Abraham is Chelsea’s FA Cup hat-trick hero as the Londoners see off Luton 3-1 at Stamford Bridge
By Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea v Luton Town - FA Cup 4th Round
Tammy Abraham scored a hat-trick as Chelsea overcame the dogged resistance of Championship outfit Luton Town 3-1 at Stamford Bridge this afternoon to book a 5th round FA cup tie against Barnsley.
The South London striker eased the pressure mounting on head coach Frank Lampard but could have scored double the amount, such were the gilt-edged chances presented to him.
Timo Werner had a great opportunity to lift his flagging confidence but his penalty, with five minutes left on the clock, was well saved by Simon Sluga.
Kepa was at fault for Luton’s goal, that brought the tie back into contention at 2-1.
He somehow misjudged a scuffed effort by Jordan Clark and allowed the ball to slip past him.
The kick off was delayed by five minutes due to Luton’s team meeting overrunning.
Both sides took the opening period to adjust to the state of the cold, snowy pitch with the home side looking the more dangerous in attack.
Simon Sluga, in the Luton goal, did well to close down Tammy Abraham and hack the ball clear on seven minutes, but could do nothing on 11 minutes as the striker sliced home from just inside the Luton area, from Timo Werner’s byline pass. The German took advantage of a quick throw in to get ahead of his marker and race unchecked into the area.
Goal number two for the Camberwell-raised striker came on 17 minutes when he latched onto a simple Reece James cross to loop a regulation header over the prone goalkeeper from eight yards out.
Harry’s Cornick had a good chance on 20 minutes to nick a goal back. From a short corner the striker could only thump a powerful header over Kepa’s crossbar.
Sluga pulled off a smart save on 28 minutes after a quick break by the Blues saw the ball fed to Christian Pulisic. The American hit the ball sweetly, and goal-bound, but Sluga managed to get his foot to the ball and slice it to safety.
At the other end a minute later and Kepa allowed the Hatters back into the game when a basic first time scuffed shot, from eight yards out by Jordan Clark, somehow went past the Spain stopper ended up in the back of the net.
An edge of the area curler by Pulisic on 34 minutes inched over Sluga’s crossbar. Abraham missed the chance of his hat-trick a minute laster when he was a tad too late to a James cross, when a tap-in was on the offering.
Head Coach Frank Lampard made no changes at half-time, Within three minutes of the restart, Sluga was in action again, - hacking clear with his boot, a sliding shot by Pulisic from close range - after excellent set up play by Hakim Ziyech and James.
Mount was next up to shoot wildly as the Blues sought to kill the game off.
Kepa redeemed himself on 60 minutes when a James error allowed the visitors to break quickly. Cornick’s shot inside the Chelsea area, was parried away by then goalkeeper and cleared by Emerson.
With the Blues failing to add to their score, Lampard opted to replace Pulisic with Callum Hudson-Odoi on 70 minutes.
The winger’s first touch was a byline cross to Abraham, who should have buried a free header from six yards out.
But a minute later and Abraham didn’t disappoint as a swift break saw Hudson-Odoi touch the ball to Abraham and this time, he did tap in from close range to nab his hat-trick with 16 minutes left on the clock.
That was his final act as he was replaced by Olivier Giroud with Kai Havertz taking Ziyech’s place on the pitch.
Skipper Mount was next to have an nearly bath, Mateo Kovacic replacing him and taking the armband.
Within seconds, on 85 minutes, the Blues got a penalty when nClark bundled over Werner as he was about to round Sluga.
Up stepped Werner but Sluga anticipated the shot and angle and dived to his left and parried the ball away.
He may have a chance to redeem himself on Wednesday when the Blues face Wolves, at home in the Premier League.
It will be a much-changed side by the.
Chelsea: Kepa, Christensen, Abraham, Pulisic, Werner, Zouma, Mount, Ziyech, Gilmour, James, Emerson
Subs: Caballero, Rudiger, Jorginho, Kovacic, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Chilwell, Azpilicueta, Havertz
Luton Town: Sluga, Tunnicliffe, Bradley, Cornick, Lockyer, Rea, Mpanzu, Clark, Dewsbury-Hall, Naismith, Bree
Subs: Shea, Potts, berry, Hilton, Lee, Moncur, Lualua, Nombe
Referee: David Coote