Luton Town suffer shock Carabao Cup exit at League One Exeter
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A late goal from Deme Mitchell saw Luton suffer a shock Carabao Cup exit at the hands of League One Exeter City this evening.
For the second game running, the Hatters dominated play for large periods, but their goalscoring woes continued, once more unable to find the net, this time against a side who had shipped three in a heavy defeat against Oxford at the weekend, as they were undone with just seven minutes remaining.
A mistake by sub Issa Kabore saw Mitchell take full advantage, as he stabbed into the roof of the net to end Town’s hopes of taking any momentum from the weekend into Saturday’s Premier League trip to Everton.
Hatters boss Rob Edwards made wholesale changes for the clash, 10 of them in fact, with Alfie Doughty the only survivor from the 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Recent signing Teden Mengi was given his Hatters debut, while teenage defender Joe Johnson came in for a first Town start, Elijah Adebayo and Cauley Woodrow forming the front duo.
Luke Berry had the game's first attempt on eight minutes, seeing a 25-yarder tipped over by Vil Sinsalo, as it looked like it would be a comfortable evening for Luton, dominating all aspects of the game in the opening 12 minutes.
Town almost capitalised on their strong start, Woodrow escaping in the area, his close range effort rattling the outside of the post.
Despite having 82 percent possession in the opening stages, Luton crucially couldn't break the deadlock and were almost undone by Exeter's first chance on 20 minutes, James Scott's curler from distance not missing the top corner by much.
Midway through the half, and with City's influence building, Mitchell cut off the right flank and went for goal, Krul judging the bounce well at his near post.
Luton tried to reassert their authority, Doughty swinging in a deep free kick and Mads Andersen's header dropping narrowly wide of the target, while a corner led to scramble that saw Berry's drive charged down and Adebayo's rebound on the turn hit home keeper Sinsalo.
Both Mengi and Chong went into the book for fouls on Vince Harper, as Exeter's Taylor once more fancied his chances from range, volleying over the top.
The woeful accuracy was catching, as a poor touch inside the area saw the ball fall to Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, whose first time attempt flew into the packed stand of Grecian supporters.
After the break, Mitchell tried another ambitious drive from range but once more couldn't keep it down.
Exeter should have moved ahead on 62 minutes, as Johnson was outmuscled on the left and Mitchell burst into the box, denied by the legs of Krul, with Taylor hammering the rebound wide from 12 yards.
Edwards responded with a quadruple change, bringing on Amari'i Bell, Jacob Brown, Issa Kabore and former Exeter loanee Chiedoze Ogbene for Johnson, Woodrow, Chong and Doughty.
Giles looked to create an opening soon afterwards, his cross slightly behind Adebayo who couldn't twist and get his effort on target.
With 73 gone, Luton had their best opportunity of the night when Mengi's magnificent crossfield pass released Giles whose first time cross was met by Brown, but he could only direct his downward header straight at Vinsalo.
Mpanzu put another drive over, as the last throw of the dice saw top scorer Carlton Morris on for Adebayo.
Giles was proving the architect for Town's chances, sizing up another cross from the left that Brown glanced wide, before another corner saw Morris's header deflect just wide.
Exeter were to grab the winner late on though, a ball swung in from the right and Kabore opting to take a touch rather than clear his lines, failing to account for the lurking Mitchell who was able to stab home.
With Luton throwing men forward, Mitchell tried to seal victory when racing away from well inside his own half, his deft chip dropping wide.
A chaotic last few minutes saw the goalscorer then sent off for a second yellow after clipping Kabore as he looked to reach a ball over the top, but despite throwing men forward, Town couldn’t find a leveller.
Grecians: Vil Sinsalo, Zak Jules, Will Aimson (C), Alex Hartridge, Tom Carroll, Deme Mitchell, James Scott (Yanic Wildschut 63), Caleb Watts (Reece Cole 44), Kyle Taylor, Jack Fitzwater, Vince Harper (Harry Kite 63).
Subs not used: Gary Woods, Sonny Cox, Pierce Sweeney, Mitch Beardmore, Pedro Borges, Jake Richards.
Hatters: Tim Krul, Alfie Doughty (Issa Kabore 65), Teden Mengi, Mads Andersen, Joe Johnson (Amari'i Bell 65), Ryan Giles, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (C), Luke Berry, Tahith Chong (Chiedozie Ogbene 65), Cauley Woodrow (Jacob Brown 65), Elijah Adebayo (Carlton Morris 75).
Subs not used: James Shea, Reece Burke, Jake Burger, Jayden Luker.
Referee: James Bell.
Booked: Mengi 36, Chong 42, Mitchell 47, Scott 51, Vinsalo 78, Sweeney 90, Carroll 90.
Sent off: Mitchell 88.