Doughty scores a stunner as Luton make hard work of Gills victory

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Carabao Cup, second round: Luton Town 3 Gillingham 2

Luton made hard work of seeing off League Two Gillingham in the Carabao Cup as they edged their way through their second round tie at Kenilworth Roathis evening.

Two goals to the good at half time, the Hatters conceded twice in the second half as what had looked like a comfortable victory turned into the hosts hanging on for their place in the third round through five minutes of stoppage time.

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Town boss Rob Edwards made seven changes from the side who had gone down to a 3-0 defeat at Chelsea in the Premier League on Friday evening, Tim Krul in for his debut, while there was a first start for Chiedozie Ogbene too.

Alfie Doughty celebrates his stunning strike against GillinghamAlfie Doughty celebrates his stunning strike against Gillingham
Alfie Doughty celebrates his stunning strike against Gillingham

Luton got off to the perfect start as with just 60 seconds on the clock, Alfie Doughty collected a raking crossfield pass at the back post, his fierce blast deflected behind.

Gills couldn't clear their lines from the corner, as Luke Berry found Jacob Brown, who produced a finish of unerring quality into the bottom corner to net his first goal for the club.

The ex-Stoke forward had another crack on seven minutes, from range this time, but couldn't repeat the accuracy of his earlier attempt, with Gills only real opening seeing Jayden Clarke send a hopeful drive over from range.

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Midway through the half, Luton tried for a second, Berry doggedly going through the middle but falling back, his shot was easy for Morris to gather.

A second did arrive with 28 minutes on the clock though, a true thunderbolt from the boot of Doughty.

The wingback, who has been left out of the Premier League XI so far this term, rolled a free kick some 30 yards from goal to Berry, who controlled it dead, allowing Doughty to simply hammer a truly wonderful curving left-footed into the top corner.

Boss Edwards made one change at the break, bringing on Reece Burke for Lockyer in what looked like a pre-planned alteration.

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Gills looked to pull one back, Max Clark's attempt from range straight at Krul, but they did halve the deficit on 55 minutes, Clarke escaping on the left and side-stepped an attempted saving tackle to coolly lift the ball over the Dutch stopper.

Gills should have levelled, as a long ball saw Amari'i Bell caught out badly, Ashley Nadesan able to get clean through on Krul, the keeper managing to save with his trailing leg.

The corner wasn't dealt with either by Luton as the ball dropped to Macauley Bonne just eight yards from goal, but he lent back to sky over the top.

Edwards responded with two changes, Ross Barkley and Issa Kabore on for Ryan Giles and the cautioned Berry, as Doughty switched to his preferred left wing back role.

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The alterations worked instantly, Luton having a pressure relieving third goal when a ball forward saw a Gills header drop at the feet of Woodrow and with Morris slightly off his line, he powered his effort over the backpedalling keeper for a terrific goal on 66 minutes.

Woodrow got it all wrong going for his second after Barkley showed his pinpoint passing range, but the Gills kept going and to their credit, made it 3-2 with two minute to go, sub Tom Nichols's stooping header beating the best efforts of Krul.

The keeper did deny Scott Malone as the game went into injury time, before his punch was seized upon by Jonny Williams, Krul able to dive across and fingertip behind in stoppage time.

Town should have sealed a fourth even later, a four on one break ending up with Barkley's attempt beaten away, but the Hatters held on to go into tomorrow night's third round draw.

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Hatters: Tim Krul, Alfie Doughty, Mads Andersen, Tom Lockyer (C Reece Burke 46), Amari'i Bell, Ryan Giles (Issa Kabore 60) Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Luke Berry (Ross Barkley 60), Cauley Woodrow, Jacob Brown (Elijah Adebayo 81), Chiedozie Ogbene (Marvelous Nakamba 69).

Subs not used: James Shea, Carlton Morris, Tahith Chong, Joe Johnson.

Gills: Glenn Morris, Cheye Alexander, Max Clark (Scott Malone 72), Conor Masterson, Max Ehmer (C), Ashley Nadesan (Jonny Williams 73), Robbie McKenzie, Jayden Clarke (Ronald Sithole 87), Shadrach Ogie, Timothy Dieng (Shaun Williamsn 73), Macauley Bonne (Tom Nichols 72).

Subs not used: Jake Turner, Ike Orji, Joe Gbode, Josh Chambers.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson.

Booked: Berry 34, Dieng 38.

Attendance: 9,469 (1,056 Gills).

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