Rooney sends Hatters into round three

Luke Wilkinson goes close
Luke Wilkinson goes close

FA Cup second round replay: Luton Town 1 Bury 0

Luton Town set up an FA Cup third round tie at Cambridge United after edging out League Two rivals Bury in a second round replay at Kenilworth Road this evening.

The only goal of the game came moments into the second half when the recalled Luke Rooney’s cross deceived keeper Shwan Jalal and curled into the bottom corner.

Bury missed a superb change to force extra time, as unlike at Gigg Lane over a week ago, this time they failed to net an injury-time leveller with an unmarked Nathan Cameron heading straight at Mark Tyler.

Rooney was one of two changes to the side beaten 3-0 at Morecambe on Saturday. He came in for his first start since September 6, while Scott Griffiths returned, with Steve McNulty suspended and Jake Howells dropped to the bench.

Luton swapped to a 4-3-3 formation with Shaun Whalley and Rooney either side of Mark Cullen.

A quiet opening period saw Town come closest on 13 minutes when Fraser Franks’ header from Andy Drury’s corner was deflected on to the outside of the post.

Rooney and Whalley showed promise in fits and starts, with Rooney’s cross cleared behind, while Whalley was hauled down by Cameron just outside the box.

The winger was then obstructed once more and from Drury’s delivery, Luke Wilkinson nodded over.

Some trickery from Rooney almost led to an opener on the half hour as his shot looked goalbound, only for Cullen to intervene and head wide.

Town’s leading marksman was then a whisker away with his low drive after a quick break involving Whalley and Drury.

Moments before half time, Mayor went close with an audacious backheel into the side-netting.

After a first half bereft of any real chances, the hosts then went ahead when Rooney’s cross, intended for Cullen, nestled in the far corner, with Jalal rooted to the spot.

With the deadlock broken, Luton finally started to find a modicum of space as Smith fired over, before Drury teed up Whalley and his dink was just beyond Cullen, who needed treatment after clattering into the post.

The striker dusted himself down though and almost notched moments later, taking Rooney’s pass and sending a low drive that was deflected inches wide.

Centre half Franks made a superb interception to stop Andrew Tutte levelling the tie.

Somehow Luton didn’t have a second when Wilkinson nodded Drury’s free kick across goal and Griffiths’ volley was repelled by a superb reflex save from Jalal, with Cameron sliding the loose ball off the line.

Bury could and showed have forced an extra 30 minutes, only for Cameron to fluff his lines.

Town can now put the Cup to one side and look forward to welcoming Newport County, who will be without suspended ex-Hatter Aaron O’Connor, in League Two this weekend.

Hatters: Mark Tyler, Michael Harriman, Fraser Franks, Luke Wilkinson, Scott Griffiths, Jonathan Smith (C), Nathan Doyle, Andy Drury (Jake Howells 79), Shaun Whalley (Matt Robinson 84), Luke Rooney, Mark Cullen (Ross Lafayette 79).

Subs not used: Elliot Justham, Jim Stevenson, Ricky Miller, Alex Lacey.

Shakers: Shwan Jalal, Jim McNulty (C), Andrew Tutte (Craig Jones 70), Kelvin Etuhu, Nicky Adams, Danny Mayor, Ryan Lowe, Keil O’Brien (Danny Rose 78), Daniel Nardiello (Hallam Hope 58), Tom Soares, Nathan Cameron.

Subs not used: Chris Hussey, Chris Sedgwick, Hayden White, Robert Lainton.

Referee: Oliver Langford.

Booked: Cameron 68.

Attendance: 2,923 (Bury 182).

Hatters MOM: Nathan Doyle. Calmness personified all evening and used the ball magnificently too.

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