Embarrassing exit: Luton Town 3 – Aston Villa 1

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Last night’s trip to Kenilworth Road saw five-time EFL Cup winners Aston Villa knocked out of the competition at the first round stage by their League Two hosts.

It proved to be an embarrassing evening for Di Matteo and the 1,500 Villa fans who had made the journey to Luton in the hope of seeing the side record its first away win in just over a year.

The game started in scrappy fashion, with the visitors denied by the woodwork, hitting the crossbar and the post, and frustrated by the Hatters.

Hope was restored briefly when Ayew scuffed home into the bottom corner from a tricky angle after thirteen minutes.

A neat finish saw Gray equalise after thirty-five minutes. Conceding that goal left the already shaky Villans at sixes and sevens and the hosts were happy to take advantage of the wounded animals.

After the break, Hutton replaced Baker, who had been hit on the head, and McCormack made way for Gestede.

The Hatters went for the jugular, exploiting the Villans’ evident, and all too numerous, weaknesses.

When the ball rebounded off Bunn and Grealish in the fifty-third minute, McGeehan was on hand to put his team ahead with a simple tap in.

Gestede, an ineffective second half substitute, had an effort cleared off the line.

A low ball into the area caused problems for Bunn, who managed to deny Gray. However, the Villans’ misery was then only compounded after sixty-six minutes, when Okore, in a unbelievably poor attempt to clear the ball after a short corner, found the inside of Mark Bunn’s net and handed the victory to the Hatters.

Worryingly, there was very little fight from Di Matteo’s men for the remainder of the game.

Speaking post-match, Di Matteo bemoaned his players’ second half performance and emphasised the need to get back to basics, meaning Dr Tony Xia’s plans for European domination may have to be put on ice.

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