CITY were dumped out of the FA Cup in embarrassing fashion as they lost 1-0 at Carrow Road to non-leaguers Luton Town.
Luton were organised and resolute - and substitute Scott Rendell’s strike in the 80th minute punished the wayward Canaries for not taking a number of chances they had to get on the scoresheet themselves.
Leon Barnett hit the post, Luton ‘keeper Mark Tyler pulled off a great save to deny City sub Grant Holt and there were numerous other opportunities for Norwich.
But they simply didn’t take them and Rendell’s strike sent 4,000 Hatters fans home deservedly celebrating the first win by a non-league side over a top flight team in 24 years.
Before the game Hughton elected to field a side similar in turns of the changes made in the previous round’s victory over Peterborough United, the main difference being that on this occasion Harry Kane joined Simeon Jackson up front in a 4-4-2 formation.
The game got underway with the 4,000 Luton fans packed into the Jarrold Stand in good voice behind their heroes, victors of course over Championship side Wolves in the 3rd round.
City had plenty of possession in the opening period of the match but for all they passed the ball around well they failed to seriously threaten Luton ‘keeper Mark Tyler until the 27th minute.
The chance then came as Jackson used his pace well to get on to a ball over the top of the Hatters defence and at full stretch shot goalwars only to be denied by a good save from the Luton ‘keeper. The ball fell to Surman on the edge of the box, but his low drive was blocked and the danger passed.
Then in the 32nd minute they went close again, Garrido’s smart pass giving Surman the chance to whip in a dangerous ball from the left which Kane collected – but his low shot was toed wide of the post by a defender.
In the 41st minute Luton struugled to cope with a deep corner into the box and were relieved to see a header from Leon Barnett crash against the post as he rose above Tyler. The ball then struck Barnett again and moved towards the line but Taylor hacked it away under his own crossbar.
Right on the stroke of half-time Russ Martin hit a half-volley which dipped a foot wide of the far post.
Half-time: Norwich City 0, Luton Town 0
At the break Hughton made a change to his attacking line-up as Grant Holt came on for Kane.
Luton carved out their first shot on target in the 47th minute, Gray with a low effort from 22 yards which Rudd saved comfortably. City responded at the other end with an acrobatic effort from Jackson as he turned Holt’s knock-down goalwards but straight at Tyler.
In the 54th minute Luton were indebted to Tyler, who reacted brilliantly to parry Holt’s diving header from Jackson’s accurate chip.
As the game moved past the hour-mark still locked at 0-0, Surman curled an effort goalwards which Tyler saved while Luton responded with a Shaw chip which flew just over.
Luton made their first change in the 67th minute, as Mendy was replaced by O’Donnell. Five minutes later there was a double change for the Canaries as Hoolahan and Pilkington replaced Surman and Elliott Bennett.
A flurry of substitutions was then completed as Luton made a double change of their own, Fleetwood coming on for Gray and Rendell replacing Shaw.
And it was Rendell whose impact was to prove the most telling. First he put a great ball in for Lawless to hit agonisingly wide in the 79th minute.
But the Luton fans agony turned to ecstasy a minute later as Rendell was on hand to turn home the ball from close range after good work on the left from fellow sub O’Donnell.
Final score: Norwich City 0, Luton Town 1
Norwich City: Rudd, Martin (c), Howson, Jackson, Surman (Hoolahan 73), Fox, E.Bennett (Pilkington 73), Garrido, Barnett, R.Bennett, Kane (Holt 46). Subs not used: Bunn, Whittaker, Turner, Tettey.
Luton Town: Tyler, Rowe-Turner, Taylor, Kovacs, Lawless, Shaw (Rendell 75), Howells, Mendy (O’Donnell 67), Smith, Henry (c), Gray (Fleetwood 75). Subs not used: Brill, Watkins, Dance, Robinson.
Referee: Andre Marriner