U's exit cup at first hurdleCambridge United were dumped out of the FA Cup as an Andre Gray-inspired Luton Town booked their place in the first round proper.
Gray took advantage of a mix up in midfield to open the scoring in the seventh minute, and Hatters could've doubled their lead shortly afterwards when Ricky Wellard brought down Stuart Fleetwood in the box. But Fleetwood saw his spot-kick rebound off the bar and away to safety.
United pushed for an equaliser in the second half, Michael Gash hitting the post with a superb effort, but a brilliant break from Gray saw him tee up Jon Shaw to make it 2-0.
Gash struck the upright again late on, but United couldn't find a way back into the match.
Richard Money decided to stick with a 4-3-3 formation for the match against his former club, but made two changes to his starting XI, with Ricky Wellard coming into the midfield and Andy Pugh starting up front. Tom Shaw and Michael Gash dropped to the bench.
The U's made a rapid start, but gave themselves a mountain to climb in the seventh minute. Luke Berry and Rossi Jarvis presented the ball to Gray, who sprinted forward before sending a low shot through Rory McAuley's legs and past the unsighted Jonathan Hedge.
James Jennings almost got United back on level terms immediately, but saw his goalbound free kick palmed round the post by visiting keeper Mark Tyler. From the resulting corner Luton broke, and Stuart Fleetwood went down in the box under a clumsy challenge from Ricky Wellard. The referee had little choice but to point to the spot, but fortunately for United Fleetwood's penalty hit the bar and bounced out, Jon Shaw heading the rebound over.
Both sides lost a player to injury before half-time, with Alex Lawless departing for Luton after a challenge from Wellard, and Jonathon Thorpe hobbling off with an ankle injury. Thorpe had been United's best attacking outlet on the right, putting in a couple of good crosses which resulted in half-chances for Tom Elliott. Berry also should've done better just before the break when he got free in the box but was unable to connect with a Jarvis corner.
Michael Gash entered the fray at half-time in place of Andy Pugh, and made an immediate impact as the U's began to press for an equaliser. Gash was inches away from a spectacular goal when his curling effort beat Tyler but struck the post. The rebound found another substitute, Tom Shaw, but came at him quickly and the midfielder was only able to stab his shot over the bar with the goal gaping.
Shaw then side-footed wide, while another Jennings free kick flashed past the post, and United were made to pay for their profligacy when Luton broke with deadly effect. Gray accelerated away from Jennings, beat Josh Coulson with ease, then set up Jon Shaw to fire past the exposed Hedge.
With a two-goal cushion, Luton saw out time fairly comfortably, though Gash was unlucky when Tyler palmed his free kick onto the post, then made a good save with his legs to stop Sam Smith's follow-up. Money will now have to pick his troops up ahead of the resumption of their league campaign, against Hyde on Saturday.
Man of the Match: Rory McAuley - A steady performance at centre-back, and when he moved to the right after Thorpe's injury.
Cambridge United: Hedge, Thorpe (Garner 32), Jennings, Coulson, McAuley, Wellard (Shaw 63), Jarvis, Berry, Pugh (Gash 45), Smith, Elliott. Subs not used: Dunk, Hughes, Willmott, Ross.
Luton Town: Tyler, Henry, Kovacs, Rowe-Turner, Howells, Mendy, Lawless (Robinson 19), O'Donnell, Shaw, Gray, Fleetwood (Beckwith 73). Subs not used: Lacey, J.Robinson, Woolley, Walker, Brill.
Referee: Mr W.Barratt
Attendance: 2,321 (away 601)
FULL TIME: CAMBRIDGE UNITED 0-2 LUTON TOWN
14.54: Free kick United now, right on the edge of the box, Gash takes and Tyler pushes it onto the post. Ball back in from Elliott, Smith stabs it goalwards and Tyler stops is with his legs, great double save. Five minutes to be added.
14.37: Dean Beckwith replaces Fleetwood for Luton as the visitors look to shore things up. To be honest they only need Gray up front, he seems to be able to keep our entire defence busy.
14.36: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 0-2 LUTON TOWN. And just as United look like equalising, the Hatters break with deadly consequences. Gray skips down the right, leaves Jennings and Coulson for dead and tees up Jon Shaw, who makes no mistake from 12 yards. Big task for United now.
14.33: United knocking on the door, first Shaw sidefoots just wide from 12 yards, then McAuley's low cross is put behind as Gash slides it to try and connect. Corner comes in, finds Smith, who turns and shoots onto the roof of the net.
14.31: Attendance today is 2,321 (601 away).
14.28: United corner now, Jarvis takes, it's deep, beats Tyler but a defender stabs it behind with Gash waiting. Second ball from Jarvis isn't as good and Luton can clear.
14.27: Tom Shaw coming on now in place of Ricky Wellard, and almost scores with his first touch! Gash lines up a curling shot from 20 yards, which beats Tyler but hits the post, the rebound comes back to Shaw, but he can only stumble it over the open goal.
14.17: Gray with a good turn of pace to get a cross in, which is turned behind by Coulson, Luton corner, too deep from Howells and out on the far side for a U's throw.
