Tue 11 Aug 15
at 21:23 PM
Report: Luton Town 3-1 City
Mark Perrow reports from Kenilworth Road
City were on the receiving end of a Capital One Cup upset as Sky Bet League Two hosts Luton Town ran out 3-1 winners at Kenilworth Road.
City were the dominant force for much of the first half but went in at the break trailing courtesy of Jack Marriott’s 44th minute opener.
Paul Benson added a second before Marriott struck again on 63 minutes with a quick-fire third.
Callum Robinson marked his full debut with a goal back, but a dramatic comeback never looked on the cards as the Sky Bet League One champions were beaten by fourth tier opposition for the second year running.
Steve Cotterill handed a debut to loan signing Ben Hamer in goal and a first start to Robinson.
The duo replaced Frank Fielding (shoulder) and Joe Bryan (knee) in City’s only changes from the opening day defeat at Sheffield Wednesday three days prior.
Robinson’s inclusion behind the strikers meant a change in role for Luke Freeman, who filled the void vacated by Bryan at left wing-back.
City started brightly, with a couple of early crosses from Luke Ayling causing the League Two hosts to experience some uncomfortable moments.
First, skipper Steve McNulty headed the ball high into the air as goalkeeper Mark Tyler watched it drop on to his own crossbar, before Ayling delivered again on to the head of the onrushing Robinson who headed over.
City were unquestionably dominant, keeping the ball well and looking particularly threatening down the right flank against a Luton side who had matched up the 3-5-2 formation.
Then Robinson showed his ability with a sharp turn in the box before rifling a left-footed shot towards the top corner that Tyler did well to help on its way.
Hamer’s only involvement of the first half-hour had been to spray the ball out to the wing-backs until the Hatters spurned a fine chance of their own to break the deadlock, as Marriott shot straight into the keeper’s arms from 12 yards.
It was City’s first cause for concern, but the visitors would find themselves going in at half-time a goal down when Marriott made no mistake with his second chance of the night.
Cameron McGeehan’s probing ball into the striker’s feet invited Marriott to turn in the box and show plenty of composure before finding the net via Hamer’s right-hand post with a precise finish.
City would start the second half with Freeman restored to his usual position and Robinson switching to left wing-back.
But it was Jonathan Kodjia who would be the man to threaten an equaliser, exploiting an opening of space ahead of him and drilling a low shot from 30 yards that needed a smart save from Tyler down to his left.
The Frenchman would scuff a kinder opportunity from the edge of the box before Luton showed their clinical finishing with a second goal just shy of the hour, as Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu skipped past Freeman and supplied veteran front man Benson with an open invitation to slot home.
Two became three after Kodjia sliced wide from four yards, as Marriott raced clear to leave City staring down the barrel of another early exit from the competition following last season’s first round exit at the hands of Oxford United.
Having introduced Wes Burns for Fredericks just before the third goal, Cotterill brought Kieran Agard into the attack in place of Kodjia shortly after.
There was still time for an unlikely revival when Robinson reduced the deficit 19 minutes from time.
Serial provider Freeman sucked in the last defender on the edge of the box and nudged the ball wide for the Aston Villa loanee to convert with a left-footed shot inside Tyler’s near post.
Bobby Reid would complete the list of City replacements in taking the place of Marlon Pack in midfield, before testing Tyler after more good approach play from Freeman.
There was one more chance of note still to come, but Agard’s tame header wide summed up a night to forget from a City point of view.