United earn a battling point ...Ten-man Carlisle earned a valuable point at Kenilworth Road as they battled through a tense closing ten minutes to grab their share of the spoils.
United started well and set pieces had Luton on the back foot as Adams and Grainger put deliveries into the box. The hosts defended well, but they were undone with just five minutes on the clock when Adams, Joyce and Jones picked their way through the left flank. Adams floated a lovely cross into the area and Walton did well to block the initial header from the mobile Shaun Miller. Jason Kennedy reacted quickly to prod his tenth of the season into the back of the net.
The Hatters went close when Rea got on the end of a curled free kick from Potts but he couldn't keep his header down and it went over the bar.
But it was all-square on ten minutes when Jack Marriott drifted wide with time on his hands. His low cross was controlled by Hylton and a tight spin opened things up inside the area. He let fly with a crunching effort and Gillespie could do nothing as it ripped into the roof of his net.
The home side enjoyed a good spell following their goal and half shouts for a penalty were waved away as Hylton toppled over inside the box. Sheehan took over when the ball spun free and he sent a low shot through bodies, but Gillespie was able to watch it all the way.
Carlisle showed again when Tom Miller threaded a lovely ball to Adams as he made a switch to patrol the right wing. An instinctive shot needed a firm hand from Walton to send it over the bar.
A huge clearance followed from the stopper and Luton had men to spare as they attacked on the break. McGeehan spotted Marriott at the back post but the unmarked striker was disappointed when he nodded his free header into the ground. The bounce made it easy for Gillespie to grasp.
Hylton blazed over from distance when he had other options available with 30 minutes on the clock, but there was more fantastic football from the visitors as Joyce, Kennedy and Shaun Miller exchanged one-touch passes to make their way through a packed defence. Jones went for a shot as he dropped his shoulder but it a hit a defender and spun away to safety.
Vassell was twice wayward with punts from outside the area as Luton tried to find some extra momentum, and Gillespie had to come off his line and punch as the same player sent a high ball in search of the big forwards.
The home defence had to deal with a stunning cross from Lambe when he tried to find Wyke, as the balance of play shifted again, and Cuthbert made his second clearing header within as many minutes as Adams did the same from the opposite wing.
Luton eased the mounting tension with a break from their own half and Marriott was convinced he'd scored until his excellent 25-yard shot shaved the outside of the upright.
Carlisle ended the half as they had started, on the front foot, but they couldn't make their possession count as Luton pulled every man back to defend. And Brisley was needed for the last kick of the half as he spread himself in front of Hylton to prevent the forward from bagging his second of the day as he twisted and turned on the penalty spot.
A shot from range from Rea was easy for Gillespie to deal with as the second half started at a fast pace and an instinctive shot on the turn from Shaun Miller, which dipped over the bar, showed that both sides were in it to win it.
Carlisle had to defend balls into the box as Luton enjoyed a good spell, but decent deliveries from Adams and Lambe kept the Hatters on their toes as neither side could quite find a way to get a clean sight of goal.
That almost changed when Grainger bent a cute ball into the mix midway through the half. Wyke was a whisker away from getting a touch which would have made things very interesting.
It was end-to-end and Tom Miller showed pace to turn attack into defence in an increasingly hostile atmosphere. He found Lambe, who in turn found Shaun Miller, and his toe poke took a deflection as it flew wide.
The game was balanced on a knife edge and an enterprising run from McGeehan took him through four challenges as he somehow bundled his way into the six yard box. Gillespie bided his time but got it just about right as he dropped at the marauding midfielder’s feet.
United stuck to their game plan as they defended their goal, and they broke out to support their forward play whenever the occasion allowed, and they asked questions again when Adams sent a corner deep. Kennedy went for an acrobatic overhead kick but it lacked the power it needed.
Luton almost nicked the points late in the day when Cuthbert jumped high to meet a flat corner delivery. His header appeared to have done the trick until it skipped off the surface and went wide.
Carlisle were given a mountain to climb with just under ten minutes left to go when the assistant referee waved his flag frantically as Raynes and Hylton challenged for a high ball. A straight red card for Raynes followed a brief consultation between the officials, and keeper coach Simon Tracey was also dismissed from the dug out as he asked questions of the decision.
United defended well as Luton threw men forward and they almost nicked it when Adams latched onto a cut back deep into time added on. He struck it cleanly but Walton spread himself to make the save.
Luton Town - Hylton (10)
Carlisle United - Kennedy (5)
Luton Town - Rea (3), Mullins (55)
Carlisle United - Brisley (56), Gillespie (67)
Sent off - Raynes (straight red, 82)
Luton Town - Walton, O'Donnell, Potts, Mullins, Cuthbert, McGeehan, Hylton, Marriott (Mpanzu 67), Rea, Vassell (Cook 90), Sheehan (Gilliead 62). Subs - King, Smith, Lee, McQuoid.
Carlisle United - Gillespie, T Miller, Raynes, Brisley, Grainger (Gillesphey 70), Kennedy, Joyce, Jones (Lambe 34), Adams, Wyke, S Miller (Devitt 80). Subs - Crocombe, Ellis, Asamoah, McQueen.
Referee - Mr Mark Heywood
Attendance - 7,953 (380 away fans)