Luton will have to travel to Park View Road on Tuesday night to solve their FA Trophy first round clash with Welling after a dismal encounter at Kenilworth Road ended goalless.
Despite dominating the match, the Hatters’ finishing in front of goal was poor. The young and inexperienced Luton side only managed six hots on target throughout the match and failed to hit the mark on 16 occasions.
Luton’s best effort fell to JJ O’Donnell seven minutes from time as the youngster struck the woodwork with Welling failing to hit the target throughout the clash.
Despite sitting in a promising third position in the Blue Square Bet South, The Wings, who haven’t played a match since their visit to Farnborough last month due to the weather, have struggled financially off-field and the draw will go some way to paying back their supporters after fans rallied together to raise more than £60,000 that was needed after the club fell behind on their HM Revenue and Customs bill and was subsequently docked five points by the Football Conference.
It was the Hatters that started the brightest and within the opening five minutes Taiwo Ateino managed to get his right boot to Jake Howells’ chipped ball over the Welling defence, but the Kenyan international failed to keep his effort down and the ball sailed over Gareth Stewart’s goal. Moments later, Alex Lawless had his shot blocked by the Welling defence after the visitors failed to clear Jason Walker’s cross.
The two Walkers linked up well after 12 minutes after Jason beat Wing’s centre back Graham Andrews to Dan’s cross but the striker’s header failed to test Stewart and was well wide of the mark.
Despite Luton’s dominance in possession, neither team created any clear cut opportunities in the ten minutes that followed. The Hatters final ball into the box lacked the accuracy needed to penetrate the resilient Wings defence but the signs for a breakthrough looked positive with Dan Walker’s pace down the right and Howells regularly finding plenty of space down the left flank.
Welling in contrast, looked more than happy to sit back and soak up any pressure that Luton throw at them, hoping to catch the Hatters on the break but Mark Tyler, skippering the Hatters in the absence of George Pilkington, rarely had a save to make.
On the half hour, Lawless caught the Wings defence napping with a shot corner played in to Godfrey Poku who delayed his run into the box but the powerful midfielder got too much under his strike from just inside the penalty box and rifled his effort into row Z.
Welling finally mustered a shot on Tyler’s goal three minutes from the break after a mistake from Poku allowed Andy Pugh to try his luck from range but the striker’s shot was taken too hasty and was high, wide and of little threat.
Within seconds of the restart, the Hatters were nearly ahead but a fantastic reaction save was required from Stewart after Andy Sambrook headed Lawless’s cross towards his own goal but the Wings stopper managed to tip the danger over the bar.
As the Hatters started to get complacent, frustration was starting to grow among the Luton supporters with passes going astray and poor touches at from the strikers at the crucial moment. Dan Walker attempted to stop the rut just before the hour as he charged forward from just inside the Welling half and fired a low dirve narrowly wide of Stewart’s goal.
Luton were starting to create chances but were lacking ability in front of goal with Atieno missing a number of good chances. Firstly, a mix up at in the Wings defence set the striker racing one-on-one with Stewart but the forward somehow managed to steer his poking shot the wrong side of post and cause the groans of the Luton supporters increase in volume.
Atieno became even more unpopular seconds later. Despite brilliantly cutting inside his marker, the striker failed to hit the target again, dragging his effort wide of Stewart’s left post.
Then, five minutes later, JJ O’Donnell was in a fantastic position to score his first for the club, at the back post but the youngster blazed his effort over the bar from five yards. O’Donnell then came close to grabbing a vital winner, seven minutes from time, but Stewart somehow managed to get a finger to his low drive and turn the ball on to the right post.
LUTON TOWN: Tyler, Hinton, Atieno, Lawless, Howells, Asafu-Adjaye, Besta (O’Donnell, 60), J Walker, Lacey, Poku, D Walker
Unused subs: Gleeson, Barnes-Homer, Gnakpa, Crow
WELLING UNITED: Stewart, Coyle, Obersteller, Sambrook, Andrews, Parkinson, Fazakerley, Clarke, Cumbers, Pugh (Johnson, 80), Pires
Unused subs: Obamwonyi, Farrell, Wall, Acheampong
Referee: A. Davis
Attendance: 1,639 (179)