LUTON TOWN - 1 (McGeehan 90+1)
STOKE CITY - 1 (Walters 67)
(FT: 1-1 AET, STOKE CITY WIN 8-7 ON PENALTIES)
STOKE CITY scraped through to the third round of the Capital One Cup after beating Luton Town on penalties at Kenilworth Round on Tuesday night.
The Potters dominated possession throughout the ninety minutes and took the lead midway into the second half through Jonathan Walters before the tie took a dramatic twist in stoppage time when Cameron McGeehan took the game to extra-time.
Geoff Cameron dispatched the decisive penalty in what was a long night in Bedfordshire to set up a tie with Championship side Fulham in the next round.
Mark Hughes made nine changes to the side that drew at Norwich City three days earlier with Shay Given, Phil Bardsley, Marc Wilson and Peter Crouch all being handed their first appearances of the season.
The biggest boost of the evening was the return of Bojan who made his first competitive senior start almost seven months after picking up a serious knee injury.
Erik Pieters and Marko Arnuatovic were the only survivors from the Potters’ draw at Carrow Road with Walters, Phlipp Wollscheid, stand-in captain Steve Sidwell and Stephen Ireland making up the rest of the starting line-up.
A minute’s silence was well respected by both sides before kick-off in memory of the tragic Shoreham air disaster.
The Potters were comfortable in possession and created the first chance on goal inside the opening 10 minutes through Arnautovic, whose shot on the edge of the box was straight down the throat of Elliot Justham in the Luton goal.
City debutant Given had to be alert just before the quarter-of-an-hour mark when the hosts threatened with a quick thinking free-kick in the centre circle.
Full-back Scott Griffiths burst forward down the left and was swiftly handed the ball but his dipping shot from range was tipped over by the Republic of Ireland shot-stopper.
Chances were slim for both sides until the 25th minute when a loose ball fell kindly for Walters.
The forward instinctively turned and unleashed a low drive just right of centre that zipped off the wet surface, but was equally matched by Justham who pushed the ball away from danger, before the resulting bak back in went for a goal kick.
As the half-hour mark approached, both sides mustered a couple of half chances but both Jonathan Smith and Bojan could only see their efforts go wide respectively.
Stoke were comfortable in possession, but rarely threatened the Hatters backline as the half petered out and both sides went into the break on level terms.
HT: LUTON TOWN 0-0 STOKE CITY
There were no changes for either side following the interval and it did not take Stoke much time to to threaten the Luton goal.
Crouch connected sweetly with Bojan’s cross from the right but his acrobatic effort from 15 yards went wide - with Walters inches away from pouncing on the initial strike.
The former England international was then inches away from breaking the deadlock minutes later when he met Walters’ hanging cross to the back post, but his downward header was superbly tipped behind by Justham at his near post.
City certainly upped their game following half-time and deservedly took the lead on 67 minutes through the hard working Walters.
He peeled off the last man on the edge of the area to meet Ireland’s drinking ball and neatly loop the ball over the charging Justham into the back of the net.
Luton immediately looked for a leveller straight from the kick-off as substitute Ryan Hall cut in-field to sting the gloves of Given with a left footed shot on the edge of the area.
The Hatters then came close on 80 minutes when Cameron McGeehan latched onto a knock down and whistled a shot into the side netting.
That chance gave the hosts a spring in their step, when just moments later McGeehan unleashed a venomous drive which was pushed away by Given. Hall was quickest to the rebound and his shot from the left of the area was once more thwarted by the Potters goalkeeper.
City were then dealt a major blow when the Hatters capitalised on their pressure to level matters in the first minute of injury time when McGeehan stabbed a low ball home at the back post to take the tie into extra-time.
Stoke looked to make up for that late Luton equaliser six minutes into extra-time when the impressive Walters turned on the edge of the box to hit a curling strike which was pushed into the path of Joselu by Justham.
The Spaniard was spared his blushes when he was judged to have been offside after missing the target with the goal gaping before him.
Luton almost took the lead moments later when goalscorer McGeehan found space on the left side of the area, opting to wrap his shot toward the near post and into the side netting.
As the tie entered the final 15 minutes of extra-time, both sets of players inevitably began to tire with a lack of chances being created.
Cameron surged forward from the centre circle but could only see his effort from 20-yards go over the crossbar before Diouf was judged to have handled Pieters’ free-kick at the back post in injury time meaning the tie would be decided on penalties.
The Potters won the toss, sending the spot-kicks in front of the travelling contingent. Both sides remained on level pegging, scoring all five penalties each.
The shoot-out went into sudden death, penalties six and seven were converted before Scott Griffiths smashed the crossbar for Luton meaning Cameron needed to score to send Stoke through.
The American had no problem from 18-yards, smashing the ball into the top corner and putting City through to the next round where they will face Fulham at Craven Cottage.
FT: LUTON TOWN 1-1 STOKE CITY (AET) STOKE CITY WIN 8-7 ON PENALTIES
LUTON TOWN XI: Justham; O’Donnell, Smith, Cuthbert, Green (McGeehan 60), Griffiths, Mpanzu (Hall 60), Lee, Mcquoid (Benson 71), O’Brien, Wilkinson. SUBS NOT USED: Tyler; McNulty, Guttridge, Mackail-Smith.
STOKE CITY XI: Given; Bardsley, Wollscheid, Wilson, Pieters; Sidwell, Ireland; Walters, Bojan (Cameron 86), Arnautovic (Diouf 96); Crouch (Joselu 63). SUBS NOT USED: Haugaard; v.Ginkel, Adam, Teixeira.
Bookings: Sidwell, Bardsley, Diouf.
Attendance: 6,099 (823 Stoke).