A Cardiff City quickfire second half double proved the difference as the Hatters were defeated under lights at Kenilworth Road.
After an even opening period saw both sides draw blanks, Harry Wilson’s curling effort followed by Will Vaulks’ volley gave Luton a mountain to climb in the final 30 minutes.
With both managers picking physically strong lineups set pieces were always going to be important with Cardiff winning a series of free-kicks, corners and throw-ins in the opening minutes. After Josh Murphy’s cross from the left was turned behind by Sonny Bradley, the visitors had the first opportunity of the game after a corner was played straight to Will Vaulks on the edge of the box, but his shot was saved well by Simon Sluga.
In an opening 15 minutes where the Hatters struggled to retain possession, James Collins came close to opening the scoring for Luton. Tom Lockyer drove forwards from centre-back down the right flank, crossing to the back post where Collins stooped low but headed straight into the ground with the ball bouncing agonisingly over the bar.
Luton were forced into a change just thirty minutes in after an injury to Tom Lockyer, with the experienced Martin Cranie coming on to replace him.
In the closing stages of the half, a Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall in swinging free-kick found Danny Hylton who was unable to rise high enough to direct towards goal, with the Hatters going into the half-time break level in what was a fairly even opening 45 minutes.
Nathan Jones made one change at the break, with Luke Berry coming on to replace Matty Pearson.
Eight minutes into the second half and Harry Wilson gave the Bluebirds the lead. A long ball towards Aden Flint was knocked back into Wilson on the edge of box who emphatically curled home left footed to Sluga’s right despite the best efforts of Bradley.
A few minutes later and Wilson almost doubled Cardiff’s lead in similar fashion, unleashing another left footed effort from outside of the box but was this time denied brilliantly by Sluga.
Despite Sluga’s heroics Cardiff doubled their lead from the resulting corner after Potts’ clearance fell to Vaulks unmarked on the edge of the box, who volleyed home via a deflection off Bradley as the Hatters were hit with an undeserved second half double blow that left their chances of taking something from the game hanging by a thread.
The Town brought on Tom Ince and Harry Cornick in an attempt to salvage something from the game, and soon after Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu received the ball on two separate occasions in space on the edge of the box but was unable to hit the target.
In the closing minutes Cornick had a chance to halve the deficit after beating Curtis Nelson down the left flank before cutting in onto his right foot, but his shot deflected wide of the far post as the Hatters were unable to stage an unlikely fightback in the closing stages.
Luton travel to Stoke City on Saturday afternoon and will be looking to make amends after a disappointing home defeat.
Town: Sluga, Pearson (Berry 45), Lockyer (Cranie 29), Bradley (C), Potts, Naismith (Cornick 64), Rea, Dewsbury-Hall, Mpanzu, Collins (Adebayo 73), Hylton (Ince 64)
Cardiff: Phillips, Ng, Morrison (C), Flint, Nelson, Bennett, Vaulks, Pack, Wilson (Bacuna 76), Murphy (Bagan 76), Moore (Watters 74)
Goals: Wilson (53), Vaulks (57)