Hatters suffer Trophy defeat at Posh

Defender Matty Pearson scored for the Hatters
Defender Matty Pearson scored for the Hatters

Checkatrade Trophy, Group H: Peterborough 2 Luton Town 1

Luton suffered their first defeat in the Checkatrade Trophy this season, going down 2-1 at fellow League one side Peterborough.

Just as in the league clash at the ABAX Stadium, Town turned around trailing at the break, although this time it was just by two, before a much improved second half display saw the Hatters almost snatch a draw.

Despite Luton already qualifying as group winners, boss Nathan Jones stuck to his word and picked a strong side, with nine changes from Saturday as Matty Pearson and Harry Cornick keeping their places.

Kazenga LuaLua, Alan Sheehan, Alan McCormack and Jorge Grant came in, as did keeper Marek Stech, while first year pro Jack James made his first start for the club.

Moving away from the norm, Jones also selected am experienced bench, Sonny Bradley, Jack Stacey and Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu all included.

Town had the ball in the net early on through Aaron Jarvis, after Lloyd Jones diverted LuaLua's cross goalwards, but he was flagged offside.

Arthur Read then tested Conor O'Malley who saved easily enough as the Hatters made a bright start, getting in a number of promising positions, Read's touch just letting him down as he broke the offside trap.

However, the hosts moved ahead with their first real venture into the area on 19 minutes as Marcus Maddison escaped on the right and his cross saw Colin Daniel beat Pearson to the ball, volleying past Stech.

Posh then had a spell in the ascendancy, Siriki Dembele lashing over and Jamie Walker slamming into the side-netting after more good work by Maddison.

The home midfielder tested Stech with a swerving long distance drive, but Town's keeper was picking the ball out of the net on 36 minutes, when Ivan Toney curled a delicious free kick past him from 20 yards.

Toney almost had another special strike, volleying a corner over, while after the break, Callum Cooke wasn't far away either after Luton couldn't clear their lines.

Town finally started to buck their ideas up 10 minutes in, a quick counter saw Grant slide in Cornick, who had time and space on his side, only to slice off target, while LuaLua's rasping low drive drew an excellent save from O'Malley.

The home keeper was swiftly called into action once more, blocking Cornick's attempt with his legs, while an unmarked Sheehan had the chance of the night, heading Grant's cross wide at the far post.

Town did give themselves a lifeline on 73 minutes, when Pearson's drilled cross from the right was spilled by O'Malley, who couldn't prevent it dribbling over the line.

He partly redeemed himself by saving Cornick's curler, and then grabbing Pearson's downward header from a corner.

After two cup games and awaiting their second round opponents in Friday's second round draw, the Hatters can now turn their attentions back to the league as Plymouth visit Kenilworth Road this weekend.

Posh: Conor O'Malley, Colin Daniel, Jamie Walker, Siriki Dembele (Isaac Buckley-Ricketts 75), Louis Reed, Callum Cooke (Mark O'Hara 84), Rhys Bennett (C), Ivan Toney, Marcus Maddison (George Cooper 90), Darren Lyon, Sebastien Bassong.

Subs not used: Aaron Chapman, Jason Naismith, Matt Godden, Jason Cummings.

Hatters: Marek Stech, Matty Pearson, Jack James, Alan Sheehan (C), Lloyd Jones, Alan McCormack, Arthur Read (James Justin 84), Jorge Grant, Kazenga LuaLua, Aaron Jarvis, Harry Cornick (Josh Neufville 89).

Subs not used: Harry Isted, Sonny Bradley, Jack Stacey, Glen Rea, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu.

Booked: Daniel 51, McCormack 54.

Referee: Andy Woolmer.

Attendance: 2,017.