Match report: Clinical Town claim convincing FA Cup victory over Luton
Grimsby Town booked their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup with a victory over Luton Town at Blundell Park.
Three first-half goals from Harry Clifton, Danilo Orsi and Danny Amos were enough to earn the Mariners’ place in the last 16 for the first time in more than two decades.
Paul Hurst made four changes from the side that recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory at Crewe Alexandra at the weekend, with Andy Smith, Kieran Green, Gavan Holohan and Orsi coming into the starting lineup.
It was the away side that started the game the slightly better side, pushing the Mariners back without creating any real chances.
But it was Town that opened the scoring on eight minutes through that man Clifton with the hosts’ first break forward. Orsi, leading the line, broke the offside trap and showed great composure to lay the ball into the midfielder, who smashed it through Ethan Hovarth’s legs and into the corner of the net.
That sent the volume levels at Blundell Park through the roof, as the goal clearly gave all those associated with the home side – who were pushing forward for a second – a lift.
After the opener clearly rocked the Hatters, they slowly started to regain their composure and put Town under some increased pressure. Elijah Adebayo found himself in acres of space at the back post, but he couldn’t quite guide the ball back to one of three or four of his teammates inside the six-yard box, with Niall Maher heading away the danger.
Some clinical play from the Mariners then saw them go two goals ahead through Orsi on 27 minutes. The forward picked up the ball inside the area, beat a Luton defender and smash the ball into the bottom corner.
The visitors tried to respond quickly and delivered a couple of dangerous balls into the box, but some expert, last-ditch defending from Town’s central defenders ensured the ball was cleared away from danger.
The Hatters had their biggest chance of the game on 38 minutes when the in-form Adebayo found himself free in front of goal after a pinpoint delivery from the right picked him out. Max Crocombe slipped as the striker went to head the ball towards goal but, luckily, he picked himself up just in time to save the ball with his feet.
Just before half-time, Amos then sent the Mariners into dreamland by adding a third goal, as his free-kick from the right bounced off the post and into the net.
The visitors started the second half the better of the two sides after making a couple of changes at the break. They went close to grabbing a goal back on 52 minutes through Cauley Woodrow, whose header from point-blank range looked destined to go in, but Crocombe made himself big to pull off a superb save.
The Town keeper then made another excellent stop down to his right to deny Luke Berry after the midfielder unleashed a fierce, curling effort from just outside of the area.
After making a couple of attacking changes on the hour mark, Luton continued to ramp up the pressure on the Mariners’ backline. A neat ball in from the right found substitute Carlton Morris free inside the box, but he couldn’t get enough power on his header to beat Crocombe from about 10 yards out.
It was another man off the bench for the Hatters that was next to go close on 67 minutes, as Jordan Clark picked up the ball outside of the box and fizzed an effort just wide of the post.
Town had a rare second-half chance on 73 minutes to grab a fourth through Morris at the back post, but he just guided his low effort past the post.
The visitors continued to largely dominate as injury time approached and they were almost provided with a lifeline with three minutes left on the clock when Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu found some space inside the box and he just skewed an effort wide.
The Mariners saw out the final stages of the game expertly well to preserve the clean sheet and book their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup.