Hatters need penalties to see off Blues

Ricky Miller scores the winning penalty
Ricky Miller scores the winning penalty

Beds Senior Cup first round: Dunstable Town 1 Luton Town 1 (Luton win 5-3 on penalties).

Luton Town needed a penalty shoot out to defeat Southern League Premier Division neighbours Dunstable Town in the Beds Senior Cup this evening.

After being held to a 1-1 draw during 90 minutes, Hatters expertly finished all their spot kicks and after Elliot Justham saved from Terry Dixon, Ricky Miller crashed home the winning effort.

The visitors had picked an exceptionally strong side for the clash with only two players, Charlie Smith and Brett Longden, not featuring for the first team this season.

The pattern of play was set for the evening early on as Charlie Walker and Smith both put good chances over the bar, while Miller and Walker were denied by some dogged defending.

Smith tested Blues keeper Luke Chambers’s reflexes with a snapshot, as the Blues keeper was to go on and play an even bigger part in proceedings after the break.

However, Dunstable took the lead on 19 minutes with their first effort of note when Town’s defence parted, allowing Scott Davies to slot past the exposed Elliot Justham.

Town threatened an instant response as Walker fired straight at Chambers from a good position.

Whalley then had his first real run at his marker but after beating two players, he dinked wide of the far post, with his next attempt well, well wide of the mark.

Luton should have levelled on 30 minutes as Curtley Williams produced a superb inviting cross that was headed wide from close range by Walker.

Just before the break, Miller’s snapshot was parried by Chambers, but Luton were level on the stroke of half time.

Whalley sped down the left flank and his cross was deflected into the path of Miller, who swivelled to find the bottom corner, despite the despairing dive of Chambers.

In the second period, there was constant Luton pressure as Fraser Franks’ burst out of defence and when the cross came over, Whalley’s volley saw Chambers make a superb save at full stretch.

The keeper then produced an even better stop from Alex Lacey’s close range prod from a corner as he reacted wonderfully to scoop the ball away from virtually on the goal-line.

Chambers didn’t cover himself in glory when next called upon, weakly patting a corner away only for Jim Stevenson with time and space to drag disappointingly wide.

Whalley then picked up a cross and cut in to fire straight at Chambers who had regained his composure while Miller saw his goalbound effort deflected behind as Luton dominated territory.

With time running out, Walker missed a one on one when sent clean through, as Chambers blocked with his legs, while Lacey’s header was somehow bundled clear and Stevenson’s follow up cross rebounded off the bar.

In the end, penalties were needed as Town gave a masterclass in dispatching them with Luke Rooney, Whalley, Stevenson and Walker all on target.

When Justham diverted Dixon’s effort on to the post, it was left to Miller, who confidently side-footed into the roof of the net and set up a quarter-final tie at SML Premier Division side Stotfold.

Dunstable: Luke Chambers, Daniel May, David Lynn, Luke Riddick, Shane Blackett, Steven Gregory (C), Adam Watkins (Ryan Hope 75), Charlie Henry (Terry Dixon 50), Jemale McKenzie-Lowe, Scott Davies, Tony Burnett.

Subs not used: Nick Beasant, George Legg, Curtis Shaw.

Hatters: Elliot Justham, Curtley Williams, Brett Longden, Fraser Franks, Alex Lacey, Luke Rooney, Jim Stevenson, Charlie Smith, Shaun Whalley, Charlie Walker, Ricky Miller.

Subs not used: Leeroy Maguraushe, Craig King, Isaac Galliford, Tuki Tayali, James Justin.