Roberto Di Matteo continues to search for his first win as Aston Villa manager having watched on as League Two side Luton overcame the Championship outfit with ease.
Despite dominating the early play and taking the lead through Jordan Ayew, a resurgent Hatters side fought back and ended up securing a 3-1 win thanks to goals from Jake Gray and Cam McGeehan, with Jores Okore also putting the ball through his own net to end the night in despair
The visitors looked as if they would run away with the game in the opening stages, dominating all the play and coming close to breaking the deadlock before Ayew finally did grab the opener; Jordan Amavi’s deflected cross struck the bar inside the opening 10 minutes.
Minutes later, a Ross McCormack corner caused chaos in the box, with Ayew impressively retaining possession in a group of Luton players. Last season’s top scorer created space for himself, and sent a strike towards goal which crept in at the far post.
It was a goal Villa more than deserved, and they continued to attack with abandon.
However, they failed to break down the Hatters’ back-line, and as the hosts weathered the storm, they started to grow into the game and show some attacking threat.
And it may have taken 35 minutes for them to register a clear attempt on goal, but Jake Gray was there to convert the rare chance and equalise the tie.
A great team move ended with Gray being fed the ball on the right side of the box, and with Amavi failing to cover in time, the 20-year-old sent the ball past Mark Bunn for his debut goal for the club he joined this summer.
With the bit between their teeth, the hosts came close to taking the lead in the period before half-time. One right wing cross was inches from being converted, whilst Jack Marriott forced a strong save from Bunn, but Villa managed to survive the onslaught to enter the break still level.
Marriot forced another save from Bunn seconds after kick-off, and the impressive Luton finally took a well-deserved lead less than 10 minutes into the period.
A quick break should have been finished off by Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, but courtesy of some shocking defending the ball fell to Cam McGeehan yards away from the goal, and he converted past the out-of-position Bunn.
New signing Aaron Tshibola came close to equalising for Villa on the 60 minute mark, but his low shot was impressively diverted wide of the post by goalkeeper Christian Walton; the crossbar was struck from the resultant corner, as luck continued to desert the visitors.
And it got even worse for Di Matteo, as Micah Richards fell over in his own area to create a crossing opportunity, from which Jores Okore sent the ball into his own net to extend Luton’s lead.
Marriot threatened again, but Luton had no need to score a fourth goal, and merely played around in the final third with the ball to frustrate Villa.
The visitors failed to threaten Walton’s goal again, and resigned to defeat with over 15 minutes remaining they ended the game with a whimper, to bow out of the EFL Cup at the first hurdle.
Full EFL Cup results:
Luton Town 3-1 Aston Villa
Burton Albion 3-2 Bury
Fleetwood Town 2-2 Leeds United (5-4 pens)
QPR 2-2 Swindon Town (4-2 pens)