Garry Haylock made just one forced change to the side that had played at AFC Wimbledon on New Year’s Day as Charlie Wassmer replaced the suspended Jamie Hand in the starting XI, his place on the bench being taken by Jack Pattison.
United started quickly and could have gone ahead as early as the third minute when Bradley Pritchard latched onto a Jake Hyde knock down only for his shot to swerve agonisingly wide of the far post as Luton keeper Mark Tyler scrambled across his goal.
Tyler was in action again shortly afterwards as Adam Green swung in a cross from the left that Andy Yiadom controlled on his chest before hitting a shot on the turn that the Luton stopper grabbed.
Luton started to find some forwards motion and a minute later Amari Morgan-Smith and Matthew Barnes-Homer combined to create a shooting chance for the latter but it was charged down by Charlie Wassmer on the edge of the box. A couple of minutes later, after Tyler had easily fielded a 30 yard Peter Holmes effort, it was Luton back on the attack as Danny Crow got his head to a Morgan-Smith centre but his header was far too high to cause any worry to Lee Harrison in the United goal.
Still within the first 15 minutes, United had another chance to break the deadlock as Wassmer got ahead of his marker to meet a Holmes free-kick but Tyler was equal to his effort and palmed the ball away. Play almost immediately switched to the other end, Barnes-Homer rose above both Lewis Ferrell and Adam Bygrave but could not keep his header down and it cleared the United crossbar.
On 20 minutes the visitors again needed the agility of Tyler to keep them level as Jake Hyde drew a full length diving save from the stopper having latched onto a Pritchard centre hitting a low shot on the turn having received the ball with his back to goal.
Morgan-Smith had a shot blocked and Crow again headed over before Harrison was tested for the first time in the game on 36 minutes, somewhat surprisingly by teammate Andy Yiadom who had headed a cross high in the air forcing his keeper to tip over.
Three minutes later United created the final chance, and one of the best, as Buchanan raced onto a throughball before picking out a surging Green on the left, unfortunately the defender rushed his shot and the strike went wide of the far post.
The second half started at a slower pace than the first and it was the visitors who gleaned the first opening as Crow raced onto a ball over the United defence, Harrison was quickly off his line to part block the striker and when the ball again ran loose to Crow it was a combination of Tom Cadmore and Bygrave that denied the striker a shot on goal.
Just after the hour mark Tyler fielded a Buchanan effort before at the other end Harrison was called on to push away a Morgan-Smith effort for a corner. The resultant kick was met by Zdenek Kroca but his header looped comfortably into Harrison’s arms.
As the high flying visitors continued to press forwards it looked more and more likely that they would score. Claude Gnakpa stooped to head a Jake Howells cross wide of the target before the same player was given space in the area to control the ball and despite the attentions of both Cadmore and Wassmer he managed to get off a shot that took a deflection before nestling in the back of the United net.
The final 15 minutes only saw a single chance of note for each side. For United, Buchanan sprayed the ball across the field to Green who took a touch before hitting a shot across the face of Tyler’s goal but just wide of the target.
At the other end Morgan-Smith should have sealed victory for his side a minute from time as he stooped to meet a Gnakpa cross just six yards from goal and headed wide.
Report by Kevin Watts.
United Man of the Match: Adam Bygrave.
Highlights courtesy of FC Video here.