Hatter ease through despite late scare

FA Cup first round replayLuton Town 4 Corby Town 2

TEN-MAN Corby were simply overwhelmed by rampant Hatters last night as Luton booked themselves an FA Cup second round tie at League One high-flyers Charlton Athletic, writes Mark Wood.

The dismissals of Corby striker Nathan Jarman along with Town assistant manager Gary Brabin in the first half didn’t help the visitors as the Blue Square Bet North side were simply outclassed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Goals from Matthew Barnes-Homer, two from Taiwo Atieno and a fourth from Claude Gnakpa were easily enough for Luton.

But a late Corby comeback, featuring strikes from Glenn Walker and Chris Hope set up a seemingly unlikely nervy finish, before Town finally saw the game out.

Luton made three changes, as Zdenek Kroca was banned, Alex Lawless cup tied and Danny Crow injured, so in came Atieno, Jake Howells and Ed Asafu-Adjaye.

Barnes-Homer’s long-range effort was straight at Chris Mackenzie early on, but he made no mistake on five minutes smashing home through a crowded penalty area.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Drury and Barnes-Homer then combined brilliantly but the latter could only roll a tame effort at Mackenzie.

An opportunistic Drury free-kick from close to the halfway line almost caught Mackenzie napping before Luton wasted a glorious chance to double their lead.

Great interplay between Drury and Jake Howells put the former clean through but the impressive Mackenzie saved superbly at his feet.

Both Barnes-Homer and Atieno then squandered gilt-edged chances. Freddie Murray whipped in a superb cross from the byline and Atieno missed his header from just a few yards out, while Mackenzie again saved brilliantly at the feet of Barnes-Homer.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Controversy reigned on 24 minutes when Steelmen striker Jarman careered into the Luton dugout and tangled with Brabin.

A mass melee erupted and Jarman was promptly shown a straight red while Brabin was also sent to the stands.

The Hatters duly made it 2-0 just before the hour when Drury’s pass found Barnes-Homer and his mis-hit shot across the face of goal was smuggled home at the far post by Atieno.

Dan Gleeson was inches away from his first Luton goal glancing Howells’ corner wide, while Pilkington’s looping header was cleared off the line and then Drury’s sublime 25-yard chip saw Mackenie arch his back to produce a stunning tip-over.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The linesman denied Town a second just two minutes into the second half as Atieno was adjudged offside.

Substitute Steve Diggin then got in behind the hosts defence but his lob – Corby’s first effort of the night – drifted well over.

Atieno was left to curse his luck again on 50 minutes as his header was turned on to the post by Mackenzie.

The mercurial Drury then teased in a lovely cross for Gleeson at the far post but his header was straight at the sprawling Mackenzie.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Dogged Atieno finally got his reward with his second on 62 minutes as he stabbed the ball home at the near post from Drury’s cross.

Town were playing with a real swagger and Atieno spurned a glorious chance that substitute Dan Walker laid on a plate, as five yards out, he somehow shot straight at the keeper.

A surging run by the exciting Walker saw him drive just wide, while with 20 minutes left, JJ O’Donnell was handed his debut in place of Freddie Murray.

Fellow substitute Godfrey Poku then released Gnakpa with nine minutes to go and the Frenchman drilled his effort under Mackenzie to make it 4-0.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But back came Corby as a slide-rule pass sent Glenn Walker clear and after Mark Tyler saved his first effort Asafu-Adjaye’s clearance rebounded off Walker’s knee and into the net.

A frantic finish saw Corby grab a second with four minutes left when Hope drove home low through a crowd of players.

Hatters (4-4-2): Mark Tyler, Dan Gleeson, Freddie Murray (JJ O’Donnell 72), Keith Keane, George Pilkington (C), Matthew Barnes-Homer (Dan Walker 66), Taiwo Atieno, Andy Drury (Godfrey Poku 66), Jake Howells, Ed Asafu-Adjaye, Claude Gnakpa. Substitutes not used: Pavel Besta, Alex Lacey, Lewis Kidd, Jordan Patrick.

Steelmen (4-4-2): Chris Mackenzie, Danny Pitham, Asa Charlton (Liam Dolman 45+6), Chris Hope, Phil Gulliver, Richard Lavery (C, Liam Green 26), Andy Hall (Steve Diggin 46), Steve Towers, Nathan Jarman, Ben Mackey, Glenn Walker. Substitutes not used: Michael Frew, Dean West, Nathan Thackery, Adam Webster.

Referee: C Sarginson.

Assistant referees: E Kaye and J O’Brien.

Fourth official: G Stretton.

Sent off: Jarman 24; Brabin 25.

Attendance: 3,050.

Star Hatter: Andy Drury – Virtually unplayable for over an hour.

Related topics: