Date:Wednesday September 26 2007
25 September 2007 7-45 pm
A superb drive from Steve Robinson to equalise an early setback, led to a sterling effort by the Town, culminating in a cracking header from Matthew Spring and a goal from Drew Talbot to see off the Addicks in extra time.
Dean Sinclair scored a scrappy goal in the 4th minute during a blistering opening from Charlton which saw Luton on the back foot for much of the first half. However, they hung in and defended well with the central pairing of Perry and Fojut looking very solid.
Luton gradually came back into the game and a superb strike from about 25 yards by Robinson, after a corner was only half cleared, gave visiting keeper Randolph no chance and the match was all square at half time.
Paul McVeigh started for the first time with Edwards rested, and Fojut came in for Coyne who sat on the bench. Dean Brill came in for David Forde in goal as the Cardiff keeper has returned to his club. Surprisingly, Paul Furlong played after hints from the manager that he would be rested.
Playing a 4-4-2, Luton looked very competent after going a goal down. McVeigh partnered Furlong very well and the pair seemed to have a good understanding.
Morgan had already gone close in the opening exchanges when Charlton broke quickly and McCleod got to the by line and crossed for Todorov to head what seemed like a certain goal. Brill made a very good save, but could not keep hold and Sinclair scuffed the ball over the line.
This heralded a period of quick attacking football by Charlton which, to be fair, looked like overwhelming the Town, who were clearly troubled by the pace of their ex-premiership opponents.
However, Luton manged to set up a few attacks of their own and McVeigh went close in the 12th minute, firing just over, and Furlong saw a good effort deflected by a defender who knew little about it.
As Luton got into the game, Matthew Spring was taking hold of midfield and his passing was remeniscent of the old Springy.
Despite their efforts to get forward, Luton were a little lucky when Racon rattled the crossbar from a good distance out with Brill a spectator, and McCleod was put clean through by Todorov but conspired to slip the ball wide as Brill advanced.
McLeod missed again five minutes before half time, with Jackson doing enough to put the striker off as he shot.
Just as the Town fans were hoping to hang on until half time only 1 goal down, they won a corner, which was taken by David Bell. A Luton style half clearance was executed by 'view to a kill'in the Charlton defence, and as it dropped towards Robbo, 22 yards or so from goal, he shaped perfectly and struck as sweet a volley as he will ever do, which flew into the net.
Luton's tails were up as the second half began, and they looked at least the equals of their opponents.
Furlong drove a decent shot into the midfiff of Randolph and McVeigh tried a clever bending shot after good work from Bell but the curl wasn't quite fierce enough to find the corner of the net as Luton began to dominate play, with Charlton seemingly happy to sit back and invite pressure, looking to catch Luton on the break.
One such quick break saw the very skilful Todorov set up Ambrose for a shooting opportunity but he shot too early and wide of the mark.
McVeigh was showing some real class and must surely have opened the manager's eyes to his potential as a strike partner for Furlong on Saturday at Huddersfield, and some clever footwork saw him set Morgan free only to see a goalbound effort stunningly saved by Randolph.
As full time approached the game opened up as each side looked to believe that one more goal would be enough.
With five minutes left, Ambrose hit a surprise volley from nowhere, but Brill did very well to save it, before Springy hit a carbon copy of Ambrose's effort, beating the keeper......... and the post.
In time added on, Dean Brill kept the Hatters in the tie with a spectacular save from an Ambrose header, with the young keeper acrobatically tipping the ball over the bar when it looked destined for the net, and the final whistle blew with extra time needed. The most surprising thing about the match so far was that I had hardly noticed our nemesis referee Andy D'Urso who had made no glaring errors on this occasion and neither had he seen fit to show any cards to any players. (Stood back in amazement!)
Despite his man of the match performance, McVeigh was replaced at 90 minutes by Drew Talbot, Dean Morgan having been replaced by Darren Currie just before the end.
Charlton took up the reins at the start of extra time and McCleod wasted yet another opportunity striking over when the goal beckoned, and then Robinson had a chance to repeat his spectacular volley of the first half of normal time but lacked the execution.
Varney, on as a sub for Racon, was put clean through and again Dean Brill came to the rescue with a tremendous block.
As the first period of extra time was drawing to a close, Currie placed a pinpoint curling cross into the box for Spring to meet on his run and head it into the net like a rocket. Luton had turned it around and led 2-1 at the break.
Luton kept possession very well in the second period of extra time and might have got a third when Spring got another chance with a header, but this time was just off target.
With the fans wondering when, rather than if, Charlton would score a killer equaliser as the clocked moved around to three minutes from the end, Talbot latched onto a loose ball after a mistake by 'view to a kill' and calmly stroked the ball in off a post for the third and there was no way back for the Addicks.
Luton Town: Brill, Goodall, Perry, Fojut, Jackson, Morgan (Currie 85), Bell (Brkovic 103), Robinson, Spring, McVeigh (Talbot 91), Furlong
Subs not used: Coyne, Andrew
Charlton: Randolph, Moutaouakil, McCarthy, Holland, Todorov (Arter 85), Ambrose, Sinclair, Racon (Varney 70), Bougherra, Sankofa, McLeod
Subs not used: Weaver, Fortune, Thomas
Referee: Andy D'Urso took 106 minutes to show a card and McCleod insisted! One of D'Urso's better perormances.
Date:Wednesday September 26 2007
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