Hatters left frustrated at home once more as League Two Grimsby force FA Cup replay

Grimsby keeper Max Crocombe punches clear for the MarinersGrimsby keeper Max Crocombe punches clear for the Mariners
Grimsby keeper Max Crocombe punches clear for the Mariners
FA Cup fourth round: Luton Town 2 Grimsby Town 2

Luton Town were taken to a replay for the second successive FA Cup game after failing to see off League Two Grimsby Town at Kenilworth Road this afternoon.

Having trailed 1-0 at the break, the Hatters appeared to have one foot in the draw for the first round thanks to goals from Elijah Adebayo and Jordan Clark, only for Harry Clifton to level 60 seconds later, with neither side able to force a winner.

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Town attacker Harry Cornick was named in the starting line-up, despite increasing speculation that he will leave Kenilworth Road during the transfer window, taking his place up front alongside Elijah Adebayo.

Boss Rob Edwards made two changes to the team who beat Wigan 2-0 last weekend, Alfie Doughty in for James Bree following his move to Southampton, while Allan Campbell replaced Louie Watson.

Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu made his 350th appearance for the club, just the 13th man to reach such a milestone, with strikers Carlton Morris and Cauley Woodrow on the bench, joined by U18 starlet Zack Nelson.

An early spell of pressure for the visitors, cheered on by 1,500 supporters who packed out the away end, was ended by a bright move from Luton, Cornick teeing up Adebayo whose shot was charged down, Mpanzu also dragging well wide.

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Defender Dan Potts saw his header ruled out for offside, before Grimsby settled, going close themselves when Gavan Holohan was left unmarked at the back post, heading straight at Ethan Horvath.

Striker Adebayo looked to be having some joy against the Mariners' back-line, and he might have done better on 18 minutes when the ball dropped to him some 18 yards out, getting underneath his half volley.

Town then looked to attack down the wings, Amari'i Bell beating his man to cross for Adebayo whose hooked volley drew an unorthodox save with his feet by Max Crocombe.

Luton's anticipated dominance finally began to show signs of coming through midway through the half as they began to apply the pressure, although Mpanzu's ambitious 25-yard volley released some of that.

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Although Town were making the running, the Mariners weren't without a threat, Bryn Morris, a reported target for Luton back in 2019, letting fly from 20 yards and Horvath saving smartly to his left.

The Hatters soon had the ascendancy back though, Doughty's terrific drilled cross from deep met by Clark and cleared, before the midfielder was picked out by Bell, delivering for Cornick to fire disappointingly over.

Grimsby then almost took the lead with a terrific 30-yard dipping half volley from the dangerous Holohan, Horvath managing to backpedal and brilliantly turn the ball over the bar.

From the corner Holohan did put the visitors in front though, as left unmarked, he was able to get the run on the home defence and angle his header into the corner.

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The break saw Luton gather their thoughts and have a great chance to level just two minutes in, Gabe Osho doing excellently in the box, before being tripped by Morris.

That saw the Hatters awarded their first penalty of the season, calmly slotted home by Adebayo, netting for the fourth successive game.

The Mariners looked to retake the lead immediately, Osho penalised for a foul 20 yards from goal, Alex Hunt curled the resulting set-piece into the stands.

On the hour mark, boss Rob Edwards opted to bring on Morris and Woodrow for Campbell and Cornick, the latter with a mini spinning round of applause, as it remains to be seen whether that was his lasting outing at Kenilworth Road as a Luton player.

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From 1-0 down, Luton then had the lead on 66 minutes, Doughty's low ball into the are controlled by the excellent Clark, who swivelled to volley goalwards, as although Crocombe appeared to have done brilliantly to save it, the ball dropping over the line and into the net.

Any thoughts Town could have of the next round were immediately extinguished though, Grimsby taking advantage of some poor defending, Clifton going through to beat Horvath.

Doughty looked to put Luton back in front when a mazy dribble saw his fierce cross-shot palmed away by Crocombe, before the keeper stuck out a hand to flick away Morris's downward header.

At the other end, Luke Waterfall's curler was catching practice for Horvath, before it looked like Clifton had won it with five minutes left, only for sub Fred Onyedinma to make a terrific last ditch clearance at full stretch.

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Another Town sub, Luke Berry almost made sure a replay was avoided, meeting Doughty's deep cross on the run, but when his volley flew straight into the keeper's midriff, Luton knew they would face a trip to Blundell Park early next month.

Hatters: Ethan Horvath, Alfie Doughty, Gabe Osho, Tom Lockyer, Dan Potts (C, Fred Onyedinma 75), Amari'i Bell, Allan Campbell (Cauley Woodrow 60), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Luke Berry 82), Jordan Clark, Harry Cornick (Carlton Morris 60), Elijah Adebayo.

Subs not used: Harry Isted, Elliot Thorpe, Louie Watson, Reece Burke, Zack Nelson.

Mariners: Max Crocombe, Michee Efete, Anthony Driscoll-Glennon (Evan Khouri 90), Luke Waterfall (C), Gavan Holohan (Kieran Green 90), Harry Clifton, Alex Hunt, Bryn Morris, Danilo Orsi, Andy Smith, Niall Maher.

Subs not used: Shaun Pearson, Ollie Battersby, Edwin Essel, Sean Scannell.

Referee: Tim Robinson.

Booked: Clifton 45, Orsi 65, Maher 73, Holohan 89, Crocombe 90.

Attendance: 8,552 (1,473 Mariners).