Luton stroll into FA Cup last-16 after win over Cambridge

Cambridge United v Luton Town – Emirates FA Cup – Fourth Round – Abbey Stadium
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Luton reached the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time in nine years with a 3-0 success at Cambridge.

There are 29 places between the sides and goals in the first quarter of the game from Reece Burke and Carlos Mendes Gomes ensured there was rarely much likelihood of League One Cambridge springing a surprise for the second successive round.

The home side were missing the presence of injured forward Joe Ironside, scorer of the winner in their famous triumph at Newcastle in the round three, as well as influential defender Jack Iredale.

Luton handed debuts to goalkeeper Jed Steer and impressive 21-year-old midfielder Elliot Thorpe among eight changes made by Nathan Jones from their midweek Championship win at Swansea.

The Championship side did not have to wait long before they went ahead, with Burke peeling away from his man to head Thorpe’s free-kick beyond Dimi Mitov in the Cambridge goal after 16 minutes.

The goal somewhat punctured the raucous atmosphere of the sold-out Abbey Stadium, with the home fans hoping to see more of the cup heroics they had witnessed at St James’ Park last month, and a second goal only six minutes later went a long way to settling the contest.

The experienced Cameron Jerome played the ball across the edge of the box to Mendes Gomes, who escaped the challenge of Harrison Dunk before drilling home low to Mitov’s left.

It was his first goal for the Hatters, his most recent goal being the Wembley penalty that secured Morecambe’s promotion to League One in the play-off final last May.

Luton were then able to control proceedings, and made it to half time with their two-goal lead intact. It wasn’t until 11 minutes after half time that a key chance arrived, but Tom Lockyer contrived to poke over the bar from a matter of yards out for the visitors.

Cambridge missed a huge chance to get back into the game on the hour when George Williams’ long ball ran through for James Brophy, who pulled the ball back to Sam Smith in a great position but the U’s forward could only drag his effort wide of the far post.

A triple change 16 minutes from the end helped the hosts pile the pressure on in the closing stages, with Steer saving well down low from one of the subs Ben Worman, before the game was sealed three minutes from the end.

Admiral Muskwe cut inside from the right before seeing his shot deflect past Mitov into the far corner.

Jones has guided his side into the last 16 for only the second time since Luton made the semi-finals back in 1993-94.

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