Joseph Anang was Stevenage’s penalty hero in the Carabao Cup tie between two neighbours, as Luton Town could not find the net from twelve yards in a scintillating climax to an entertaining evening…
Alex Revell named two changes to his starting eleven from Saturday’s win against Barrow, with Elliott List and Charlie Carter earning their place in the side, while Chris Lines and Luke Norris dropped to the bench.
Ninety seconds into the game, the League Two underdogs had an early advantage through Elliott List. After picking the ball up deep inside the Stevenage half, Jake Reeves moved the ball forward to Elliot Osborne on the halfway line. With a quick turn, the pitch opened up for the Stevenage creator, and spotted the darting Elliott List run through the Luton defence.
Picked out perfectly, Osborne found List’s feet who, with his first touch, tapped it around the onrushing James Shea and slotted the ball home. Stevenage were ahead as The Lamex Stadium erupted!
A minute later, the score was level. Terence Vancooten’s late challenge on the corner of the Stevenage box earnt him a yellow card and Luton a tempting set-piece delivery. As the ball was whipped in, Cameron Jerome leapt highest and nodded the ball past Joseph Anang. A first five minutes fitting to the occasion.
After the opening few moments, both sides seemed to take a deep breath and relax themselves into the game. Henri Lansbury was occupying both Jake Reeves and Jake Taylor, while Elliott List and Jamie Reid continued to look a threat on the break.
Halfway through the first period, Stevenage began to tie several passes together and look after the ball in the middle of the park. After neat combination play from Charlie Carter, Elliot Osborne and Luther James-Wildin, the right-back earned Stevenage a free-kick twenty yards from goal after a late and reckless Henri Lansbury lunge. Suited to a left-footer, Ben Coker stood up to the plate before firing his effort through a blockade of bodies and past James Shea. Stevenage had regained their advantage, marginally deserved.
As the game looked to be sailing to a Stevenage lead at the break, Luton hit back to level emphatically. Ex-Leicester City forward Admiral Muskwe popped up unmarked inside the Boro box before firing past Joseph Anang.
An entertaining game, with another 45 to go.
Five minutes into the second half, Luton’s Admiral Muskwe weaved his way into the Stevenage box and past his marker – only to find Terence Vancooten in his way for a last-ditch block.
On the hour mark and either side of two Luton yellow cards for defenders Osho and Rea, Jake Taylor was close to firing the hosts into the lead. After a well executued string of passes around the Luton area, the ball fell to Taylor who unleashes an effort at goal. Luton’s defence did well to stand in the way of the shot and clear any danger.
With twenty minutes to go, Luke Norris and Chris Lines were introduced to freshen things up and offer a different dynamic to Stevenage’s style of play. The change allowed Charlie Carter to play in an advanced striker position, feeding off Norris’ hold up play. The change almost paid dividends immediately, after Jake Reeves cross found Carter inside the area – who headed straight at James Shea.
The change of style was evident, as five minutes later Stevenage had two efforts on goal from crosses. First Luke Norris and then Elliot Osborne, but Shea was equal to them both.
With fifteen minutes left to play, Jack Smith took to the field to replace Charlie Carter.
Luton had a golden chance to win it after Dion Pereira slid in Harry Cornick inside the Stevenage box, only for the Hatters’ forward to drag his effort thankfully wide.
As the clocked ticked towards the ninety, penalties loomed and it was Stevenage who looked happy to take their chance with spot kicks.
A late Peter Kioso strike and a Terence Vancooten clearance off the line was the closest the visitors got to a winner, but it was to be penalties to separate the two sides.
Taking place in front of the North Stand, Luton and Harry Cornick stepped up to take first. Fired low and wide to the goalkeeper’s right, West Ham loanee Joseph Anang got a hand to the ball to tip it wide.
It was Chris Lines up next with the chance to give Stevenage the advantage, and duly delivered.
Another Anang save from Mendes Gomes’ penalty followed, before Luther James-Wildin’s strike put Stevenage two up.
Dion Pereira then rocked up for the visitors, and the visitors again could not take their chance from twelve yards as the Luton substitute fired over.
The hero of the weekend Jake Reeves had the chance to be the hero for another day, and made not mistake from the spot to send Stevenage Football Club into the Second Round of the Carabao Cup.
The East Terrace, West Stand and North Stand was full to the brim of jubilation, exhilaration and animation as The Lamex Stadium experienced a third penalty shootout victory in a row, as well as a first victory over neighbours Luton Town since 2016.