Match Report: Luton Town cap crazy week for the underdog

Norwich City 0 Luton Town 1: Paul Buckle’s side record the first FA Cup victory by a non-League side away to a top-flight team in 27 years as the hosts continue their worrying run of form

Carrow Road

Bradford City having redefined the art of the possible a few days ago, Luton Town duly became the first non-League team since Sutton United beat Coventry City in 1989 to knock top-tier opposition out of the FA Cup.

And the Conference side deserved it, too. Not so much on the balance of play, but on the thoroughly professional way they went about containing a much-changed Norwich team before a decisive break 10 minutes from time saw Scott Rendell – a footballing journeyman if ever there was one – prod J J O’Donnell’s cross past the City goalkeeper, Declan Rudd.

Norwich had their chances, though not many. Leon Barnett hit the post in the first half and Grant Holt, brought on at half-time, forced a fine reflex save from the Luton keeper, Mark Tyler, with a diving header, but otherwise the Canaries created remarkably little.

“It was an incredible performance by the players,” said the Luton manager, Paul Buckle, whose side were also the first from outside the League to knock out a top-flight team away from home since Altrincham beat Birmingham City in 1986. “The most pleasing thing for me was that we defended very well and carried a threat of our own throughout.

“We took great strength from beating Wolves [1-0] in the third round, we stuck to the same plan, we tried to deny them space, and the players got it right.”

City’s manager, Chris Hughton, whose starting XI featured a number of fringe players, defended his selection.

“Yes I made changes, but I made changes in the third round when we beat Peterborough with a very good performance. I have no regrets about the team I picked, they should have been good enough to win.

“Luton came with a gameplan, we found it very difficult to break them down, the good chances we had we didn’t put away, and they caught us with what I suppose was a classic counterattack.

“They’re a fit side, an organised side, and the one chance they had they put away. It’s going to be a tough few days for us, but all of that we’re going to have to take on the chin. We didn’t deserve to lose on the balance of play, but we’re in a downward spiral and we have to lift ourselves out of it, starting on Wednesday, when we plays Spurs here.”

Luton arrived in Norfolk in good shape, and not simply because they had lost just twice in their previous 14 matches. Hospitably, but perhaps just a touch mischievously, City’s rivals Ipswich Town had afforded Buckle’s squad two days’ run of their excellent training facilities.

That the game was a sell-out was a tribute to both Luton’s 4,000-strong travelling support – the largest number of away fans at Carrow Road this season – and to City’s policy of keeping prices low, with children getting in for just £1. Luton may not have been delighted about that, given it had a direct bearing on their share of the income, but it certainly helped the atmosphere.

Such has been the rapidity of Luton’s decline that it was only six years ago these sides met in the Championship, and judging by the opening exchanges yesterday, the different directions the clubs had travelled wasn’t going to be too much of a factor.

Both sides were playing 4-4-2, with Luton pressing higher up the pitch, and while the Norwich midfielders David Fox and Jonny Howson tried to spread the play, they were not helped by Hughton’s selection of Harry Kane up front. A 19-year-old forward on a season-long loan from Spurs, his movement was minimal.

Eventually Norwich started to hit long balls, hoping the pace of Simeon Jackson and Elliott Bennett might create an opportunity. It did so after half an hour but, from an angle, the forward’s shot was too close to Tyler, and Andrew Surman’s attempted follow-up was blocked.

The closest City came occurred shortly afterwards when Barnett, up for a corner – City’s first – headed against a post. The rebound appeared to hit Tyler and came desperately close to crossing the goalline before being scrambled clear.

Hughton replaced Kane with Grant Holt at half-time, and the  big striker looked certain to score when Jackson’s cross reached him at the far post, only for Tyler – who was born in Norwich and on the club’s books as a schoolboy – to make a fine reflex save from the diving header.

Luton never panicked, though,  and continued to offer a threat  themselves. Jon Shaw shot over from 20 yards, and Alex Lawless volleyed just wide when Rendell lifted the ball into the penalty area. Hughton threw on Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington in the hoping of  adding some creativity, but it was O’Donnell and Rendell who made the difference.

“We’d dearly love to get a Premier League club in the next round too,” said Buckle. “Hopefully it will give the squad some belief, because we weren’t hanging on. It was important to stay in the game, and we did that and slowly but surely worked our way into it.”

Norwich (4-4-2): Rudd; R Martin, R Bennett, Barnett,  Garrido; E Bennett (Hoolohan, 73), Fox, Howson, Surman (Pilkington, 73); Jackson, Kane (Holt, h-t).

Luton (4-4-2): Tyler; Henry, Kovacs, Rowe-Turner, Taylor; Lawless, Smith, Mendy (O’Donnell, 68), Howells; Gray (Fleetwood, 74), Shaw (Rendell, 74).

Referee: Andre Marriner

Man of the match: Tyler (Luton)

Match rating: 7/10

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past