Our live updates failed for the second Tuesday running, our apologies once more. Below is our full report:
'Team Luton' earned a well-fought win against a decent Rushden and Diamonds side, with a clinical finish from the lively Robbie Willmott ensuring the Town returned to Bedfordshire with three points.
Hatters boss Richard Money had called for the lads to harness the fighting spirit evident in Saturday's gallant nine-man defeat to Mansfield, and Town didn't disappoint as a resilient performance from the goalkeeper and back four kept out the host's lively three-pronged front line.
Money made five changes to the team that battled through two hours of FA Trophy action at the weekend, with the suspended Claude Gnakpa and Alex Lawless replaced by Robbie Willmott and Paul Carden, and Luke Graham, Lloyd Owusu and Kevin Pilkington making way for Amari Morgan-Smith, Danny Crow and Mark Tyler.
There was an early warning for Money's men inside&nbsp;three minutes when Michael Gash turned on the edge of the area and laid the ball out wide for a Gary Mills cross, which was cleared only as far as Max Porter. The Diamonds captain broke through the midfield but his low shot from 25 yards was easily dealt with by Tyler.
The Hatters looked comfortable in defence as they eased their way into the game. The visitors came to life on nine minutes as Adam Newton worked well down the right hand side and put in a low cross which was only half dealt with by the Rushden back line, allowing Danny Crow to warm Joe Day's gloves in the Diamonds goal from 18 yards.
With little space in a congested midfield, both sides resorted to trading long balls in the early stages, and it was only a matter of time before a lapse in concentration would result in a goal-scoring opportunity.
It came for the Hatters when, in the 11th minute, George Pilkington played a long diagonal ball from the back, and as Willmott gave chase Rushden's Shane Huke scuttled back to intervene. His back pass was woefully under-hit, and Willmott had the pace to beat the onrushing goalkeeper Joe Day to the ball. His low finish found the net via the arm of the flailing Day.
The Diamonds rallied, and good work from Ryan Charles - playing on the left of the hosts' three man attack - created space for Alan Power to cross for Gash who headed into Tyler's arms. Then, after 34 minute a left wing corner was well cleared by Pilkington before the lurking Mills thrashed the loose ball high and wide of the goal from range.
Later Gash's flick-on looked to have let in former Hatter Charles before an excellent recovery tackle from Newton averted the danger.
Good interchange between Barnes-Homer and Willmott resulted in a right-sided corner for the Town on 39 minutes. Willmotts' drilled effort was cleared straight back out to the ex-Cambridge winger whose curling cross-cum-shot momentarily seemed to worry Day before spinning over the top of the Diamonds' crossbar.
On 43 minutes another diagonal ball from Pilkington again caused panic in the Rushden backline as Zdenek Kroca won an offensive header, knocking the ball down to Paul Carden, who brought the ball with his right foot before shooting wide of the post with the outside of his left.
Diamonds almost levelled on the stroke of half time as Charles beat Newton and put in a low cross for the left that caused chaos in the Hatters six-yard box; Gash couldn't react quick enough as the ball bounced off his shin and safely behind for a goal kick, meaning that Money's men came in for half-time with their noses in front.
Shortly after the restart, right-back Michael Corcoran found himself deep inside the Town half. He cut inside and unleashed a strong shot on the half-volley which was well saved by Day.
Referee Mike Bull had a quiet first half but was called into action five minutes after the restart, making two bookings within 60 seconds of each other. Rushden left-back Jamie Day badly mistimed a challenge on Keith Keane before Huke joined his team-mate in the book for scything down Willmott on the wing.
Mills then became the third Diamonds player to see yellow when he decked Willmott on the wing, the pacey youngster evidently causing panic in the Rushden ranks.
Money shuffled his pack just after the hour mark, replacing wide-man Amari Morgan-Smith with striker Jason Walker as Barnes-Homer moved out to the wing.
Diamonds midfielder Mills again tried to find his range on 66 minutes, picking up a clever training ground corner delivered outside the box, but he skewed his right-foot shot well wide of the post.
There was chaos in the hosts' box as Keane's hooked ball sent Jason Walker clear through on goal, but as he mis-controlled Oshodi scrambled back to hold him up. With the ball bouncing loose in the goalmouth, Crow lost his balance, allowing the Rushden keeper to scoop the ball clear as far as Willmott. The winger drilled in a right-foot strike from the edge of the area which bounced up off a defender and ballooned up towards the goal, and as Willmott tried to chase down his own shot, left-back Jamie Day managed to get back to head the ball out for a corner from right under his own crossbar.
With their tails up, Luton started to play some really neat stuff, and Howells, Willmott and Crow combined to work the ball into the box, only for Joe Day to smother the ball in the six-yard box.
The hosts responded when Gash unleashed a half-volley on the turn which looked a certain goal, with only a superb save from Tyler maintaining the Town's slender lead.
