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The Hatters hit the woodwork in the first half and forced Cambridge goalkeeper Simon Brown into three vital saves in the second but could not break down their struggling hosts.
The Town, showing five changes from Sunday's FA Trophy semi-final first leg against Mansfield, started the brighter of the two sides but it wasn't until the 28th minute for either side to create a worthwhile chance and it almost saw the visitors take the lead.
Robbie Willmott, one of three former United men in the Hatters starting XI, whipped in a dangerous free-kick from the left that Zdenek Kroca met with a bullet header but the centre-half's effort cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and away to safety.
Cambridge slowly but surely worked their way back into the game and after Danny Crow headed wide on 33 minutes, Liam Hughes' daisycutter from the edge of the box two minutes later was saved by Mark Tyler.
Willmott's pace down both flanks were causing the hosts problems and he almost broke the deadlock on 38 minutes when Adam Newton, Crow and Lloyd Owusu set the winger up to flash a shot just wide of the post.
It was hearts in mouths time for the Town on 41 minutes when a Danny Wright header at the back-post rebounded off the crossbar and from five yards David Partridge slammed the ball over the crossbar with the goal gaping.
Two minutes later the U's should have been ahead when Wright strode clear of the Hatters defence but the home striker fluffed his lines when one-on-one with Tyler with a shot that bounced well wide.
Cambridge had the ball in the net in first half injury time when Luke Berry's stunning acrobatic overhead kick was disallowed for handball.
Richard Money made two changes at half-time with Newton and Paul Carden replaced by Claude Gnakpa and Alex Lawless.
Three minutes after the restart the Hatters were denied the lead by a fingertip save by Brown to deny Owusu's towering header from finding the net following Luke Graham's cross before Cambridge had the ball in the net for a second time on 55 minutes but Wright's tap-in was ruled out for a foul on Gnakpa.
Owusu spurned a chance he was gifted by the home defence on 66 minutes before Tyler came to the Town's rescue by stopping Jordan Patrick's low shot from creeping home.
Wright hit the side-netting on 74 minutes after a nice flowing move for the U's but the Town hit back with 15 minutes left on the clock when Brown saved Gnakpa's fierce shot.
Both sides went for the jugular in an end-to-end final 10 minutes but it was the Hatters who came the closest to finding a late winner when Keith Keane's drive from 12 yards with two minutes left.
For the first time in over two seasons we have failed to deliver full live minute-by-minute live updates. Our sincerley apologies.
We did continue the updates hoping normal service would resume but alas it wasn't to be...
Updates from 28 minutes onwards:
28 mins - CHANCE. And the Town should be ahead. The ref gives the Town a free-kick on the left-hand edge of the penalty area for handball.
Willmott floats in a great cross which Kroca gets his head to, rising above everyone in the box but the Czech's header hits the underside of the
crossbar. It's not over the line, no goal. 0-0 it remains.
30 mins - Cambridge are slowly working their way back into things here but despite a couple of off-target efforts, nothing is harming Tyler.
33 mins - Half a sniff for the Town as Willmott, now employed down the left flank, sends a teasing cross into the box that is met by Crow but
the striker's header is way off target.
35 mins - Back come Cambridge, they've got a bit more belief about them now as Liam Hughes picks the ball up 25 yards out, looks up and fires a
low shot that Tyler gets down to gather.
38 mins - Great play from the Town and it's almost 1-0. Crow and Owusu combine well to tee-up Newton who in turn pops the ball into the path of
Willmott, racing into the box to drill a low shot across the face of goal and out for a goal kick. Unlucky.
40 mins - Back come Cambridge and it's good defending from Newton that keeps the hosts at bay as Wellard had got into the box and beat Graham.
41 mins - Oooh, chance for the U's as from the resultant corner Wright gets up at the back post to send a header high into the night's sky. It
eventually flies down, hits the crossbar before David Partridge whacks the loose ball.
42 mins - All Cambridge now and the Town are let off the hook as Hughes mis-kicks the ball when pulling the trigger following Wellard's left-
43 mins - My, my, the hosts should be ahead. Wellard robs Carden in the middle of the park and sends Wright racing away ahead of Pilkington and
Kroca. He's clean through and only has Tyler to beat but slices his shot horribly wrong and the ball lands up high, wide and handsome. Most of
the home players have their hands on their heads.
