'Huge relief' for Luton boss Edwards as Adebayo's late winner ensures Town avoid unwanted extra time

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Hatters go through to a fourth round home tie against League Two Grimsby

Hatters boss Rob Edwards admitted it was a ‘huge relief’ to see Elijah Adebayo pop up with virtually the last kick to see off Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup third round replay last night and avoid extra time.

With the scores locked at 1-1 and seven minutes added to the clock, it had looked like another half an hour was going to be played at the DW Stadium, something neither side really wanted, especially Luton, who travel back to the Latics on Saturday for their Championship contest.

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Sub Harry Cornick then lofted a ball into the box and with fellow replacement Tom Lockyer causing a nuisance of himself, it dropped for Adebayo to turn and smash his low shot past Ben Amos to ensure the Hatters went through to reach round four and host League Two Grimsby Town.

Edwards said: “It was a huge relief.

"I’m really pleased for him as he had one or two decent chances and I thought his all-round performance was good.

"He’s worked very hard the last couple of games in particular and he deserved that winner.

“The game was going to extra time and he’s actually one of our penalty takers, you’ve got to think about that.

Elijah Adebayo nets a stoppage time winner as Luton defeated Wigan in the FA Cup on Tuesday nightElijah Adebayo nets a stoppage time winner as Luton defeated Wigan in the FA Cup on Tuesday night
Elijah Adebayo nets a stoppage time winner as Luton defeated Wigan in the FA Cup on Tuesday night

"We wanted to keep as many goal threats on the pitch.

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"We knew we’d get another opportunity to make subs if it had gone to extra time, so we were holding a couple there just in case, but really pleased that we didn’t have to go to that.”

On the balance of play, Luton definitely deserved their victory, having 57 per cent possession and 13 shots at the home side’s goal, with six on target.

Edwards felt that was the case too, as he continued: “I think so, but we want to stay humble, we’re back here on Saturday, so we’re not going to get carried away.

"It’s a great feeling now, but we come here in the league on Saturday and it will probably be a different feel, so I just want to stay grounded and not get carried away.

"Of course we’re very, very pleased.

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"It's great to win a game, especially late on and the way we did it in the end.

"I’m delighted for Eli, another goal, two goals in two, so that’s really good for him as well.”

After being disappointed that Town’s domination of the ball in the first game at Kenilworth Road hadn’t led to more opportunities being created, Amos hardly tested, this time there were plenty, Cornick with an effort cleared off the line, while Cauley Woodrow did find the net, also going close to a second, Adebayo denied by the keeper before his stoppage time strike.

It was a really pleasing aspect for Edwards, who added: “I felt like we did create more.

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"It’s something we’ve been talking about and working on and it’s the hardest thing to do in football otherwise everyone would be doing it, every game would be ten-all.

"It is difficult to do that, teams defend well, they’re organised, they get back in numbers and we spoke about this the other week, but I felt we looked much more of a threat.

“I’m really pleased with the all-round performance, I thought we showed lots of control.

"I probably talked a little bit more tactically about this game than any game that we’ve had so far, as I felt we were going to have more of the ball and our positional game was going to be really important, without boring people and going into it too much.

"So it was really good the lads tried to implement what we talked about and some really good individual performances as well, I’m really pleased.”