Luton knocked out of the FA Cup by Premier League Cherries

FA Cup, third round: Bournemouth 4 Luton Town 0

Saturday, 4th January 2020, 7:29 pm
Updated Saturday, 4th January 2020, 7:40 pm
Lloyd Jones and Alan Sheehan get stuck in during this afternoon's FA Cup defeat at Bournemouth
Lloyd Jones and Alan Sheehan get stuck in during this afternoon's FA Cup defeat at Bournemouth

Luton's inability to take their chances came back to bite them yet again as they were dumped out of the FA Cup by Premier League Bournemouth this afternoon.

Trailing 1-0 early on to Philip Billing's early strike, the Hatters then fought back admirably in the first period, creating the two best opportunities.

However, Harry Cornick went clean through only to shoot straight at keeper Mark Travers, before Alan Sheehan saw his penalty strike the bar on the stroke of half time.

That then lead to the inevitable second period onslaught from the Cherries, who scored three goals in 15 minutes to seal an eventually comfortable passage into round four.

After a congested Christmas period, Town boss Graeme Jones made nine changes to his side, including handing a debut to defender Donervon Daniels, who had been on loan with League One Doncaster Rovers after signing in the summer.

Striker Elliot Lee returned for his first appearance since late September, with Glen Rea beginning a game for Luton for the first time since his serious knee injury in December 2018 while Harry Cornick was back to face the club where he started his career.

Simon Sluga, Glen Rea, Jacob Butterfield, Andrew Shinnie, George Moncur and Lloyd Jones also come in, with only Matty Pearson and Alan Sheehan keeping their places from the New Year's Day defeat at Millwall.

Sluga was called into action immediately, Dominic Solanke escaping the attentions of his defenders and the forward's shot was finger-tipped just wide by the Croatian international.

Bournemouth continued their excellent start, Diego Rico nutmegging Daniels, with his cross fired over the bar by Harry Wilson.

The hosts did have the goal their impressive opening deserved on just eight minutes when a cross was deflected into the path of Billing who fired his half volley into ground and beyond the reach of Sluga.

It looked like the Cherries made it 2-0 just 10 minutes later though when Solanke got in front of his defenders to meet a corner with a glancing header to beat Sluga.

However with boss Jones disbelieving his side had been beaten in such a manner, referee Darren England signalled for a VAR check, the goal eventually being chalked off for an offside against the lurking Wilson.

With 21 minutes gone, and out of nothing, the Hatters had a magnificent chance to draw level as Cornick intercepted Billing's ill-judged pass across his back-line to go clean through against his former side.

However, as he had done in the defeat to Preston recently, he was unable to find the net, Cherries keeper Mark Travers standing his ground to save well.

Town went close again with their best move of the match, when a wonderful ball out to Daniels saw him find Moncur who teed up Butterfield, the midfielder's rising effort clearing the bar.

With Luton now getting a foothold in the contest, Lee's half volley flew off target from the edge of the box, as the visitors continued to cause problems on their breaks forward.

The Hatters then had a glorious opportunity on the stroke of half time, when Pearson went over the Billing's trailing leg in the area.

After the VAR check, Sheehan stepped up, only to see his standing leg give way as he went to take the kick, firing against the bar.

In the second period, Wilson put a volley marginally wide, with Lee further away when an opening presented itself on the edge of the box.

Eddie Howe's side then had a great chance when Solanke split the visitors' defence to send Junior Stanislas away, who got far too much on his dink over Sluga, missing the target by some distance.

Town kept getting players forward in support of the tireless Cornick, Lee finding Moncur who sized up a curler that just didn't come down in time.

Wilson was proving the hosts main attacking outlet, one ambitious attempt from range seeing Sluga hold on.

With Town's players starting to tire, Jones had Luke Bolton and Luke Berry readied with the hosts' Callum Wilson to come on after 66 minutes, but while Howe gave the England striker his moment, Luton opted against making a change.

They were to regret it though as within 60 seconds of his introduction, Sheehan's poor touch was snapped up by Harry Wilson, who rounded Jones and picked out Callum Wilson, who fired past Sluga with his first touch.

With that went any real hope for the Hatters, as although they did bring on Bolton and Berry, with James Bree swiftly joining them, Bournemouth were clearly well in control.

They extended their advantage with 10 minutes left, Billing grabbing a second of the afternoon when his 25-yarder deflected off Daniels to leave Sluga wrong-footed.

It was to get even worse just moments later when Callum Wilson got clear on the left and his ball produced some pinball in the Town area, falling to Solanke, whose shot looked to be going wide, only to trickle in at the far post via Sluga's outstretched glove.

Cherries: Mark Travers, Simon Francis, Andrew Surman, Dominic Solanke, Junior Stanislas (Callum Wilson 66), Diego Rico (Steve Cook 78), Harry Wilson, Ryan Fraser (Alex Dobre 80), Jack Simpson, Philip Billing, Chris Mepham.

Subs not used: Aaron Ramsdale, Jefferson Lerma, Sam Surridge, Gavin Kilkenny.

Hatters: Simon Sluga, Matty Pearson, Alan Sheehan (C James Bree 78), Lloyd Jones, Donervon Daniels, Glen Rea, Jacob Butterfield (Luke Berry 68), Andrew Shinnie, George Moncur (Luke Bolton 68), Harry Cornick, Elliot Lee.

Subs not used: James Shea, James Collins, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu.

Booked: Billing 41, Jones 41.

Referee: Darren England.

Attendance: 10,064.