Luton boss Rob Edwards knew the result was all that mattered as the Hatters went through to the third round of the Carabao Cup by beating League Two Gillingham at Kenilworth Road.
The hosts led 2-0 at half-time thanks to goals from Jacob Brown and Alfie Doughty, before Jayden Clarke pulled one back early in the second period.
Cauley Woodrow then put Town 3-1 in front before Tom Nichols scored late on, only for Luton to hang on.
Edwards said: “We could only win by winning the game, the expectancy was obviously on us, it’s a little bit different to the last couple of games we’ve had, so I feel very pleased.
“We had quite a lot of changes, tweaked the shape a little bit, and I liked a lot of what I saw.
“It was a good start and I thought we built on it as well.
“We controlled pretty much all of the first half, going 2-0 up was great, a brilliant goal from Alfie and we spoke at half-time about the next goal.
“The next goal was really important and the game could really hinge on that.
“They got it, they probably had five or 10 minutes then when we had to deal with it, but we still looked OK.
“Cauley’s goal settled us down but then we controlled it again until the very last couple of minutes.
“There’s probably a reason we lacked a bit of fluency tonight, but there were a lot of good things I saw.”
Brown opened his Luton account after just two minutes with a low drive into the bottom corner, before Doughty hammered in a brilliant 25-yarder following a clever free-kick routine.
After the break, Clarke raced away to pull one back, as Ashley Nadesan and Macauley Bonne missed great chances to level the scoring.
Woodrow’s terrific volley restored Luton’s two-goal lead after 66 minutes, before Nichols’ header led to a nervy finale, Jonny Williams denied an equaliser by Tim Krul in stoppage time.
Gills boss Neil Harris said: “I’m really proud of the group, that was a fantastic second half against a Premier League side and to put them under pressure shows the character and personality as at 2-0 down after 35 minutes, teams may have crumbled against this level of opposition, but we didn’t.
“We regrouped at half-time and had a right go second half.
“I’m disappointed with the first goal, the second goal is a worldie, Premier League standard from Alfie, and the third one is against the run of play, again Premier League standard.
“To get back it at 2-1, 3-2, having pressure at the end, we just didn’t have that next goal in us.
“We could have scored but they’re the margins that you need when you go against the top sides.”