Checkatrade Trophy, group F: AFC Wimbledon 1 Luton Town 2
A brace from Andrew Shinnie saw Luton Town finish top of Checkatrade Trophy group F with an impressive 2-1 win at League One AFC Wimbledon this evening.
The on-loan Birmingham City midfielder produced two efforts of unerring quality, both with his left foot, as the Hatters leapfrogged their opponents to ensure a home draw in the next stage.
Luton boss Nathan Jones made 10 changes for the contest, with only Glen Rea keeping his place, as he is suspended for Saturday’s FA Cup clash with Portsmouth, meaning starts for James Justin, Akin Famewo and Frankie Musonda, while youngster Drew Richardson was on the bench.
Striker Elliot Lee had a chance to impress too as he came close inside five minutes, taking Lawson D’Ath’s pass and seeing his shot deflected behind.
The Hatters then moved in front on 12 minutes when the ball was played into Shinnie and unmarked, he danced into the area, rifling the ball past Joe McDonnell for his first goal for the club.
However, Town’s lead lasted all of two minutes as home striker Lyle Taylor showed his predatory instincts to fire into the bottom corner from close range.
The hosts threatened again, Taylor bemusing Musonda and chipping narrowly over, while Callum Kennedy whizzed one off target from 25 yards.
Taylor was then withdrawn after struggling with a back injury, Town briefly coming to life with three minutes to go until half time, Lee rifling one into the stands.
After the break, there was precious little action of note in the opening 15 minutes, until Shinnie took matters into his own hands, letting fly from 22 yards only to see his rocket crash against the post and away.
That saw the visitors in the ascendancy once more, with McDonnell having to punch clear from Gambin, while the midfielder took aim again, his effort not troubling the keeper.
Stepping it up, Luton then had a second thanks to a goal of real quality on 72 minutes.
Firstly, Lee spun his man with a lovely turn in the area. He fed Gambin, who picked out Shinnie and the midfielder produced a classy low finish, side-footing into the bottom corner for his double.
The Hatters amlost wrapped the game up with 10 to go, Lee going alone and his low rasping drive didn’t miss the bottom corner by much.
Sub Luke Berry was unable to convert Gambin’s cross from inside the six yard box, while the midfielder then couldn’t beat McDonnell after his clearance fell to him 35 yards from goal.
However, Town had done enough and will now wait to see who they face in the next stage, due to be staged in December.
Dons: Joe McDonnell, Deji Oshilaja, Paul Robinson (C), Jon Meades (Alfie Egan 73), Toby Sibbick, Callum Kennedy, Jimmy Abdou, Anthony Hartigan, Harry Forrester (Andy Barcham 62), Lyle Taylor (Egli Kaja 40), Cody McDonald.
Subs not used: Nik Tzanev, George Francomb, Tom Soares, Paul Kalambayi.
Hatters: James Shea, James Justin, Jack Senior, Akin Famewo, Frankie Musonda, Glen Rea, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Luke Gambin, Andrew Shinnie (Luke Berry 80), Lawson D’Ath, Elliot Lee (Aaron Jarvis 83).
Subs not used: Harry Isted, Dan Potts, Olly Lee, Alan Sheehan, Drew Richardson.
Booked: D’Ath 60, Meades 62.
Referee: Gavin Ward.