45 mins - The ball is in the Hatters net but don't worry it won't count. The ball is whipped in from the right and is expertly finished by Luke
Berry but his bicycle kick is ruled out for handball. It was a terrific strike.
45 mins - We've got two added minutes to play at the end of this first half.
45 + 2 mins - Almost a sniff for the hosts in first half stoppage time. Kevin Roberts sends in a devilish cross from the right that Wright is
inches away from connecting to and the ball drops agonisingly the right side of the post for the Hatters.
20:36 TWO CHANGES
They'll be two substitutes on at half-time...Claude Gnakpa and Alex Lawless are striped and warming-up.
46 mins - Before Cambridge get us underway the Town make those two changes. It's Lawless and Claude for Newton and Carden.
46 mins - By the way, the attendance is 2,831 which includes 893 from Bedfordshire.
47 mins - That change in personnel at the break has seen Willmott stay on the left, Gnakpa on the right with Lawless joining Keane in the middle
of the park.
48 mins - Chance for the Hatters as Graham's right wing cross finds Owusu whose bullet header is tipped over by Simon Brown in the home goal.
From the resultant corner from Keane, Gnakpa gets up to plant a header on target but Brown is there to make the catch.
51 mins - Handbags that the ref has to deal as Gnakpa and Partridge go toe-to-toe after the latter fouls the former on the edge of the area.
It's a free-kick to the Town that Lawless curls in dangerously but Cambridge clear.
54 mins - Half a chance as Jordan Patrick - no, not that Jordan Patrick, slips Hughes in down the right hand channel but the striker slams the
ball into the side netting.
55 mins - Blimey, the ball is the Hatters net and whole ground thinks it's allowed...apart from one man...the linesman on this near touchline. A
free-kick from the left is flicked on and eventually forced home by Wright from close range but Gnakpa was fouled in the build up and it won't
count. Still goalless.
57 mins - Cambridge really up for this now, as are the locals. Willmott almost gets a sniff but is denied by tenacious play by Roberts, the U's
60 mins - Shot off target not troubling Tyler as Wellard tries his luck from 20 yards
63 mins - Third and final change for the Town as Matthew Barnes-Homer replaces Crow.
64 mins - Chance for the hosts and the deadlock is almost broken. Patrick races down the right and sends a low shot into the arms of Tyler. The
stopper, however, spills the ball at the feet of Berry who can't convert the loose ball.
66 mins - Oh, chance for Owusu as the Town break forward. It looks at first as though the chance is gone until Cambridge gift him the ball back
but the striker, who probably couldn't believe his luck, can only poke a shot wide.
72 mins - Two chances in the space of a minute for Gnakpa as he firstly dinks a shot into the arms of Brown before thumping a shot wide of the
post 30 seconds later.
74 mins - Decent stuff from the hosts as Wright again finds the side netting after latching onto a superb pass Hughes from the right.
75 mins - Back come the Town and Gnakpa, who has looked threatening since his introduction at the break, weaves his way into the box down the
right and stings Brown's finger with a low drive that is too hot for him to handle.
79 mins - Lovely stuff from the Hatters but, unfortunately, it comes to nothing. MBH finds Howells who sprays a lovely ball out to Lawless on
the right. He takes a touch inside and swiftly pings the ball out to Barnes-Homer with the outside of his foot but the striker's cross from the
left is blocked.
81 mins - Nine minutes to go and Cambridge make their first change bringing on Conal Platt for Wellard.
85 mins - Time ticking down, still goalless as the Town continue to press but as the ball falls to Barnes-Homer after Cambridge fail to clear,
the striker whacks the ball way over Brown's crossbar.
86 mins - Cambridge now fancy this and after Platt does well to find Wright, beating the offside trap, he tip-toes down the goalline, cuts back
inside and slams a shot wide.
88 mins - Owusu wins a corner the down left that eventually falls to Keane whose shot is blasted goalwards but Brown does well to beat away the
90 mins - Four added minutes to play for the Hatters to find a winner.
FULL-TIME - It's finished goalless.
11 mins&nbsp;- I'm always fearful of leaving you in the cold without an update for five or so minutes so, despite nothing of note happening on the pitch - which looks decent, by the way - I'd thought I'd just let you know I'm still here. Still 0-0.
7 mins - Town on top in these very early stages, Willmott has seen plenty of the ball down the right flank but neither goalkeeper has had a meaningful touch to make as yet.
