FEATURE: Where are Luton’s FA Cup giant killers now?

Luton Town players celebrate their famous FA Cup win at Norwich in January 2013
Luton Town players celebrate their famous FA Cup win at Norwich in January 2013

Luton make the long trek up north to face Gateshead in the FA Cup tomorrow, where they will come up against one of their former players in JJ O’Donnell who was part of the Town side that made history in this competition just under five years ago.

For O’Donnell was in the club’s ranks when the Hatters headed to then Premier League outfit Norwich in the fourth round of the competition back in January 2013, when they became the first non-league team to defeat a top flight club since the Premier League was introduced.

Alex Lawless, JJ O'Donnell and Ronnie Henry mob goalscorer Scott Rendell

Alex Lawless, JJ O'Donnell and Ronnie Henry mob goalscorer Scott Rendell

Scott Rendell was the hero on the day, sliding in to convert O’Donnell’s cross with 10 minutes to go for the only goal of the game, defeating a Canaries side managed by Chris Hughton, and also containing a young Harry Kane, replaced by Grant Holt during the interval.

The Luton News has had a look to see just what has happened to the rest of the players who featured for the Hatters on that famous day.

Mark Tyler: Spent another three years with Luton, leaving to rejoin Peterborough on loan in March 2016 after making 297 appearances in total for the Hatters and is now the goalkeeping coach at the Posh.

Lathaniel Rowe-Turner: Had a further 12 months at Kenilworth Road, as the full back/centre half left Town just two short of 50 games for the club.

Town fans in full voice at Carrow Road

Town fans in full voice at Carrow Road

Headed to Alfreton Town for two years, before a spell at Kidderminster and then Torquay, where he spent a season. Now with Chester in the National League having played 21 times this season.

Greg Taylor: Only spent a further two months at Town, as boss Paul Buckle loaned him to Mansfield, before he departed permanently for Cambridge in June 2013.

Has been there ever since, playing almost 200 games for the U’s, scoring three goals.

Janos Kovacs: Centre half was let go at the end of the campaign, bringing to an end his second spell with Hatters, making it 91 appearances in total, scoring eight goals.

Headed back to his homeland, Hungarian side Honved and then moved to Siofok and SZTK-Eriman, where he featured 22 times in the 2015-16 campaign, on target with three strikes.

Ronnie Henry: Captained Luton to the Conference title the following season, but left for former side Stevenage in that summer after playing 87 games for Town. Recently made his 450th appearance of a fine career for Boro.

Alex Lawless: Midfielder went on to enjoy a fine career with Luton, as he played 203 times, scoring 22 goals before eventually departing in the summer of 2016.

Headed to Yeovil for a year, joining Leyton Orient in the close season just gone and has figured for the O’s 17 times now.

Jon Shaw: Enjoyed another campaign with Luton, before being released in June 2014 after scoring 10 goals in 51 appearances.

Went to former club Gateshead and then joined South Shields in 2016, helping his side win the FA Vase last term, and is now a regular in the heart of defence.

Jake Howells: Like Lawless, stayed at Luton until the summer of 2016 leaving with an impressive 334 appearances and 31 goals to his name.

Headed to Eastleigh and then moved to Dagenham & Redbridge to link up with former Luton boss John Still, playing 20 times for the club so far.

Arnaud Mendy: Had his unhappy spell at Luton ended in December 2013 after playing 29 times and went to Lincoln City.

Spells at Whitehawk and Hemel Hempstead followed before switching to Maltese side Naxxa Lions. where he has featured seven times this season, most recently in the 3-1 Premier League defeat at Gzira United.

Jonathan Smith: The longest remaining player from the victory as he went on to play 176 times for Luton, scoring 11 goals, before leaving the club earlier this season for Stevenage, where he has played 22 times so far, finding the net on four occasions.

Andre Gray: One of the real success stories from the side that day, as Gray netted 57 goals in 111 games for the Hatters, helping fire Town to the Conference title the following season.

Went to Brentford for a fee of over £500,000 and then headed to Burnley for £9m, scoring 33 in 78 games.

Another big money move to Town’s arch rivals Watford in the summer, as they shelled out a huge £13.5m for the forward, who has netted twice so far.


Dean Brill (unused): Sub keeper was in his second spell at Luton, as he moved on in November 2013 after playing 109 times in total.

From Luton, went to Inverness Caledonian Thistle, completing a century of games north of the border, before spells with Motherwell and Colchester, while now is back in England, as goalkeeper coach at Leyton Orient.

JJ O’Donnell (replaced Mendy on 68mins): Came off the bench to set up the winner on the day as he had another year with Luton, leaving in July 2014 after 51 appearances and scoring three goals.

Headed to Gateshead on a permanent basis, while a serious foot injury threatened to end his career, but thankfully is back now having missed two years of football, playing eight games this term.

James Dance (unused): Played 32 times and scored four goals for Town in total until leaving in that summer. Went to Kidderminster, then Chasetown and now runs a barbers called Something for the Weekend in Tamworth.

Matt Robinson (unused): Stayed with the Town until August 2016, as he made 57 appearances, scoring three times. Was loaned to Kidderminster, Grimsby and Woking during his time with Luton, before also linking up with Still at Dagenham & Redbridge, where he has played 35 games so far.

Scott Rendell (replaced Shaw on 74mins): Timed his run perfectly to score that famous goal, one of 12 strikes while at Kenilworth Road in 46 games

Left in September of the same year for Woking, where he bagged 43 goals in 76 games, returning to old club Aldershot in July 2016 and has got four goals this term for the National League promotion chasers.

Stuart Fleetwood (replaced Gray on 75mins): As his fellow subs did, played an integral part in the goal, releasing O’Donnell to set up Rendell for the winner.

Was also released in the summer after scoring 27 goals in 88 games, as he has played for Eastleigh, Sutton United, Bath City, Weymouth, Merthyr and most recently Redditch United, signing last month.

Adam Watkins (unused): Allowed to leave at the end of the season after playing 58 times and scoring nine goals, as he went to Dunstable, Bedford Town, Royston Town and now plays for Chesham United.

Manager, Paul Buckle: Suddenly left Luton before an away game at Macclesfield, just under a month after the cup success, to head to America.

Although returned for brief spell in charge of Cheltenham Town, he then headed back to the States and is now head coach and technical director of Sacramento Republic.