With quarter of an hour to go, Crow was taken off for Godfrey Poku to bolster the midfield, and as the game opened up more and more Jake Howells rushed forward to support Barnes-Homer and sent a firm right-footed pile-driver just over the bar.
In the dying minutes of the game Walker was active at both ends of the pitch, brilliantly playing in Howells for a one-two - appealing for a penalty as the return pass was intercepted - before popping up in his own area to block a goal-bound shot with his head.
On the 90 minute mark Barnes-Homer outpaced Corcoran on the left wing, but Walker couldn't quite control his inch-perfect through-ball.
Such profligacy in front of goal was unimportant in the end though, and as Money and his men applauded the impressive travelling support of 1,227 at the final whistle, the Town faithful vocally showed their support for three more well-earned points on the road.
Live from Nene Park
Rushden &amp; Diamonds 0
Luton Town 1 (Willmott 11)
62 mins - Half a sniff for the hosts from a corner whipped in from the right is headed goalwards by Oshodi but Tyler's there to a make a catch.
59 mins - Another man in the book for hosts as Mills gets his name taken for a foul on Crow.
57 mins - Rushden pressing but it's nothing the Town can't handle. Power, who has looked pretty decent for the hosts, goes close with a curling, swirling left foot shot from the edge of the area that he claims took a nick off a defender but the ref doesn't agree signals for a goal kick.
53 mins - Captain Pilkington again to the rescue as he firstly blocks another shot from Power before doing even better to head clear the resulting corner.
50 mins - And he's quickly followed by team-mate Huke as he dangerously meets Willmott, which narks most of the Hatters players and supporters. Rushden then race up the other end with a right-wing raid but great defending from Howells enables Tyler to gather.
49 mins - First man in the book and it's a Rushden man as Jamie Day goes in Keane.
47 mins - Shot for Tyler to deal with two minutes in the second half a Corcoran takes&nbsp; pass on the right-hand edge of the penalty area, cuts inside Howells before sending a curling shot goalwards that the Town stopper has to get down to keep out.
46 mins Annnd we're off again as the Hatters begin the second half shooting now towards their support packed out behind the goal.
HALF-TIME Referee Bull calls time on the first half here at Nene Park and the Town have the lead thanks to Robbie Willmott's second goal since arriving from Cambridge. More to come in the second half. COYH.
45 mins +1 - Almost a chance for Diamonds to grab a leveller before the break as Charles races down the left and sends in&nbsp;a low cross that Pilkington clears but it comes off Gash standing a yard away and behind for a goal-kick.
45 mins - A minimum of one minute has been added here until the break.
44 mins - High fives and slaps on the back a plenty for Kroca as he does well to get his head on a dinked Power free-kick into the mix to concede a corner with a whole host of Diamonds' players sniffing for a chance.
43 mins - Sustained pressure from the Town and it results in Carden sending a left-foot shot well wide after Kroca and Barnes-Homer had done well to win back possession.
40 mins - It's taken 40 minutes but the Town have their first corner...from which...nothing happens.
37 mins - More good defending, this time from Newton, as he mops up well as Gash's flick-on almost causes panic in the Hatters defence.
35 mins - Fantastic defensive header from Pilkington prevents Power's inswinging corner from the left causing the Town problems but the ball is eventually worked out to Mills 25 yards out who tries his luck from 30 yards with a first time shot that flies over the crossbar.
33 mins&nbsp;- Good link-up between Morgan-Smith and Willmott the goalscorer but although nothing comes of it and Rushden clear their creativity is applauded by the visiting support.
32 mins - Another free-kick on the edge of the box for the Hatters to deal with. Corcoran steps up to rifle it goalwards but rebounds off the Town wall and away for a corner.
30 mins&nbsp;- Five minutes without an update. Apologies. No internet issue this Tuesday night thank goodness, just not a lot happening. The Town are playing some good stuff when they have the ball and looks a real threat on the break with the pace of Morgan-Smith and Willmott.
25 mins - Work for Day between the sticks to deal with as Willmott fires in a low free-kick aimed for the near post that snakes through the legs of four or five players. Seeing it late, the home keeper holds on.
22 mins - Pressure from Diamonds but it's nothing to worry about as firstly a Gash header is off target before Mills surge into the box down the right only results in the ball eluding everyone in the penalty area including Charles at the back post.
18 mins - Back come Diamonds again, this time from a set-piece from 25 yards. Up steps Power, who curls it over the wall but it's straight down Tyler's throat.
16 mins - Penalty? Morgan-Smith breaks down the left and just outside the box looks as though he's fouled but the ref isn't interested in the Town's protests. Nowt given.
13 mins - Half a chance for the hosts to restore parity as Power powers through but his shot isn't great and the Town can clear.
11 mins &nbsp;GOOOOOAL! Rushden 0-1 TOWN&nbsp;- Oh dear well the Diamonds' number&nbsp;20 Shane Huke&nbsp;isn't like going to see the highlights of this. A ball over the top and it's Day versus Willmott. Both are quick and the Diamonds man is favourite but his poor backpass to Day hasn't got enough on it and leaves the Town winger through, his shot goes off the arm of the goalkeeper and rolls over the line. 1-0 get in!