4 mins - Pretty low key start here at the Abbey. The Town have sold 903 tickets in advance for this encounter and the rest of the ground looks pretty full.
2 mins - So the Hatters are lining-up with Tyler in goal, Graham at right-back, Howells at left-back, Kroca and Pilks centre half, Newton is on the left wing, Willmott on the right with Keane and Carden in the middle and Owusu and Crow up top.
1 min Annnnd we're off as the Town get this BSBP match underway kicking towards the home terrace away to our right. Enjoy the updates.
19:40 HERE THEY COME
Out come the two sides, the Town in navy, Cambridge in their traditional amber and black.
19:37 A MOUTHFUL
A good three-second pause from the PA annnouncer as he thinks about pronouncing Zdenek Kroca. He does alright to be fair and earns a cheer from the Town faithful. "Did I do okay with that?" he asks in response.
19:34 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS
Andrew Barringer: 2-0 Luton, Simon Pitts: 2-0 Luton, Ian Pearce: 3-1 Luton, Mike Simmonds: 2-1 Luton, Ian Ryan: 3-1 Luton, Bill Cole: 2-1 Luton.
19:27 EX U'S
No Dan Gleeson tonight but three former Cambridge men start for the Town tonight.
19:13 FULL TEAMS
Hatters: Tyler, Graham, G, Pilkington, Kroca, Howells, Newton, Keane, Carden, Willmott, Crow, Owusu.
Subs: K. Pilkington, Gnakpa, Barnes-Homer, Lawless, J. Walker.
Cambridge: Brown, Roberts, Jennings, Saah, Partridge, Wright, Wellard, Patrick, Bentley, Berry, Hughes.
Subs: Naisbitt, McAuley, Platt, Jeffers, Hudson.
Five changes for Town: Mark Tyler, Paul Carden, Adam Newton, Danny Crow and Robbie Willmott in for Claude Gnakpa, Matthew Barnes-Homer, Alex Lawless, Fred Murray and Kevin Pilkington. Full team to follow.
18:55 EVERYTIME, EVERYDAY
Simon Pitts believes for the first time that the Town have played on every day of the week this season. He's not sure if it's happened before, though.
Striker Lloyd Owusu on twitter: "Focused tonight need to put in a good shift in. Let's do this boys."
18:15 WEATHER WATCH
A bit gloomy in CB5, lit up by the huge Abbey Stadium floodlights.
17:00 BREAD AND BUTTER
With the frustration now doubt still in their minds that they failed to gain a first leg advantage despite creating the better chances at Mansfield on Sunday, the Hatters put their thoughts of glory in the FA Trophy to one side this evening as they return to their bread and butter.
Such a good phrase, is 'the bread and butter', used when of course referring to the league programme and number one priority for most clubs.
The Town make the short journey to the Abbey Stadium to resume their league programme just two days after narrowly losing at Field Mill, aiming to continue from where they left off in the Blue Square Bet Premier a week ago when comfortably despatching Tamworth at Kenilworth Road.
Boss Richard Money described tonight's game as "big". Both sides need the points and for very different reasons.
The U's lie just three points above the relegation zone having just won once in their last 12 matches. And that was against fellow strugglers and local rivals Histon.
We know why the Hatters need to bag three points. Nine points adrift of league leaders Crawley, Money's men know exactly what they have to do if they are to be crowned champions: keep winning.
With 13 games left to go anything is possible.
Doing things the easy way isn't the Luton Town way, is it?
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.
There's none of those boring ball-by-ball "defensive thrown-in taken by Luton left-back" updates as we continue to and bring you an updated and detailed text commentary. This is a great way to keep in touch and has been popular to those supporters not able to get to a computer or a radio as the service is also available and is updated live on our fantastic mobile site. Check it out if you're on the move @ http://mobile.lutontown.co.uk
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Following the final whistle we'll have all the reaction from the men that matter this after, bringing you exclusive video content from Richard Money and from the dressing room.
We'll have plenty of content to keep you interested as we'll have all of the post-match reaction from Richard as well as match action from Gareth Owen to follow after the final whistle. Be sure to check out www.hatterspics.co.uk - our online image library. Like a picture you see and fancy having that on a mug? Well, fancy no more - with Hatters Pics it's a reality.
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Enjoy the game.