Saturday, January 26, 2013
Norwich City became the first top-flight club for 27 years to go out of the FA Cup on their own ground against non-league opposition when they crashed out to Conference side Luton Town in front of a Carrow Road full house.
Scott Rendell struck the decisive goal 10 minutes from time when he turned in a cross from fellow substitute J J O’Donnell.
Premier League Norwich are 85 places above the Blue Square Premier team in the English football ladder, and it was a humiliating result for Chris Hughton and his team.
It made the Hatters the first non-league team to record an away win against a top-flight team in the FA Cup since Altrincham won at Birmingham in 1986, and the first to win home or away since Sutton beat Coventry in 1989.
It was also City’s first exit against a non-league side since they lost to Bedford Town in 1956.
Norwich-born goalkeeper Mark Tyler made vital saves from Simeon Jackson and Grant Holt, while defender Leon Barnett struck the post in the first half, and City might have had a penalty in stoppage time when Lathaniel Rowe-Turner handled in his own area, but the Canaries just did not do enough – and in the end even a replay proved beyond them.
City boss Chris Hughton made six changes after the 5-0 Premier League defeat at Liverpool.
Into the side came goalkeeper Declan Rudd, defender Leon Barnett, midfielders Jonny Howson and Andrew Surman and strikers Simeon Jackson and Harry Kane.
Mark Bunn, Michael Turner, Alex Tettey and Grant Holt dropped to the bench, while Bradley Johnson and Robert Snodgrass were rested completely.
Surman was making his first appearance for three months after recovering from a knee injury, while defender Steven Whittaker was back on the bench five weeks after his last appearance at West Bromwich Albion, when he suffered a hip injury.
The Hatters, backed by 4,000 travelling fans, fielded 10 of the side that beat Wolves 1-0 in the third round, with Jake Howells coming into the left side of midfield in preference to J J O’Donnell.
The Luton side included Norwich-born goalkeeper Mark Tyler, released by the Canaries as a youngster before spending 15 years with Peterborough.
In the opening seconds Barnett needed treatment after a bang on the head, but he was back on his feet and conceding the first corner in the fourth minute, Kane clearing at the near post from Howells’ kick.
The Hatters forced another corner on 12 minutes when Taylor’s shot was deflected wide, and the kick by Lawless was again cleared by Kane.
Luton continued to look bright and Lawless got the better of Garrido, but his cross was cut out by Ryan Bennett.
There was a bit more urgency from Norwich as Howson broke and found Surman on the left, but Jackson was unable to make anything of an indifferent cross.
Ryan Bennett had to be alert once again, heading clear after Shaw headed a cross from Howells into the danger area.
A foul by Smith on Kane gave City a welcome free-kick midway into the Luton half, but Fox’s kick gave Ryan Bennett little hope of making anything of it and Luton were able to clear.
City’s best chance yet came in the 28th minute when Elliott Bennett put Jackson away and Tyler made a fine save from the striker, with Surman’s follow-up effort blocked by Henry.
Norwich went close again on 32 minutes when Garrido sent Surman clear on the left and Kane met his cross with a low shot that Taylor managed to divert wide.
A Fox corner almost provided the opening goal as Barnett headed against the post and Lawless cleared off the line, and as Luton counter-attacked, Gray was claiming a penalty when he tangled with Howson, but rather optimistically with the initial contact outside the penalty area.
Things had certainly livened up and after Rowe-Turner blocked a shot by Kane, Russell Martin lobbed a follow-up effort just past the post.
• Half-time: Norwich City 0, Luton Town 0
From the restart, Holt replaced Kane for City, not a complete surprise as they looked for a bit more presence in attack.
But it was Luton who were first to show as Howells headed over from a Lawless cross.
Gray then brought Rudd into action with a shot from 20 yards but it lacked real power.
A touch from Holt set up Jackson for an overhead kick, with Tyler right behind it.
Elliott Bennett forced a corner but Fox’s kick was easily cleared, then Barnett was just unable to get on the end of a Surman cross.
Tyler made a great save from Holt’s header on 55 minutes to keep his side on terms as Jackson played the perfect cross into his skipper, with Rowe-Turner hammering the loose ball clear.
Kovacs volleyed a cross from Martin over his own bar as City stepped up the pressure.
Barnett denied Shaw with an important challenge as Luton continued to try to pose problems, then Tyler saved a curling effort from Surman.
Shaw floated a shot just off target as the Hatters threatened again.
With 68 minutes gone, Luton made a change with O’Donnell replacing Mendy.
Gray hooked a shot over the top following a free-kick as City stood flat-footed and Rudd had to remonstrate with his defenders.
Holt seemed lucky to get away with swinging his arm in the face of Kovacs, but City made two more changes as Hoolahan and Pilkington came on for Elliott Bennett and Surman.
Luton then swapped both strikers, with Rendell and Fleetwood replacing Shaw and Gray.
Pilkington headed over from a Garrido cross, but it was a poor effort, and Luton went closer when Lawless, whose goal knocked out Wolves, volleyed wide from a touch by Rendell.
But with 10 minutes left, a shock was on the cards as two of Luton’s substitutes combined to give them the lead and send 4,000 fans wild.
O’Donnell raced away on the left and crossed to the near post, where Rendell got ahead of Ryan Bennett to poke the ball home.
Russell Martin headed just wide from Holt’s cross as City looked for an equaliser.
Garrido blocked a drive from Lawless as the Hatters looked for a second.
City were desperate and Hoolahan was unable to turn a bobbling effort from Fox goalwards.
In stoppage time, Tyler punched away a Fox free-kick, and Luton had a lucky escape when Rowe-Turner clearly handled inside the penalty area but referee Marriner did not spot it.
• Norwich City: Rudd; Russell Martin, Barnett, Ryan Bennett, Garrido; Elliott Bennett (Hoolahan, 73), Fox, Howson, Surman (Pilkington, 73); Jackson, Kane (Holt, 45). Subs (not used): Bunn, Whittaker, Turner, Tettey.
• Luton Town: Tyler; Henry, Kovacs, Rowe-Turner, Taylor; Lawless, Smith, Mendy (O’Donnell, 68), Howells; Shaw (Rendell, 75). Gray (Fleetwood, 75). Subs (not used): Brill, Watkins, Dance, Robinson.
• Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
• Attendance: 26,521
• Goal: Luton: Rendell (80)