8 mins - Still the Hatters press and good work down the right from Newton and Willmott sees the latter find Crow who looks up and belts a shot on the half-volley from the edge of the area that Joe Day in the home goal gets his body behind it for a simple take.
6 mins - Half a sniff for the Town as Morgan-Smith beats Corcoran to the ball and takes the ball into the left side of the penalty area but he loses the ball and it drifts behind for a corner. Rushden then break but Gash tries to ghost between two Hatters men but nothing comes of it.
3 mins - First sight of goal is for the Diamonds as it opens up for captain Max Porter who drives a shot goalwards from 20 yards that Tyler gets down to his right to keep out. Comfortable really for the Town stopper.
2 mins - The Town are lining-up with Tyler in goal, Newton at right back, Pilkington an Kroca centre-halfs, Howells left-back, Keane and Carden in central midfield, Willmott on the right, Morgan-Smith on the left and Crow and Barnes-Homer up top.
1 min Annnnd we're off as the hosts kick-off shooting towards the massed ranks of around 1,200 Town fans away to our left. Enjoy the updates.
19:40 HERE THEY COME
Out come the two sides onto the pitch, the Town in navy blue, Diamonds in their traditional white shirts and royal blue shorts.
19:35 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS
Andrew Barringer: 2-0 Luton, Matt Parsfield: 2-0 Luton, Chris Rivett: 2-1 Luton,&nbsp;Simon Pitts: 2-0 Luton, Ian Pearce: 1-1 draw, Mike Simmonds: 1-1 draw, Bill Cole: 2-1 Luton.
19:20 THE TEAMS
Hatters: Tyler, Keane, G. Pilkington,&nbsp;Newton, Morgan-Smith, Barnes-Homer, Willmott, Kroca, Howells, Carden, Crow.
Subs: K. Pilkington, Graham, J, Walker, D. Walker, Poku.
Rushden: Joe Day, Oshodi, Porter, Osano, Millws, Jamie Day, Power, Johnson, Charles, Huke, Gash.
Subs: Evans, Farrell, Keehan, Corocoran, Shariff.
19:15 FIVE CHANGES
Crow, Carden, Tyler, Morgan-Smith and Carden in. Teams to follow.
18:40 WE HAVE LIGHT
Floodlights now on here. Pitch looks in top nick here.
18:30 WEATHER WATCH
Mild spring evening here at Nene Park but the sun's gone in, it's a bit cloudy.
17:00 HERE ON IN
Still frustrated following Saturday's extra-time exit from the FA Trophy to Mansfield? Well snap out of it. Please.
There you go, I've said it.
And, in a roundabout way, Richard Money said that yesterday at his pre-match press conference.
"While we didn't try and lose on purpose in the early rounds the young boys did well it left us no option but to try and get to the final," he said. "If we'd got to the final we could have been faced with a game at Wembley in between two hugely important matches with promotion to the Football League at stake."
No longer will we refer to Saturday's departure from non-league's premier knockout competition as "cruel" or "heartbreaking". We're moving on and as the boss says "we've got bigger matches to come".
So very true.
The numbers are simple enough to follow: 12 games left, 36 points to play for, 14 behind the leaders with one game in hand.
Tonight the Hatters' will begin their objectives from here on in. Firstly, to win three points at Rushden &amp; Diamonds to cement that play-off position.
Secondly to try and claw back a Crawley team that, according to the league sponsors, have won the title already. My maths might be a bit rusty but I'm sure the Town can still total 102 points, but as I say my GSCE maths grade wasn't the best.
An impossible task? "Anything is achievable at this football club," Money said yesterday in another show of defiance.
It nearly came off in the face of adversity on Saturday when down to nine men in those 35 odd minutes against the Stags following the dismissals of Claude Gnakpa and Alex Lawless.
When the world seemed against them on Saturday the crowd and players responded, the manager's rallying call for mutual spirit still ringing in their ears.
For me, it was summed up perfectly a minute before half-time in extra-time.
Remember Danny Crow springing in the air to out-jump a man twice his size before sprinting after his own flick-on and blocking the ball out for a goal-kick to Mansfield? Remember the roar around Kenilworth Road afterwards?
That's the spirit. That's what we want. "On and off the pitch we need to continue that," Money said yesterday.
Things are never done the easy way here as 125 years of history tells us. 1,400 Town supporters at Nene Park will be thinking the same thing.
It's always been a rollercoaster, it always will be and we wouldn't want it any other way.
Well once more, as ever, win, lose or draw this evening lutontown.co.uk will be following every step of the way.
As usual we'll have all the goals and incidents as it happens live with the usual news in the run-up to kick-off with team line-ups and plenty of chat as your official website has, as ever, the usual updates keeping you bang up-to-date with all the action - and in a number of ways.
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