Luton Town maintained their promotion rush as James Collins scored a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over 10-man Peterborough.

Collins struck his opener with less than 10 minutes on the clock, and would soon have the match ball within 10 minutes of the second half.

Peterborough had defender Ryan Tafazoli sent off in-between Luton’s first two goals, while Luke Berry’s second half goal would add a flourish to proceedings.

Mick Harford’s first win as Luton caretaker since Nathan Jones left to take the Stoke City position ensures the home side keep pace in the promotion challenge.

They remain 2nd and are 4 points clear of Sunderland, who drew at Scunthorpe, but they also close the gap on leaders Portsmouth to a single point after the South Coast side lost at Oxford.

Luton took the advantage after 8 minutes, as Collins bundled Jack Stacey’s cross beyond Peterborough keeper Aaron Chapman.

Peterborough saw Lee Tomlin go close with their first big chance for a response.

But their attempts to recover would become harder when they reduced to 10, as Tafazoli was penalised for a bad tackle on Andrew Shinnie with the red card.

Collins would then have a second within two minutes of the dismissal, with Stacey again firing in the cross that the striker converted.

Luton still had opportunities for more in the opening period, with Chapman denying Berry and Collins firing wide.

Collins would then grab his hat-trick just after half-time, with his first-time finish from Kazenga LuaLua’s through-pass going beyond Chapman to see the striker pick up a second treble of the campaign.

Luton would then grab a fourth not long after that, as Berry received LuaLua’s pass, evaded his handler, and finished.

There was still time for substitute George Moncur to come close on his Luton debut against one of his former clubs. But the Hatters had already done enough and they maintain their spot at the top end of the table.