The Hatters endured a difficult afternoon as they fell to a disappointing defeat in South Wales.
Manager Nathan Jones made one change from Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Birmingham City in midweek, bringing in Ryan Tunnicliffe in the place of Elliott Lee.
Three minutes in and Cardiff took an early lead through Sean Morrison. Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson’s in-swinging corner found Cardiff’s skipper as he tapped in from close range having lost his marker at the back-post.
Five minutes later and Cardiff doubled their advantage in disappointing fashion for the Hatters. Wilson’s fellow Liverpool loanee Sheyi Ojo turned provider this time, charging down the left flank and delivering into Mark Harris, who finished low to Simon Sluga’s right.
A difficult opening ten minutes for Luton as they found themselves with a mountain to climb early on.
Despite the score line, the Town responded well, coming close to halving the deficit within minutes of Cardiff’s second. Tuesday night’s man-of-the-match Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall released Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu beyond the Cardiff back-four, only for his left-footed effort to go just wide of Smithies’ right post.
Luton continued to respond well to the early setbacks, but it was Cardiff who almost added a third with successive chances before half-time.
Sluga slipped whilst receiving a back pass from Sonny Bradley allowing scorer Mark Harris to collect and cut-in on his right, but Town’s record signing stood strong to deny the Bluebirds a third, before also denying Keiffer Moore after he was released through on goal.
Nathan Jones made two changes before the half-time break, introducing summer signing Sam Nombe for his Luton debut alongside James Bree in place of Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu and Luke Berry, switching to a back three as the Hatters went in at half-time trailing by two goals.
The second-half started with both sides holding firm, however Cardiff continued to threaten from dead-ball situations. Joe Ralls headed wide following a long throw into the box, with Moore also missing the target from a corner shortly after. Fifteen minutes in and the Hatters were punished from a set-piece, once again failing to deal with a Wilson in-swinging corner allowing Welsh international Moore to head home for his fifth of the season.
The Bluebirds almost made it four after catching Luton out with a short free-kick down the right, but Ojo’s header from inside the six-yard box drifted over the bar.
Eight minutes from time and Ojo had his goal as the Hatters were once again punished from a Cardiff set-piece. Rea’s clearance only went as far as the on-loan Liverpool man on the edge of the box, who took a touch and fired low into the far corner past Sluga.
The Hatters almost found a late consolation after Joe Morrell drove forward and fired against the post from outside the box, whilst Glen Rea also fired over after great work from James Collins and Elliott Lee.
Luton are back in action on Wednesday night against league leaders Norwich and will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing ninety minutes in South Wales.
Town: Sluga, Tunnicliffe (Lockyer 71), Bradley (C), Pearson, Cornick (Lee 60), Berry (Bree 42), Rea, Mpanzu (Nombe 42), Collins, Dewsbury-Hall (Morrell 71), Norrington-Davies
Subs not used: Shea, Cranie, Moncur, Clark
Cardiff City: Smithies, Bacuna, Morrison, Nelson, Bennett, Vaulks, Ralls (Pack 67), Wilson (Whyte 76), Ojo (Murphy 85), Harris (Hoilett 76), Moore (Glatzel 67)
Subs not used: Phillips, Bamba, Bagan, Benkovic
Goals: Morrison (5), Harris (9), Moore (59), Ojo (82)