FA Cup, second round: Peterborough United 2 Luton Town 0
Luton Town went out of the FA Cup with little more than a whimper this afternoon as they were totally outclassed by League One Peterborough United.
Quite how the visitors escaped having conceded just twice remains a mystery as the post match stats had Posh sending 34 shots at Mark Tyler’s goal, with the former Peterborough keeper making a host of excellent saves to keep his side in the game.
Hatters’ meanwhile, had just two efforts of note in the first half, Craig Mackail-Smith hitting the post and Luke Wilkinson sending a free header over, while after the break, sent absolutely nothing to even remotely trouble home keeper Ben Alnwick.
The visitors had made five changes for the game with Magnus Okuonghae, Paddy McCourt, Sean Long, Nathan Doyle and Craig Mackail-Smith in for Cameron McGeehan, Danny Green, Scott Griffiths who dropped to the bench, with Scott Cuthbert and Jack Marriott missing out completely.
Without Cuthbert, Doyle took the armband, while Tyler was given the nod to return to the side where he made 486 appearances, enjoying a warm ovation from all the 8,329 in attendance throughout.
Hatters were given a taste of what might have been though as the hosts had Lee Angol in the side, the striker moving from Luton to London Road in the summer after rejecting a new deal at Kenilworth Road.
Meanwhile, Posh’s pint-sized midfielder Erhun Oztumer, who dazzled with his close control and superb vision, was another that Hatters had let slip away, after he originally signed for Luton in the summer of 2014, only to fail a medical meaning the deal was never rubber stamped.
In what was to become a theme of the tie, United had the first real chance, Jon Taylor escaping on the left and his cross was sent wide by Angol, booed whenever in possession by the visiting fans, from close range.
Posh continued to create all the opportunities early on, Harry Forrester’s shot easy for Tyler, with Oztumer shooting over and Angol inches away from meeting another excellent delivery, then side-footing wide moments later.
Posh had another marvellous chance on 15 minutes, when sub Harry Beautyman, on for the injured Jermaine Anderson, was completely unmarked, but Tyler was out to block at his feet.
The ex-Peterborough stopper was having an inspired return to his old club, as a wonderful move saw Bostwick’s raking pass met on the volley by Michael Smith who crossed for the in-form Connor Washington to be denied brilliantly by Tyler’s legs, the keeper easily claiming the rebound.
Jonathan Smith had a sighter from range, his shot flicking off a home defender and behind for a corner.
With Luton finally enjoying a spell of pressure midway through the half, they had a glorious opening when Luke Wilkinson timed his run perfectly to meet McCourt’s corner only to direct a header over from six yards out.
Long was booked for scything down Angol, while Oztumer fired tamely at Tyler, when he should have made him work much harder.
The deadlock was broken on 32 minutes though as Okuonghae was beaten far too easily by Washington’s step-overs in the area and the attacker arrowed his effort into the top corner.
Hatters’ weakness in recent games has seen them concede goals in quickfire clusters and it almost came back to bite them when Oztumer brilliantly released Washington, whose aim was wayward this time.
Luton then had a superb chance to level when they won possession back high up the pitch and Josh McQuoid fed Mackail-Smith who went clean through against Ben Alnwick only to see his effort cannon against the post.
In the second period, it quickly became all Peterbrough as they were out of the blocks quickly, with Angol and Michael Bostwick having efforts from range, while Angol tested Tyler again and Wilkinson was alert to hack away.
The Luton stopper was frequently called into action, denying half time sub Marcus Maddison’s low drive, as the replacement adopted a shoot on sight policy, an awkard bounce forcing Tyler to shovel away.
Hatters’ over-worked keeper should have been picking the ball out of the net moments later as the hugely impressive Oztumer sliced open Town’s back-line once more and Washington was wasteful yet again, dragging wide of the target.
Posh were almost trying to keep Luton in the game, fluffing another golden opportunity on 65 minutes as the diminutive Oztumer stooped to direct his header past the posts.
Tyler was single-handedly keeping the hosts out at times, as Angol escaped Luton’s back-line with the keeper out bravely, while he then back-pedalled to tip over Callum Elder’s deflected cross.
The second goal that had been coming virtually since the whistle went eventually arrived with seven minutes left as Long got caught out upfield and from then on Hatters were always in trouble.
This time, Maddison kept his composure and produced an unerring finish in the bottom corner to give his sime some totally and utterly deserved breathing space as they finally put the tie to bed.
Posh: Ben Alnwick (C), Michael Smith, Jon Taylor (Marcus Maddison 46), Michael Bostwick, Erhun Oztumer (Andrew Fox 90), Ricardo Almeida Santos, Conor Washington, Jermaine Anderson (Harry Beautyman 5), Lee Angol, Callum Elder, Chris Forrester.
Subs not used: Dion-Curtis Henry, Jack Baldwin, Souleymane Coulibaly, Miles Addison.
Hatters: Mark Tyler, Alex Lawless (Scott Griffiths 79), Magnus Okuonghae, Luke Wilkinson, Sean Long, Jonathan Smith, Nathan Doyle, Olly Lee (Cameron McGeehan 62), Paddy McCourt (Danny Green 72), Josh McQuoid, Craig Mackail-Smith.
Subs not used: Elliot Justham, Ryan Hall, Luke Guttridge, Curtley Williams.
Booked: Long 28, Green 87.
Attendance: 8,329 (Hatters 1,740).
Referee: Nigel Miller.
Hatters MOM: Mark Tyler. Almost single-handedly kept his side in the game at times.