penalty a minute later for a challenge by keeper Stuart Moore on McConville but again the referee waved away any appeals.

And Luton’s 17-year-old striker Justin could have made it two on 37 minutes but ballooned his effort over the bar.

Then McCartan forced a good save out of Moore at the near post and, from the resulting McConville corner on 39 minutes, Pearson leapt highest to head home. It was hooked clear but had already crossed the line for Pearson’s ninth goal of the season.

McConville came close to a wonder goal just before the break firing goalwards from 30 yards but Moore managed to push over his strike.

The Hatters retook the lead on 49 minutes when Omar Beckles headed back to Rodak but it looped over the keeper and into the net for an own goal.

It then needed a superb save from Moore to keep out a McCartan free kick but it then got worse for Stanley when Isaac Vassell stretched to turn home Ollie Palmer’s cross on 54 minutes and make it 3-1.

Beckles almost made up for his earlier own goal with a volley which wasn’t far off while Pearson forced Moore into another strong save.

The Luton keeper also did well to keep out Janoi Donacien while Jonny Edwards fired narrowly wide but sub Jack Marriott made it four in injury time as Luton extended their season.