14.13: Free United now as Berry is fouled by Kovacs, who is already on a booking. No further action from the ref, and the free kick is just outside the box, right of centre. Jennings takes but that's just wide, Tyler watched it all the way and I think had it covered.
14.11: Good football from Luton, but Fleetwood's cross fizzes over the head of a couple of players in the centre.
14.09: About to restart here at the R Costings Abbey Stadium, and there's a change for the U's, Andy Pugh replaced by Michael Gash.
HALF-TIME: CAMBRIDGE UNITED 0-1 LUTON TOWN
13.52: That's half-time. As I said, fairly enjoyable half, Luton probably deserve their lead though United have had their chances.
13.49: Wow, good chance for Berry as Jarvis's corner reaches him six yards out but somehow he completely misses his header. The ball rebounds to the prone Berry on the floor, but he can't get anything on it and Luton clear their lines.
13.48: YELLOW CARD. Smith does well to get away from Mendy, who brings him down clumsily and is carded. Ref could've played advantage there, but brings play back for a free kick which eventually results in a United corner, McAuley's cross charged down.
13.45: Five minutes to be added here, been an entertaining half. Chances at both ends, though United haven't really stretched Tyler, a lot of shocks blocked and charged down by some decent Hatters defending.
13.43: YELLOW CARD. McAuley, now operating at right-back, takes a loose touch and clatters Howells. Fairly clear yellow card that. United have had the better of things the last few minutes, Luton seemingly happy to take their 1-0 lead into half-time.
13.40: Smith and Jennings combine well, and the latter's cross is headed over by Elliott, big Tom hopefully starting to find his range.
13.37: Two Luton corners in quick succession repelled by the U's, but they can't clear their lines, McAuley heading the ball straight to Gray, who cuts back for Mendy, but his shot is slashed high over the bar.
13.35: Elliott's knock down finds Berry in the box, but his shot is blocked. Luton go down the other end and a mistake from Garner gifts Gray possession, but gets back well to put the ball behind. The corner is half cleared to Robinson, who misses his first shot but his second effort is low and powerful, and Hedge has to make a great save at his near post.
13.31: Hedge makes a good catch from a Luton corner and sets Thorpe away down the right. He goes past Howells and crosses low, but Pugh's shot takes a deflection off a defender and rolls through to Tyler. Thorpe stays down following the challenge of Howells - he'll have to go off. Scott Garner on in his place, both sides have now lost a man this half.
13.28: Better from United, Wellard charging forward and finding Thorpe in space, and his cross is headed over the bar by Tom Elliott. That was a half-chance, not an easy one as the ball came quickly at the striker, but a half chance none the less.
13.22: Almost an immediate impact from Robinson, who slashes a shot wide after a spell of penalty box pinball instigated by the tricky Gray, who looks to the be the dangerman for the visitors on the right hand side.
13.20: Goal seems to have knocked the stuffing out of United, who had started quite well. There's a break in play at the moment as Alex Lawless is down having been tackled by Wellard. This doesn't look good for Lawless, he's carried off with his leg in a brace, Matt Robinson is on in his place.
13.13: PENALTY MISSED. Luton push forward on the counter, Fleetwood runs at Wellard, skips past him and is brought down in the area, clear penalty, silly tackle from Wellard, who is booked. It's FLEETWOOD to take, and he misses! It's hit hard and high down the centre but strikes the bar and bounces out, Shaw heads the rebound over.
13.10: YELLOW CARD. United with a free kick on the edge of the box, Elliott fouled by Kovacs, who goes in the book. Jennings to take, curls it over the wall, and Tyler makes a good save low to his left to parry. Couple of corners repelled by the Hatters.
13.08: GOAL CAMBRIDGE UNITED 0-1 LUTON TOWN. Disaster for United as Berry and Jarvis gift the ball to ANDRE GRAY, who strides forward and shoots through the legs of McAuley and past the unsighted Hedge, the visitors lead.
13.04: Low cross from Jennings finds Smith, who lays it back to Pugh, but his shot is blocked by a diving defender.
13.01: Here we go, United get us underway attacking the South Stand.
12.50: Luton's last visit to the R Costings Abbey Stadium ended in a 1-1 draw, Liam Hughes notching a second half equaliser after Stuart Fleetwood had given the visitors the lead. Earlier this year we lost 3-2 at Kenilworth Road, Ricky Wellard and Rory McAuley with the United goals.
12.32: TEAM NEWS. Richard Money shuffles his pack again, making two changes from the team that drew 0-0 at Gateshead on Saturday. Ricky Wellard, who scored against Luton in the league fixture last month, replaces Tom Shaw in midfield, with Andy Pugh coming in up front at the expense of Michael Gash. It'll be a 4-3-3 formation for the U's again, who have Harrison Dunk and Scott Garner on the bench after their recovery from injury.
Luton are without ex-United striker Scott Rendell, who isn't even in the Hatters squad for the game. Nevertheless, they possess a potent attacking line-up featuring Jon Shaw, Andre Gray and Stuart Fleetwood. New loanee Arnaud Mendy, who joined from Macclesfield yesterday, makes an immediate debut.
12.30: Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to the R Costings Abbey Stadium for Cambridge United against Luton Town. Forget Spurs vs Chelsea, this is the lunch time kick off that matters, with a place in the first round proper of the FA Cup at stake.