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Luton see off Reading to book date with Manchester United

Barnsley v Luton Town – Sky Bet Championship – Oakwell
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Luton edged past Reading 1-0 in their all-Championship clash in the Carabao Cup second round at Madejski Stadium.

The Bedfordshire club’s reward in the third round is a home meeting with Manchester United – the Premier League side’s first involvement in the competition this season – on a date to be confirmed next week.

Luton began impressively and went ahead in the 24th minute when Jordan Clark guided in a clever far-post header.

In a drab affair, Reading showed little intention to force the issue in either half and Luton were able to safely hold on to their slender lead.

Each side had secured a 3-1 win in the first round, Reading over Colchester and Luton against Norwich.

And both opened their league campaign with away victories last Saturday, Reading 2-0 at Derby and Luton 1-0 at Barnsley.

From those starting line-ups, 20 changes were made by the respective managers Veljko Paunovic and Nathan Jones including Reading’s entire XI.

Luton made the brighter start, with George Moncur blazing over when well placed 25 yards out.

Danny Hylton then forced a save from home goalkeeper Luke Southwood with a powerful header from a James Bree cross.

Sonny Bradley also nodded straight at Southwood from a Bree corner when finding himself free at the far post.

Little was seen of the Reading attack, their mainly young side failing to provide first-team striker George Puscas with any meaningful service.

Luton deservedly went ahead midway through the first half following an excellent cross from Rhys Norrington-Davies.

Clark, making his first competitive start for Luton, rose unchallenged to send a looping header over the exposed Southwood.

Reading improved marginally before the break but had only Sam Baldock’s weak and misdirected shot to show for it.

Home boss Paunovic decided against using any substitutes at the interval but his team’s fortunes failed to improve.

Luton continued to press forward and were unfortunate not to extend their advantage when Reading defender Tom McIntyre almost sliced an Andrew Shinnie cross into his own net.

And Hylton should have done better than nod another dangerous Bree set-piece wastefully wide of the mark.

Reading replied on a rare break upfield but Baldock lost his composure at the vital moment and drove high over the crossbar from a Sone Aluko pass.

Baldock, released by Dejan Tetek, then drove straight at Luton keeper James Shea, who had been mostly unemployed throughout, from close range.

Luton were quick to respond and again could have stretched their lead, with a low Bree cross evading all of his team-mates in the home area.

Reading hardly threatened, though, and Luton held on comfortably to earn their third-round meeting with Manchester United.