Luton Town 1 (Lawless 46)
Wolves crashed out of the FA Cup losing 1-0 at Conference League Luton Town. Following on from three successive League reversals, Wanderers still looked below their best and could have few complaints about the result.
There were two changes for the Molineux side with Jamie O’Hara, who was making his first start since March 2012, and Anthony Forde coming in for David Davis and Richard Stearman who were both named as substitutes.
Wolves kicked-off defending the end of the ground packed with 1,500 of their supporters but it was JJ. O’Donnell, for the non-League team, that got in the first goal attempt with a volley that sailed high over the bar after fifth minutes play.
From Carl Ikeme’s clearance Sylvan Ebanks-Blake’s flick put Kevin Doyle through on goal but the striker dragged a left-foot drive wide of the target.
The game was held up after a nasty clash of heads between Stephen Ward and Jon Shaw. After treatment, both returned to the field with their heads bandaged.
An excellent cross-field pass from O’Hara released Bakary Sako on the left and his centre looped up off a defender falling to Doyle who, with his back to goal, was wide as he attempted to flick the ball into the net with his heel.
A long Luton through ball skimmed off the head of Roger Johnson and fell nicely for one time Molineux Academy scholar Andree Gray who was clean through. But Ikeme wasted no time in narrowing the angle before blocking superbly to the relief of the fans packed behind him.
Gray then hassled former Luton man Kevin Foley off the ball and he raced into the left of the box before shooting high over the bar from an acute angle.
Town keeper Mark Tyler cut out a low, driven cross from Sako before a precision through ball from O’Hara presented Forde with a chance on the edge of the box but the young midfielder completely miss his kick.
Gray beat the offside trap and delivered a short cross that Christophe Berra did well to clear with Shaw only needing to tap-in had the Scot failed to get the ball away.
Ebanks-Blake took a return pass from Ward and cut into the box hitting a low cross that was turned behind by a defender. Tyler had two attempts at collecting Sako’s corner before the ball went behind for another. It was again taken by Sako and this time Johnson headed over.
In the 43rd minute, Doyle won the ball in his own half and sent Ebanks-Blake on a run down the left. His cross, another low one, was touched behind and from another Sako corner the ball appeared to take a deflection off a defender at the near post and Tyler made a brilliant reflex save to palm the ball over the bar.
Tyler performed heroics for his side once more in Wolves’ next attack. Another run and cross from Ebanks-Blake saw the ball played back into the path of Sako who put everything behind his shot only for the Town keeper to make another terrific save as he blocked.
Half-Time: Luton 0 Wolves 0
Wolves fell behind within a minute of the restart after Shaw’s cross flew across the face of goal and went out for a throw in on the far side. The throw went to Foley who miscued his clearance and when Gray and Berra went up for the ball, it broke nicely for Alex Lawless who ran in and volleyed home from just inside the box.
It could have been even worse two minutes later as a Shaw shot was blocked by Berra. O’Donnell came steaming in but sent the loose ball over the bar.
In the 53rd minute Berra was close to levelling things up with a header that hit the bar and went over after Doyle had crossed from the left.
Doyle was replaced shortly after he headed a Ward centre straight at Tyler. Jake Cassidy, newly returned from his loan spell at Tranmere, made his debut for Wanderers in Doyle’s place and Forde made way for Slawomir Peszko who had been out since October with a knee injury.
Just four minutes after his introduction, Peszko was yellow carded for a high kick that left O’Donnell in need of lengthy treatment before he was stretchered off wearing a neck brace. While the Luton man was being treated Davis was sent on in place of Foley.
Sako had a shot blocked after a cross from O’Hara, and then Ebanks-Blake was booked for a foul on Janos Kovacs.
A massive nine minutes of added time was signalled and after four of them Tyler saved his side from a replay when he tipped over a 25-yard piledriver from O’Hara.
Cassidy then had a shot blocked at close quarters by a defender after Johnson headed back Sako’s centre but that turned out to be the last opportunity for Wolves as the home supporters prepared to celebrate.
Town: Tyler, Kovacs, Rowe-Turner, Taylor, Lawless, Shaw, Mendy, O’Donnell (Fleetwood 77), Smith, R. Henry (capt), Gray (Rendell 90+1).
Unused subs: Lacey, Robinson, Woolley, Walker, Brill.
Booking: Tyler (90+7 – time wasting).
Wolves: Ikeme, Foley (Davis – 75), Ward, O’Hara, Berra, Johnson, Forde (Peszko 67), K. Henry (capt), Ebanks-Blake, Doyle (Cassidy 67), Sako.
Unused subs: Stearman, Pennant, De Vries, Margreitter.
Bookings: Peszko (71 – foul), Ebanks-Blake (88 – foul).
Referee: G. Eltringham.