The Hatters hold The Sky Blues to a draw at Kenilworth Road.
Photos by club photographer Gareth Owen.
Jack Marriott scored a late equaliser and Scott Cuthbert was named man of the match in the first of three consecutive home friendlies. The home side looked well organised and comfortable for large portions of the match.
Kicking off towards the Oak Road end, Luton got the game underway starting with a strong 11 as manager John Still and his team work through their options for the start of the season. Elliott Justham started in goal as the team lined up in a 4-4-2 formation with O’Donnell, McNulty, Cuthbert and Potts at the back. In midfield, Lawless, McGeehan, Doyle and new signing Green started with Benson and Mackail-Smith up front.
The first half was a fairly cagey affair, with precious few clear-cut chances for either team. On 13 minutes, Phillips flashed a useful looking cross into the area, but the ball zipped out harmlessly.
The most noteable incident in the first half came on 20 minutes as Luton striker Paul Benson went up for a header with Reda Johnson and came off worst after a nasty clash of heads. Benson spent a minute or two on sitting by the sidelines with a cut to his head before being replaced by substitute Josh McQuoid.
Cameron McGeehan looked lively in the Luton midfield, switching around with Nathan Doyle, and linking up well with Danny Green. On a couple of occasions, McGeehan’s crosses looked like they might cause the Coventry keeper a problem, but came to nothing in the end. At the break the teams went in goalless.
Coventry came out looking hungry for goals at the start of the second half. The Sky Blues clearly stepped the pace up and on 46’ minute Justham had to make a deft save from Jim O’ Brien, tipping the ball around the post.
But shortly after, the pressure paid off for the visitors as a poor clearance from Luton resulted in James Maddison capitalising to put the visitors a goal up. Moments later another shot from Maddison came close to increasing the gap, but fortunately for the Hatters it went over the bar this time.
The Hatters responded well. McGeehan was replaced Jonathan Smith on 51 minutes, and a few moments later Mackail-Smith delivered a cross that was very close to being converted at the far post by the waiting McQuoid. On 60 minutes, John Still made a further 6 subs, bringing on Tyler, Griffiths, Guttridge, O’ Brien, Wilkinson and Ruddock Mpanzu with McNulty, Potts, Lawless, O’ Donnell, Green and Justham making way.
Following on from a fine performance against Thurrock, Ruddock Mpanzu looked a handful in the centre making some dangerous runs at the Coventry defence.
Mackail-Smith made way for Jack Marriott on 75 minutes, and a few minutes later, Ruddock Mpanzu headed onto the Luton newcomer to fire home his first home goal for the Hatters. And Marriott had another chance just before the final whistle as he made a dangerous run at the Sky Blue defence – his final shot not quite enough to trouble there keeper though.
Overall, this was an entertaining 1-1 draw and a fair result with both teams putting some good moves together especially in the second half. John Still’s side now look forward to the second home friendly, taking on Brentford of the Championship.