Hatters earn an FA Cup replay after Owls stalemate

FA Cup, third round: Sheffield Wednesday 0 Luton Town 0

Saturday, 5th January 2019, 2:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 2:29 pm
James Collins goes close against Sheffield Wednesday

Luton Town are in the hat for the fourth round of the FA Cup after confidently holding Championship side Sheffield Wednesday to a goalless draw at Hillsborough this afternoon.

Although the hosts had most of the possession during the game, they were comfortably kept at arms length by the Hatters, who were the better side after the break, just failing to really test home keeper Cameron Dawson.

Both sides showed just how seriously they were taking this fixture, making one change each, Luke Berry handed his first start since that horrible injury suffered at Colchester in March last year, as Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu dropped to the bench, missing his first minutes of the season.

The hosts opted to swap goalkeepers, Dawson replacing Keiren Westwood, with two of Wednesday's Scottish internationals combining for the first opportunity, the dangerous Barry Bannan sending over a teasing cross for Steven Fletcher to head narrowly over.

Wednesday had the majority of possession in the opening exchanges, as was to be expected, with centre half Michael Hector making a number of easy on the eye sweeping diagonal passes, but it didn't lead to anything for Luton to worry unnessecarily about.

After a quiet opening 20 minutes, it was Fletcher who went closest again, his header from a corner gathered low to his right by Shea.

Adam Reach wasn't too far away moments later, cleverly flicking the ball away from Sonny Bradley but dragging wide on his right foot.

Luton were always in the game themselves, getting into some promising positions, the best seeing James Collins slip at the vital moment after Elliot Lee's pass rebounded into his path.

Reach then had another attempt, his volley flying off target, while on 35 minutes, Town had their first real sight, James Justin unable to keep his 20-yarder down.

Town finally worked Dawson five minutes before the break, Berry's long ranger gathered by the stopper underneath his crossbar.

Shea was called upon to keep it goalless in the last knockings of the first period, when Bannan's clever free kick found Marco Matias, his effort flipped over the top.

After the break, Luton made a far more positive start, the excellent Justin, who looked more than at home in his high level surroudnings, having a cross just cut out by Tom Lees, while Berry couldn't quite reach Jack Jack Stacey's delivery at the back post.

The interval also saw the Owls buck their ideas up, as Matias escaped in the box, his fierce effort seeing Shea get a strong right hand and turn it over the bar, the keeper also tipping Liam Palmer's teasing cross behind soon after.

Just after the hour, Luton boss Nathan Jones brought on Mpanzu for Collins, Lee moving upfront alongside Hylton and Berry into the tip of the diamond.

Hylton saw a header drift wide from Shinnie's first-time cross, as Wednesday's efforts were often more in hope than conviction, Bannan's volley easy for Shea.

Neither side could really fashion any opportunities in the closing stages, Lee's wayward effort about the best Town mustered, with Liam Palmer's low cross requiring a desperate clearance, meaning both sides will do it again at Kenilworth Road in little over a weeks time.

Owls: Cameron Dawson, Liam Palmer, Morgan Fox, Steven Fletcher (Atdhe Nuhiu 75), Barry Bannan, Tom Lees (C), Marco Matias (Sam Winnall 58), Adam Reach, George Boyd, Sam Hutchinson (Joey Pelupessy 26), Michael Hector.

Subs not used: Joe Wildsmith, Jordan Thorniley,, Ash Baker, Liam Shaw.

Hatters: James Shea, Jack Stacey, James Justin, Matty Pearson, Sonny Bradley (C), Alan McCormack, Luke Berry (Kazenga LuaLua 80), Andrew Shinnie, Elliot Lee (Aaron Jarvis 89), James Collins (Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu 66), Danny Hylton.

Subs not used: Harry Isted, Jorge Grant, Lloyd Jones, Alan Sheehan.

Booked: Reach 66.

Referee: Robert Jones.

Attendance: 16,974 (4,219 Luton).