Denton capped a memorable first team debut as he came up with a 20-yard strike that gave home keeper Christian Walton no chance in the 23rd minute.
In a game in which both sides missed plenty of chances Leeds avoided a potential banana skin and emerged victorious despite resting their entire first team from their previous league match.
It was a strange looking Leeds side that took to the Kenilworth Road pitch with head coach Garry Monk altering all 11 starters from Saturday’s win at Sheffield Wednesday.
In for their first starts of the season were goalkeeper Marco Silvestri, Luke Murphy and Souleymane Doukara while new signing Pontus Jansson made his debut at centre-half in a makeshift looking defence that also included youngsters Lewie Coyle and Denton as well as the recalled Sol Bamba.
Kemar Roofe started up front alongside Doukara with Pablo Hernandez, Stuart Dallas and Matt Grimes back in midfield.
Grimes was booked inside 30 seconds and Luton did the early attacking without threatening the visitors’ goal.
Roofe and Hernandez both saw efforts blocked in a crowded Luton area while for the home side Olly Lee and Cameron McGeehan sent efforts off target from distance.
United took the lead on 23 minutes when left-back Denton let fly from 20 yards out and the ball found the top corner of the net for a spectacular first goal in Leeds colours.
Six minutes later it was almost two as Roofe’s shot on the turn struck the crossbar and Dallas’s follow-up was saved by keeper Walton.
Silvestri made his first real save of the match when he tipped a shot by Jack Marriott over, but Leeds were soon back on the attack with Doukara racing clear only to be denied by Walton.
Marriott fired over after racing through for Luton, while Dallas’s shot from distance was off target. Silvestri then had to save low down to deny Lee.
Doukara had the first half-chance in the second period when bending a shot just wide following a good run from Roofe.
Dallas then saw his shot deflected over before Silvestri made an excellent save to turn McGeehan’s curling shot past the post.
Roofe brought a save out of home keeper Walton with a shot from outside the box, but the Whites were not creating much in the way of chances now.
Luton made a big one 11 minutes from time when Marriott burst through only to shoot just wide with Silvestri rushing out of goal.
Relieved United played out the next five minutes comfortably enough, though, and got forward again when Doukara and Roofe had efforts blocked and Mowatt’s shot was saved by Walton.
Luton attempted to put a big finish in as McGeehan shot over and then saw his header from a corner saved by Silvestri.
Leeds had to play out four minutes of added time and had chances to seal it when Doukara broke free only to shoot over and set up Roofe who saw his effort saved by Walton from close range.
However, it did not matter as they played out the remainder to clinch a place in the third round of the competition when the big boys enter.
Luton Town 0
Leeds United 1
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
EFL Cup, round two
Luton: Walton, O’Donnell, Mullins, Rea, Potts, Lee (Vassell 75), McGeehan, Smith, Gray (Cook 56), Hylton (Mpanzu 66), Marriott.
Leeds: Silvestri, Coyle, Jansson (Cooper 74), Bamba, Denton, Murphy (Phillips 57), Grimes, Hernandez (Mowatt 67), Dallas, Roofe, Doukara.
Referee: Kevin Johnson.