Ruddock Mpanzu 90
A last-minute equaliser from Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu earned the Hatters a point against Bury at Kenilworth Road.
The Town seemed set to lose for the third game in a row in front of their own supporters all in the space of a week after Danny Rose’s scrappy close range goal had given Bury the lead just after the hour.
But Ruddock had the last word with his third goal in Luton colours to salvage the Hatters a point at the death. It was a welcome relief to the home faithful who celebrated the Town’s first Football League goal at Kenilworth Road in five years.
The Hatters, who began showing one change to the side that lost at home to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday with Luke Rooney replacing Jake Howells, were under pressure for the majority of the first half which was dominated by the Shakers.
Yet despite their superiority with the ball, David Flitcroft’s side barely tested Mark Tyler in the Town goal. The Hatters stopped got down to deal with Rose’s daisycutter from the edge of the box shortly before the half-hour.
It wasn’t until the 41st-minute that the Town threatened the Bury goal when Luke Guttridge shot into the arms of Shakers stopper Rob Lainton after Rooney and Paul Benson had combined well on the edge of the penalty area.
After the break it was a different story. The Hatters began to boss things with Rooney the main tormentor-in-chief to the visitors, and he teed up Mark Cullen to fire a shot over the bar 30 seconds after the restart.
With the Hatters in the ascendancy and the home faithful behind their team, it was against the run of play that the visitors took the lead. Nicky Adams’ right-wing cross caused confusion in the Town six-yard box and Rose was on hand to nip between Stephen McNulty and Tyler to poke the Shakers in front.
That goal knocked the stuffing out of the Town as time began to tick down, but manager John Still made a double substitution with 15 minutes left, introducing Ruddock Mpanzu and Ross Lafayette, changing formation with three centre-halves and two wing-backs.
However, as the Hatters went in search of a late leveller, Tyler had to be alert to turn away a fierce shot from Bury’s David Tutte with two minutes to go.
But that saved proved vital as the Hatters grabbed an equaliser in the first minute of six additional minutes. Tyler’s ball down-field was helped on by Cullen and Ruddock Mpanzu was on hand to fire a deflected shot beyond Lainton.
Kenilworth Road erupted and, sensing a second goal the Town poured forward in search of a winner. Lafayette struck a low shot into the arms of Lainton on 93 minutes before Rooney danced from one side of the penalty area to the other but couldn’t pick out a team-mate when off balance in the very last seconds.