Luton's late equaliser tightened their grip on a return to League Two and kept second-placed Cambridge United at bay.

Ryan Bird forced a fine reflex save from Hatters keeper Mark Tyler before Tom Elliott headed the hosts in front from Kevin Roberts's cross.

Luton, limited to long-distance efforts, looked to be heading for a first defeat in 27 league games.

But Mark Cullen guided in Cameron McGeehan's knockdown to maintain his side's lead at the top at 15 points.

The U's have a game in hand on their rivals, but they would now have to produce a miraculous end-of-season run-in if they were to surpass the leaders and continue Luton's five-year exile from the Football League.

Cambridge boss Richard Money was one of four managers to try to take the Hatters back up, and while he may have to settle for the play-offs with his U's side, he can be proud of how they restricted his former club.

Elliott's header past Tyler was the first time the Hatters defence had been breached in 563 minutes of league football, but John Still's men rallied in the closing minutes as Cullen put in their only meaningful chance.

Cambridge United boss Richard Money told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire:

"I think the most important thing for us tonight was to show some progress.

"We have to get back to where we were before Christmas. We know we have been very inconsistent, particularly in the league.

"We need to finish this season strongly and go into the play-offs hopefully with some momentum and form.

"That was a big step in the right direction. I thought the players were terrific tonight."

Luton manager John Still told BBC Three Counties Radio:

"We said before the game that without any shadow of a doubt this was going to be a massive, massive game, they were going to give it everything they'd got.

"Both defences were on top, there were, I think, three or four shots on target.

"We never stop, we never give up. I think in the last 10, 15 minutes we got our tempo to the game, which we hadn't been able to get and that's when we scored.

"All former Football League clubs are strong. They are a strong club, they are well run, they've got good players. We've got a very valuable point."

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (3)

Cambridge United

  • 13 Norris
  • 04 Coulson
  • 05 Bonner
  • 02 Roberts
  • 03 Taylor
  • 07 Donaldson Booked
  • 08 Champion
  • 18 Berry Booked
  • 25 Bird
  • 10 Elliott
  • 17 Hughes

Substitutes

  • 16 Austin
  • 14 Tait
  • 24 Arnold
  • 19 Sam-Yorke
  • 29 Gillies

Luton Town

  • 01 Tyler
  • 11 Howells Booked (Robinson - 71' )
  • 05 McNulty
  • 43 Ruddock Mpanzu (Parry - 80' )
  • 12 Griffiths
  • 02 Franks
  • 25 Henry
  • 19 McGeehan
  • 07 Lawless
  • 27 Gray (Cullen - 78' )
  • 26 Benson

Substitutes

  • 13 Cullen
  • 16 Justham
  • 14 Parry
  • 23 Robinson
  • 09 Shaw
Ref: Kevin Johnson
Att: 6,050

Match Stats

Shots

8 6

On target

2 1

Corners

0 0

Fouls

6 12

Live Text Commentary

+5:00 Full time

Full Time Match ends, Cambridge United 1, Luton Town 1.

90:00 +6:00 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Cambridge United 1, Luton Town 1.

89:58 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Cambridge United 1, Luton Town 1. Mark Cullen (Luton Town) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the top right corner. Assisted by Paul Benson with a headed pass.

89:58

Attempt blocked. Mark Cullen (Luton Town) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Ron Henry with a cross.

85:16

Attempt missed. Steve McNulty (Luton Town) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Alex Lawless.

84:49

Corner, Luton Town.

80:59

Foul by Fraser Franks (Luton Town).

80:59

Tom Elliott (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

79:46 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Luton Town. Andrew Parry replaces Pelly Ruddock.

77:17 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Luton Town. Mark Cullen replaces Andre Gray.

75:13

Attempt missed. Ron Henry (Luton Town) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

74:45

Corner, Luton Town.

73:57

Corner, Luton Town.

70:27 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Luton Town. Matt Robinson replaces Jake Howells.

69:51 Booking

Booking Ryan Donaldson (Cambridge United) is shown the yellow card for dissent.

69:39

Offside, Luton Town. Paul Benson tries a through ball, but Paul Benson is caught offside.

65:17

Foul by Pelly Ruddock (Luton Town).

65:17

Liam Hughes (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

61:01 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Cambridge United 1, Luton Town 0. Tom Elliott (Cambridge United) header from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kevin Roberts with a cross.

60:26

Foul by Alex Lawless (Luton Town).

60:26

Kevin Roberts (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

58:12

Foul by Ryan Donaldson (Cambridge United).

58:12

Scott Griffiths (Luton Town) wins a free kick.

57:40

Foul by Paul Benson (Luton Town).

57:40

Tom Champion (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

56:53

Foul by Ryan Bird (Cambridge United).

56:53

Scott Griffiths (Luton Town) wins a free kick.

53:40

Attempt missed. Ryan Donaldson (Cambridge United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

50:06

Foul by Tom Elliott (Cambridge United).

50:06

Steve McNulty (Luton Town) wins a free kick.

49:22

Foul by Cameron McGeehan (Luton Town).

49:22

Tom Elliott (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

48:43

Corner, Luton Town.

48:02

Corner, Luton Town.

46:52

Attempt missed. Ryan Bird (Cambridge United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

46:03

Foul by Cameron McGeehan (Luton Town).

46:03

Tom Champion (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

45:00

Second Half begins Cambridge United 0, Luton Town 0.

45:00 +1:03 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Cambridge United 0, Luton Town 0.

43:11

Attempt missed. Alex Lawless (Luton Town) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

41:02

Foul by Cameron McGeehan (Luton Town).

41:02

Ryan Bird (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

36:07 Booking

Booking Luke Berry (Cambridge United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

35:55

Foul by Luke Berry (Cambridge United).

35:55

Pelly Ruddock (Luton Town) wins a free kick.

34:29

Foul by Ron Henry (Luton Town).

34:29

Ryan Donaldson (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

29:44

Foul by Alex Lawless (Luton Town).

29:44

Luke Berry (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

29:04

Corner, Luton Town.

26:37

Attempt missed. Tom Elliott (Cambridge United) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the right.

25:45

Corner, Cambridge United.

23:56

Attempt missed. Tom Champion (Cambridge United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

23:13

Corner, Cambridge United.

21:42

Foul by Tom Bonner (Cambridge United).

21:42

Fraser Franks (Luton Town) wins a free kick.

21:26

Corner, Cambridge United.

20:59

Corner, Cambridge United.

19:57

Foul by Alex Lawless (Luton Town).

19:57

Luke Berry (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

18:33

Attempt missed. Tom Champion (Cambridge United) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is too high.

18:05

Corner, Cambridge United.

17:45

Attempt saved. Ryan Bird (Cambridge United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved.

14:59

Corner, Cambridge United.

13:46 Booking

Booking Jake Howells (Luton Town) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

13:22

Foul by Jake Howells (Luton Town).

13:22

Kevin Roberts (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

12:44

Foul by Andre Gray (Luton Town).

12:44

Greg Taylor (Cambridge United) wins a free kick.

11:48

Corner, Luton Town.

7:59

Attempt missed. Ryan Donaldson (Cambridge United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

7:13

Attempt missed. Andre Gray (Luton Town) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

3:28

Foul by Tom Elliott (Cambridge United).

3:28

Fraser Franks (Luton Town) wins a free kick.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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