The Hatters exited the Carabao Cup at Stevenage tonight, losing 3-0 on penalties after an entertaining 2-2 draw in which Cameron Jerome and Admiral Muskwe netted their first goals for the club to twice peg the League Two hosts back.
Manager Nathan Jones made ten changes from Saturday's Championship win over Peterborough, handing 19-year-old academy product Sam Beckwith his senior debut for the club at left-back.
Jerome was also making his competitive debut for the Hatters, whilst there were first starts in a Luton shirt for Henri Lansbury, Carlos Mendes Gomes and Muskwe.
Tom Lockyer was back from an injury lay-off to partner Gabe Osho in the centre of defence, whilst there were also inclusions for youngsters Avan Jones and Ed McJannet amongst the substitutes.
The hosts took a second-minute lead when Elliott List raced onto a ball over the top from Elliot Osborne, rounded James Shea and squeezed the ball home past Tom Lockyer on the line.
Town were level within three minutes when, after Carlos Mendes Gomes had been fouled on the left by Terence Vancooten, Henri Lansbury arced a free-kick towards the far post and Jerome got the faintest of touches to guide a header past Boro keeper Joseph Anang for his first goal in a Luton shirt.
It was a lively start, and Stevenage's tails were up. They were back in front in the 26th minute when Ben Coker's 20-yard free-kick was deflected past Shea by the unfortunate Sam Beckwith.
It was another full debut goal that brought the Hatters level for a second time five minutes before half-time, Lansbury and Elliot Lee combining to set Peter Kioso free to deliver the right-wing cross that Muskwe turned in at the near post.
Gabe Osho became the first Hatter into referee Gavin Ward's book for kicking the ball away, then Glen Rea quickly joined him for a foul on Jake Taylor, seconds after throwing himself in the way of a 25-yard piledriver from the Boro midfielder.
The second half proved to be something of a stalemate, Shea dealing comfortably with a couple of headers from Carter and List, before Jones withdrew the two goalscorers with just under 20 minutes to go and replaced them with Dion Pereira and Harry Cornick.
Seconds after Shea had claimed a header from Osborne at one end, Town broke down the left and Pereira slid a cross in for Cornick, only for the Town striker to be denied by a sliding challenge from his former captain Scott Cuthbert.
Pereira looked like being the man to unlock the Boro backline again with ten minutes to go, shaking off the challenge of Taylor and wriggling free of two other midfielders before slipping Cornick into the box, the forward dragging his shot across Anang and wide of the far post.
The Hatters were knocking on the door and Osho looped a header towards goal from Lansbury's 86th-minute corner, but Anang gathered comfortably, then Cornick went down under a challenge from Vancooten, ref Ward waving away any shouts for a penalty - mainly from the travelling Town fans behind the goal, it has to be said.
Kioso was next to have a go, sending a left-footed shot straight at Anang from outside the box, then the right-back and Campbell fashioned an opening for Cornick to fire across the six-yard box, Vancooten somehow managing to steer his clearance wide of the post and not into his own net.
It would end with a penalty shoot-out, with Cornick and Mendes Gomes seeing their penalties saved by Anang and Pereira clearing the bar with his effort, before Jake Reeves slammed in Stevenage's winner after Chris Lines and Luther James-Wildin had netted the two openers.
Goals: Boro - List 2, Coker 26
Town - Jerome 5, Muskwe 40
Boro: Lines + James-Wildin + Reeves +
Town: Cornick x Mendes Gomes x Pereira x