BUT for injury time, Bury could have enjoyed the long drive home from Kenilworth Road on Tuesday night celebrating back-to-back league victories and with a second-round tie in the Capital One Cup to look forward to.
Just as at the Macron Stadium the week before, the referee’s assistant put up six minutes on his board at the end of the second half.
But unlike against Bolton, when it took all of those extra minutes for Wanderers to force the tie into extra time, Luton’s Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu only needed 60 seconds to cancel out Danny Rose’s second-half opener.
Yet as the substitute’s deflected shot rubbed salt into what is still very much an open wound, Bury boss David Flitcroft was more eager to reflect on a wasteful opening 45 minutes than a second painful ending in as many weeks.
“It’s a tough place to come, so while you are on top you have got to score,” said Flitcroft, bemoaning a lack of quality in the final third for his side’s failure to capitalise on territorial dominance.
“At 1-0 it is a dangerous scoreline. The last 10 minutes they have thrown caution to the wind, thrown five or six bodies up front and caused us problems.
“So we had plenty to deal with from the 85th minute, but I would rather deal with it from the first minute, build up a head of steam and win games in the first half, which is what we should have done.”
While Bury certainly looked comfortable in the opening exchanges, they only mustered a handful of speculative long-range shots in what began as a cagey tactical battle.
Rose, starting in place of Danny Nardiello, who was nursing a groin strain, had a few sighters from outside the box, one of which Luton stopper Mark Tyler fumbled but gathered at the second attempt.
Pablo Mills also tested Tyler with a shot from a Nicky Adams corner, but it was Andrew Tutte who went closest to scoring, opening up his body in the 22nd minute before curling a shot from the edge of the box that drifted just wide of the top corner.
Rob Lainton, again named ahead of Shwan Jalal in the Bury goal, only had one save to make, getting down well to smother a deflected Luke Guttridge shot just before the break.
Paul Benson and Scott Griffiths also had decent headed opportunities for Luton that they were unable to keep down.
Last season’s Conference champions, encouraged by a fervent home support revelling in their return to the Football League, picked up the pace after the break.
Former Bury loanee Mark Cullen got in behind the Shakers’ defence a minute after the restart but failed to direct his shot on target.
Guttridge then dragged a shot wide of the far post as the home support cranked up the noise.
The atmosphere may have gotten to Luke Rooney, as the flying Luton winger picked up a yellow card for simulation after Nathan Cameron pulled out of a challenge.
Referee Tim Robinson quickly evened up the card tally as Cameron this time made contact with a lunge.
But just as the game looked to be heating up, Rose quelled the crowd, stabbing home his second goal in as many games since joining from Barnsley.
Nicky Adams’s cross into the box looked to have been handled by Luton captain Steven McNulty, but the touch took the ball away from the flailing keeper and Bury’s 20-year-old signing pounced to put it into the empty net.
A flurry of cards followed, with both Tyler and Rose punished for a set-to in the Luton box, while Danny Mayor and Tutte went into the book for professional fouls. It looked like the interruptions had helped Bury wind down the clock, before the fourth official revealed the sting in the tail.
And Mpanzu quickly pounced after Bury failed to clear a high ball into the box to give the Shakers boss an uneasy feeling of déjà vu.
“I said to the players (after the game) 99 per cent concentration leads to 100 per cent failure and that’s exactly what’s happened,” he added.
“We’ve come here and played the way we want to play – brave on the ball and brave in our passing – but we have drawn a game that we should have definitely won.
“We will be all right. A lot of teams will come here and struggle to gain points, but it is still two dropped, which is something we have got to recover from quickly.”
LUTON TOWN: Tyler; Franks, S McNulty, Wilkinson, Griffiths (Howells 76); Cullen, Drury, Robinson, Rooney; Guttridge (Mpanzu 61), Benson (Lafayette 76). Not used: Lacey, Wall, Justham, Stevenson.
BURY: Lainton 7; Cameron 8, Mills 7, J McNulty 7; Soares 6, Tutte 7, Etuhu 7, Mayor 6 (Widdowson 6 77); Adams 7 (Sedgwick 6 72); Rose 7 (Poole 6 69), Lowe 6. Not used: Jalal, Hussey, O’Brien, Nardiello.
Goals: Luton Town 1 (Mpanzu 90+1) Bury 1 (Rose 62).
Yellow cards: Luton Town (Rooney 52, Tyler 65) Bury (Cameron 59, Rose 65, Mayor 71, Tutte 86).
Referee: Tim Robinson.
Attendance: 7,890 (289 visiting).
Star man: Nathan Cameron – From the moment he was thrust into the Capital One Cup tie at Bolton following injury to Craig Jones the 22-year-old centre-back has not looked back. His manager has called it a “revelation”, but whatever has clicked, the former Coventry defender now looks a real prospect. He always had the physical attributes, but Cameron has cut out the silly mistakes and now has a commanding presence and calmness in possession.