Luton 0-1 Town - Half-Time
Tuesday, 8th Aug 2017 20:54
David McGoldrick’s 34th minute goal has given Town a 1-0 lead in their Carabao Cup first round tie at Luton.
Blues boss Mick McCarthy handed a first senior start to Flynn Downes, a first-team debut to Tristan Nydam and a Town bow to on-loan Manchester City man Bersant Celina as he made seven changes to the team which beat Birmingham 1-0 on Saturday. New signing Martyn Waghorn is included on the bench.
McCarthy again lined his side in a 3-5-2 system with Dean Gerken in goal and Adam Webster, who was making his first start since January, skipper Luke Chambers and Jonas Knudsen the defensive trio, while Dominic Iorfa and Myles Kenlock were the wing-backs.
Cole Skuse was joined by 18-year-old Downes, who made his senior debut as a sub on Saturday, and Nydam, 17, in midfield with Celina playing off McGoldrick up front.
In addition to new striker Waghorn, 18-year-old centre-half or right-back Luke Woolfenden was among the subs for the first time, alongside fellow youngsters Pat Webber and Adam McDonnell.
One-time Town trialist Marek Stech is in goal for the home side, who made only three changes from the team which hammered Yeovil 8-2 on Saturday.
There was little to entertain the crowd in the first eight minutes, although the large Blues contingent behind the goal made plenty of noise.
The first moment of danger came from a poor Stech kick which was intercepted by Iorfa on the Tow right but the on-loan Wolves man’s low ball towards McGoldrick was cut out by a defender.
The Hatters’ first opportunity came in the 12th minute when Andrew Shinnie was found on the right of the box by Olly Lee - like his team-mate Elliot the son of ex-England international Rob - but Chambers got across to stab the ball behind. The Blues dealt with the resultant corner.
On 16 former Birmingham man Shinnie shot over with the home side looking the more dangerous side although with neither keeper having been forced to make a save.
McGoldrick remedied that two minutes later after exchanging passes with Iorfa on the edge of the box and looping a shot which Stech caught comfortably under his bar.
Moments later the Czech keeper was quickly off his line to reach the ball ahead of Celina five yards outside his area.
James Collins shot straight at Gerken in the 21st minute before Kenlock gave the ball away on the left. Downes did well to win it back but his clearance only reached a Luton player on the other flank and Webster was eventually forced to hack clear after a brief scramble in the Town box.
On 28, following a run by Celina midway inside the Luton half, McGoldrick shot over from 25 yards.
The Blues were starting to a look a more cohesive unit after a rather disjointed start - which was little surprise given the changes - and in the 35th minute they went in front.
The increasingly involved Celina cleverly played in McGoldrick, who cut the ball across Stech and into the net for his first goal of the season.
Luton had a chance to equalise almost immediately when Jack Stacey air-kicked Olly Lee’s ball in from the right.
The Hatters went even closer in the 39th minute when his brother Elliot Lee curled a shot only just past Gerken’s right post.
Town captain Chambers was shown the game’s first yellow card in the 42nd minute for tripping Shinnie as the Scot burst past him five yards outside the area. Gerken punched Alan Sheehan’s freekick to the edge of the box and the ball eventually bounced back through to the Blues keeper.
In the final minute of scheduled time Celina fed Kenlock to his left as Town broke and the left-back hit a well-struck low shot which flew not too far wide of Stech’s left post.
The Hatters should have equalised in first-half injury time. Jordan Cook hit a low shot through a crowd of players which Gerken saved down to his left but could only push away. The loose ball fell to Elliot Lee, who somehow blazed over with the goal gaping.
With the jeers from the Town support still ringing in Lee’s ears, referee Andy Haines ended what had been a fairly even half of few chances at either end.
McGoldrick took the Blues’ best opportunity at a time when Town were getting on top, while Elliot Lee failed to take Luton’s moments before the whistle.
Neither of Town’s young midfielders Downes and Nydam had looked overawed, both making feisty tackles and showing confidence on the ball.
Celina, playing his first game after his second bout of illness of the summer, had come more and more into the match as the half wore on, relishing his chance to run at defenders and show his very evident skills to his new fans.
Luton: Stech, Cuthbert (c), Stacey, O Lee, Cook, Shinnie, Rea, Mpanza, Collins, E Lee, Sheehan. Subs: Mullins, Senior, Gambin, McQuoid, Bakinson, Shea, Musonda.
Town: Gerken, Webster, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Iorfa, Kenlock, Skuse, Downes, Nydam, Celina, McGoldrick. Subs: Bialkowski, Woolfenden, Webber, McDonnell, Rowe, Sears, Waghorn. Referee: Andy Haines (Tyne and Wear).
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