Kevin Nolan made one change to the side that beat Oxford City last weekend, Ameobi replacing the bench-bound Lewis Alessandra up front.
Notts made a strong start to the game, claiming the first chance when Ryan Yates latched on to Carl Dickinson’s cross to head the ball goalwards. Marek Stech made an acrobatic save to push it over. Yates had another sniff at goal from the subsequent corner, the ball falling at his feet six yards out. The Forest loanee couldn’t adjust his feet in time, however, and he could only send it wide. Notts kept up their dominance, forcing two chances for Jon Stead. The first saw the frontman collect Terry Hawkridge’s cross before holding off his defender and rolling the ball straight at Stech. Stead’s second opportunity came after he brilliantly outmuscled his marker to bring down the ball in the channel before cutting infield on his left foot. Stech was equal to his low shot. The Magpies were creating all the chances but, as each one passed them by, concerns grew that the table-topping hosts would find a way to swing the game in their favour. And, sure enough, minutes after Dickinson had been booked for a foul on the quick-footed Elliot Lee, the hosts took the lead with their first clear-cut chance of the match. It came from a corner, Mullins stealing in at the back post to head the ball home to give his side the lead. Undeterred, Notts pressed on and created an opportunity within a minute of the restart. Jorge Grant was the catalyst, brilliantly nutmegging a Luton man to give himself a shooting opportunity at an angle 22 yards out. He didn’t catch the ball cleanly, however, and Stech made a comfortable save. With half-time approaching, Dan Potts had to be on hand to deny Stead a free header, Dickinson fired a sweetly-struck long range effort straight at Stech and Yates sent a left-footed effort over from the edge of the area. But 1-0 was how it stayed going into the interval.
Both sides reemerged unchanged and Luton claimed the first chance of the half when Danny Hylton saw an effort excellently blocked by Matt Tootle. A minute later, after Jack Stacey had fired the ball into the side-netting for the hosts, Shaun Brisley joined Dickinson in the book for felling a Luton man on the edge of the area. But Notts soon regained their grip on the game, Grant nodding Tootle’s cross off-target before Yates’ low, side-footed effort from outside the area flashed just wide of the post. Those opportunities had served as a reminder of Notts’ threat, which eventually bore fruit just after the hour. Grant curled a deep free-kick into the area and Ameobi rose highest to flick the ball on, beating the stranded Stech before seeing it nestle in the net. It was now a fight to the finish and Stead became the next Notts name in the book for a foul on former Magpie Alan Sheehan. Grant’s neat footwork then came to the fore once more when he tricked his way into the area before seeing Stech hold his shot at the near post. Luton’s response saw Glen Rea turn the ball over from close-range shortly before Alessandra replaced Hawkridge down the right and Ameobi’s name was taken following an altercation with Sheehan. Time was ticking away for both sides and, shortly after Grant’s deft flick had been easily held by Stech, four minutes of added time were indicated. And Luton were left cursing Ross Fitzsimons when the Notts keeper raced off his line to make a superb sprawling stop to deny Potts after the ball had fallen to him at a corner.
Luton Town: Stech, Stacey, Mullins, Sheehan, Potts, Rea, Lee O, Berry, Shinnie (Gambin 83), Lee E (Collins 80), Hylton.
Notts County: Fitzimons, Tootle, Duffy, Brisley, Dickinson, Hawkridge (Alessandra 75), Yates, Hewitt, Grant, Ameobi, Stead (Smith 92).
Booked: Dickinson, Hewitt, Ameobi, Stead.