Oldham Athletic’s FA Youth Cup journey came to an end at the fourth round stage as Luton Town ran out 1-0 winners at SportsDirect.com Park.
Cameron McJannet’s wonder strike minutes before half time won the game for the Hatters but it was a valiant attempt by the young Latics.
Jake Hargreaves and Alex Read had their best opportunities of the game but both were denied.
Luton Town now go on to face Preston North End in the fifth round of the competition.
It was a nervy start to the game as both sides felt their way into the game.
Rio Murray broke into the penalty area early into the game but was denied by the strong Luton Town defence.
Goalkeeper Chris Renshaw had to be alert minutes later as Freddie Hinds shot from close range but he saved well and the danger was cleared.
Latics were attacking well but struggling to force a clear cut opportunity on goal.
Good work on the left between Jake Hargreaves and Mason Fallon saw the latter overlap but his cross was turned behind for a corner.
From the resulting set piece, the goalkeeper punched Alex Read’s corner away confidently.
The Hatters almost took the lead on 15 minutes but the rapid pace of Kallum Mantack denied George Murray from converting after racing through one-on-one with Renshaw.
As the rain started pour over SportsDirect.com Park, the chances started to dry up for both sides enjoyed possession in the middle of the park.
On the half hour mark, Lee Knight’s long cross into the box was headed goalwards by striker Rio Murray but goalkeeper Liam Gooch saved.
Five minutes later came Latics’ best chance of the half. Read’s free kick into the box was not dealt with by the goalkeeper but the referee spotted a foul in front of goal.
Whilst Latics looked threatening going forward, they were caught with two minutes of the first half to go as Luton Town took the lead.
Read was booked for bringing down McJannet on the edge of the box, and the midfielder picked himself up to take the free kick.
He smashed the wall but the ball fell back to him on the volley and he thundered past Renshaw, who had no chance, to give the Hatters the lead going into the half time break.
Luton almost extended their lead after the break but Jack Snelus’ strike was saved by Renshaw.
Latics raced up the other end and almost had the chance to equalise as Ryan Leonard crossed to Hargreaves but the midfielder’s shot was just too high.
With Latics needing the equaliser, they broke from a Luton Town free kick on 55 minutes as Murray raced forwards but the visitors managed to clear.
Tony Philliskirk introduced Brendy Glackin into the attack, replacing Brad Kay and he added some pace to the forward line.
However, three minutes later, the Hatters won a penalty as Mason Fallon brought down Freddie Hinds in the box.
Atkinson stepped up to take but Renshaw guessed right and denied the midfielder from 12 yards.
Latics needed to build on that momentum but were finding clear cut goalscoring opportunities hard to come by as Luton’s defence stood resolutely.
It would be the Hatters who would go close again as Atkinson stuck over the bar from the edge of the box.
With ten minutes remaining, and time running out, Read tested the palms of the goalkeeper from 25 yards but he saved well.
Latics huffed and puffed for an equaliser but again it was the Luton that had the better of the opportunities.
Defender Akin Famewo’s strong header went over the bar but Latics broke forward and almost equalised in the dying minute.
Lee Knight cut inside from the left, shot goalwards forcing the goalkeeper to spill the ball but Leonard just could not forced the ball over the line.
That was the best it got for the young Latics as their journey in the FA Youth Cup finally came to an end.
Oldham Athletic: Renshaw, Mantack, Stott, King, Fallon, Knight, Read, Leonard, Hargreaves (Uche 74’), Kay (Glackin 60’), Murray.
Subs not used: O’Neill, Middleton, Brown.
Luton Town: Gooch, Bean, Famewo, McJannet, Murray, Justin, Hinds, Snelus, Atkinson, Musonda, Bakinson.
Subs not used: Gordon-Stearn, Shamola, McGhan-George, Verney, Brown
Goals: Oldham Athletic 0-1 Luton Town (McJannet 43’)