MATTY Pearson's first goal in the Championship was in vain as his Luton Town side crashed to a last-gasp 2-1 defeat at Cardiff City.

The Keighley-born centre-back fired an 86th-minute header past Alex Smithies into the bottom corner at the Cardiff City Stadium.

But the former Oakbank School student's strike was not enough as former Luton player Isaac Vassell, an injury-time substitute for the Bluebirds, hit a 96th-minute winner for the hosts.

Vassell, a deadline-day capture from Birmingham, headed home Junior Hoilett's cross to secure the victory.

Aden Flint got on the end of Josh Murphy's teasing free-kick to volley home his first goal for the Bluebirds in the 56th minute.

Cardiff manager Neil Warnock said: "We needed a goal to dampen Luton's enthusiasm and we had enough chance to make it comfortable.

"They took their chance in the second-half and made it difficult for us, but credit to us we didn't sulk."

Luton boss Graeme Jones said: "It just showed how ruthless the Championship can be. We have (to) learn from it. I'm not thinking about who scored, but who's stopping the cross.

"We didn't control the moment. We were slicing things and putting it out for throw-ins. That's how they play. It's not how we play. We played really well for 94 minutes and competed but the game is about 95.

"We made some rash decisions when we were fatigued. I am disappointed with the first goal because we had worked at that a lot.

"The only thing I asked the players to do was be themselves before the game. Overall they were, it's just the last minute of the game, we got punished."

Pearson, 26, was a rock at the heart of Luton's defence last season, playing 52 games including every league clash for the Hatters following last summer's move from Barnsley.

The former Long Lee Juniors player has also featured in the EFL for Rochdale, having been on Blackburn Rovers's books as a youngster.