The Hatters produced a superb performance to take West Ham United to penalties in the FA Youth Cup but were defeated in the shoot-out and suffered a third round exit.
After 120 minutes of pulsating action from two fully committed teams, Dan Walder’s side took their Category One opponents right to the wire in an entertaining contest that has drama right up until the last kick.
Under the lights at Kenilworth Road, a day after 1,000 fans entered the gates for the first time since late February to witness Town beat Norwich City 3-1 in the Sky Bet Championship, the Hammers made a blistering start and took the front with their first attack inside two minutes.
Kai Corbett curled in a free-kick from the right and Kamarai Simon-Swyer found the bottom corner with his well-directed header.
Luton almost hit back immediately after as Ben Stevens crossed brilliantly for Coree Wilson, but his powerful header cannoned off the crossbar.
The young Hatters grew in confidence as the game continued, before Jayden Fevrier struck a superb free-kick into the top corner from 25 yards for the away side.
It was, however, a minor set-back as the Hatters reduced the deficit with a goal of their own eight minutes later.
Wilson’s close range effort was blocked into the path of Tyrelle Newton, who blasted into the roof of the net from 12 yards.
Town equalised in magnificent fashion seven minutes before half-time to shock their opponents once more. Stevens picked up the ball in midfield and fired a tremendous shot in off the underside of the crossbar to level, which was no more than the home side deserved.
Jameson Horlick did well to keep the score level just after the hour mark after he denied Corbett one-on-one.
The ‘keeper then thwarted the West Ham forward again, this time from distance, before getting down well for a third time as Corbett darted into the box a minute later.
Town more than matched their opponents throughout the 90 minutes but as the game went into extra-time, the Hammers were quickest off the blocks and took the lead in the 92nd minute.
Favrier dispatched the ball high into the roof of the net past Horlick for his second of the game, a goal that seemed destined to be the winner, but Stevens had other ideas for Dan Walder’s side as he levelled the game once more towards the end of first-half extra time.
Josiah Ramsay struck a fierce effort goalwards that Kirsztian Hegyi could only stop with his chest, and the midfielder latched onto the loose ball and made no mistake from close range.
Both teams continued to battle right to the last despite weary legs and Luton thought they had snatched the win in the dying embers of extra time as substitute Tra Lucas’ headed goalwards, but Hegyi somehow managed to react and got down low to save.
West Ham held their nerve from 12 yards and were 4-2 victors in the shoot-out after Hegyi saved from Callum Nicolson and Ed McJannet, but the young Hatters can hold their heads high after a battling display.
Town: Horlick, Halsey, Francis, Ramsay, Swan (Tompkins 74); Pettit (C), Stevens, Newton (Lucas 68); Nicolson, McJannet, Wilson (Allen 68).
Subs not used: Bentley, Wedd, Corbit.
Goals: Newton (26), Stevens (38, 105+1)
West Ham: Hegyi, Thomas, Adebayo (C), Baptiste, Forbes, Potts (Earthy 114), Woods, Perkins (Mubama 67); Fevrier, Corbett (Kileba 109), Swyer.
Subs not used: Sanneh, Adu, Evans, Coddington.
Goals: Swyer (2) Fevrier (18,92)