York City manager Gary Mills’ policy of not naming a goalkeeper on the substitutes’ bench backfired in horrible fashion at Luton Town last night.

The Minstermen were thrashed 5-0 at Kenilworth Road after goalkeeper Michael Ingham was sent off on 14 minutes.

Unable to turn to reserve ’keeper David Knight, City decided to field skipper Chris Smith between the sticks with regrettable consequences, and then handed the responsibility to substitute Greg Young for the second period.

By that time, the visitors trailed 4-0 with goals from Andy Drury, Claude Gnakpa, Lloyd Owusu and Zdenek Kroca. Young fared better but substitute Taiwo Atieno completed the rout.

City’s miserable night was compounded when midfielder Jonathan Smith was sent off in the 81st minute after a second bookable offence following his lunge at Godfrey Poku.

Leon Constantine was dropped to the bench for the visitors, despite scoring in his last three appearances for the Minstermen.

Top scorer Michael Rankine was recalled in his place, while Ashley Chambers, David McGurk and Levi Mackin also came back into the starting line-up at the expense of Jamie Reed, Young and Danny Racchi.

Luton, meanwhile, handed a debut to ex-Sheffield Wednesday and Brentford striker Owusu.

The first action of the night saw McGurk earn a fifth-minute yellow card for a crunching touchline challenge on Hatters right winger Gnakpa.

Moments later home midfielder Poku flashed the first chance of the night wide of Ingham’s right-hand post from 25 yards.

A six-yard Gnakpa effort then lacked the power to trouble Ingham after the ball had fallen invitingly to his feet from Drury’s corner.

Gnakpa made a more significant contribution on 14 minutes, however, when he burst clear on the visitors’ goal. After rounding Ingham, Gnakpa was sent sprawling by the City ’keeper’s outstretched right boot, leaving referee Steve Bratt with no hesitation in sending the former Northern Ireland international off.

Captain Chris Smith donned the gloves, but his first task was to pick the ball out of his net after Drury’s free-kick deflected past him off a haphazardly assembled City wall.

Peter Till was immediately sacrificed for Young, but City remained under the cosh with Owusu backheeling wide shortly afterwards.

The Hatters doubled their advantage far too easily on 31 minutes when Gnakpa headed into a net left unguarded by Smith following Jake Howells’ inswinging cross from the left.

Mills responded again by throwing James Meredith on for Mackin, but Owusu headed in a third goal on 36 minutes, powering into the City six-yard box to meet Drury’s corner.

City midfielder Jonathan Smith then hoisted a rare chance for the visitors into the home stand from 25 yards before an unmarked Kroca volleyed in Drury’s free-kick from the right to add a fourth goal in first-half stoppage time.

Having taken over from Smith, Young saw home captain George Pilkington head wide of his near post and Owusu crash a header against the crossbar in the opening exchanges of the second half.

But the centre-back made a decent save to keep out Howells’ low shot after a good 59th minute run.

Luton, though, added their fifth goal of the night on 66 minutes when Atieno headed in from close range after Matthew Barnes-Homer’s left-wing cross.

Jonathan Smith did force home ’keeper Mark Tyler into his only save of the evening on 68 minutes from 12 yards, but the tough-tackling midfielder was also heading for an early shower soon afterwards.

Young prevented City from suffering a heavier defeat when he stood up tall and got his angles right to deny Atieno a second goal.

Match facts

Luton Town 5 (Drury 18; Gnakpa 31; Owusu 36; Kroca 45+4; Atieno 66), York City 0

York City: Michael Ingham, Daniel Parslow 6, David McGurk 7, Chris Smith 5, Chris Carruthers 6, Andre Boucaud 5, Levi Mackin 6, Jonathan Smith 6, Ashley Chambers 6, Michael Rankine 6, Peter Till.

Substitutions: Greg Young 7 (for Till, 18); James Meredith 7 (for Mackin, 34); Danny Racchi 5 (for McGurk, 59).

Not used: Leon Constantine, Jamie Reed.

Key: 10 – Faultless; 9 – Outstanding; 8 – Excellent; 7 – Good; 6 – Average; 5 – Below par; 4 – Poor; 3 – Dud; 2 – Hopeless; 1 – Retire.

City’s star man: Greg Young – kept the score respectable as City’s makeshift goalkeeper after the break.

Luton: Mark Tyler, Dan Gleeson, George Pilkington, Zdenek Kroca, Jake Howells, Claude Gnakpa, Godfrey Poku, Keith Keane, Andy Drury (Adam Watkins, 74), Lloyd Owusu (Taiwo Atieno, 62), Matthew Barnes-Homer (Danny Crow, 78).

Substitutes (not used): Ed Asafu-Adjaye, Pavel Besta.

Yellow cards: McGurk 5, Drury 43, Boucaud 62, J Smith 69.

Red cards: Ingham 14, J Smith 81.

Shots on target: Luton 8, City 1.

Shots off target: Luton 5, City 2.

Corners: Luton 2, City 4.

Fouls: Luton 9, City 9.

Offsides: Luton 2, City 1.

Referee: Steve Bratt (Walsall).

Attendance: 5,997 (126 York fans).