Luton Town 1 Bury 1
A late equaliser from substitute Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu rescued a point for Luton in their League Two clash with Bury tonight.
After a hugely frustrating display from the hosts, it looked like a third consecutive home defeat was on the cards until Ruddock Mpanzu’s deflected drive beat Robert Lainton from the edge of the box, echoing shades of Town’s draw with Macclesfield at a similar stage of last season.
After boss John Still called for improvements in the final third during the aftermath of Saturday’s defeat to AFC Wimbledon, there was precious little sign of that as Town huffed and puffed, but failed to seriously test Lainton all evening.
Striker Paul Benson cut an isolated figure as, once again, Hatters didn’t create any chances of note, too often opting to shoot wastefully from range.
Still had made one change from the weekend with the available Luke Rooney coming straight back in for Jake Howells. The winger was Town’s most likely avenue in the opening moments, fizzing over two crosses that Scott Griffiths and Benson failed to make the most of.
Bury had quality in possession, trying to draw Hatters out as Pablo Mills sent an effort straight at Mark Tyler.
The dominant visitors quietened the crowd, looking by far the more threatening, Andrew Tutte charging forward only to curl narrowly wide.
Tyler then had to race from his goal to save at the feet of Ryan Lowe, while Luton’s first real chance arrived on 22 minutes as a neat move fashioned a shooting chance for Andy Drury, but he ballooned over.
Town had their first shot on target after 41 minutes, but Luke Guttridge’s effort from range was easy for Lainton.
After the break, Cullen had a sight of goal, but after dinking over Mills, his attempted volley flew over.
Rooney then picked up a booking when he was adjudged to have dived by referee Tim Robinson, and he couldn’t really have any complaints this time.
Hatters were showing definite signs of improvement as they began to retain possession, but just as they were looking to crank up the tempo, Bury stole in front on 61 minutes.
It was poor goal to conceded too as Adams’ cross wasn’t cut out properly by McNulty and Danny Rose nipped in to beat Tyler to the ball for an horrendously scrappy opener.
That appeared to have burst Hatters’ bubble somewhat as whatever head of steam they had built up quickly evaporated.
Still rang the changes, bringing Ruddock Mpanzu, Howells and Ross Lafayette on as Luton switched to a 3-5-2 in the closing stages.
Tyler palmed away from Tutte but it looked all over when Luke Wilkinson glanced wide.
However, Ruddock Mpanzu broke away to level matters in the dying stages and Town could even have won it, as Lafayette fired wide and then Rooney took far too long to pick out a cross, as honours finished even.
Hatters: Mark Tyler, Fraser Franks, Scott Griffiths (Jake Howells 75), Steve McNulty, Luke Wilkinson, Andy Drury, Matt Robinson, Luke Guttridge (Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu 61), Luke Rooney, Mark Cullen, Paul Benson (Ross Lafayette 75).
Subs not used: Alex Lacey, Alex Wall, Elliot Justham, Jim Stevenson.
Shakers: Robert Lainto, Jim McNulty (C), Andrew Tutte, Kelvin Etuhu, Nicky Adams (Chris Sedwick 72), Danny Rose (James Poole 69), Danny Mayor (Widdowson 77), Ryan Lowe, Tom Soares, Nathan Cameron, Pablo Mills.
Subs not used: Shwan Jalal, Chris Hussey, Keil O’Brien, Daniel Nardiello.
Referee: Tim Robinson.
Booked: Rooney 52; Mills 59; Tyler 65; Rose 65; Mayor 71.
Attendance: 7,890 (289 Bury).
Hatters MOM: Scott Griffiths - left back gave a typically committed display with no little skill too.