Hatters avenge early season defeat, but there are keeper worries for Lyttle.
08 March 2011
After Saturday's defeat by Mansfield Town, Des Lyttle brought his Lambs squad to Kenilworth Road home of third placed Luton Town with Richard Money's FA Trophy Semi Finalist Hatters surely out to give Tamworth a tough time of it.
Lyttle made no changes to Saturday's starting eleven, but Tom Marshall and Seb Lake-Gaksin took places on the bench ahead of Malvin Kamara and Jevaise Christie.
And although there were no suspension worries, Jay Smith was just one booking away from a two match ban.
With Tamworth attacking the end where a small but fair smattering of Lambs fans watched from behind one goal, there were a fair number, but not a vast amount, of empty seats to be seen elsewhere in the ground and Luton kicked off proceedings.
A early freekick was conceded by the home side and Mitchell ventured down the right to launch the ball forward with Luton regaining possession quickly and Barnes-Homer releasing Gnapka on the right who flashed a shot across the box and out for a throw on the other side, but worryingly it had left the Lambs defence mere spectators.
However, The Lambs created an opening on 3 when Perry chested the ball past his marker and made a foray into the box from the left only to screw a shot into the seats.
Tamworth were forced to defend for a minute or two as pot shots were taken from distance at the one end of the ground that the powerful sprinklers had been wetting prior to kick off but nothing got into the final third and even Perry dropped back to help out.
The first chance of the game came on 8 when Barnes-Homer crossed from the right for Gnapka to head at goal and Mitchell caught well.
A foul on the left on Sheridan gave Thomas a freekick but the Hatter hoofed it long away from danger and other than Mitchell, Barrow was the only Lambs player over the half way line.
The ball ran out for a goal kick behind Mitchell on 09 and he fell to the floor requiring a visit from the physio for what appeared to be a very painful left hand and could not continue bringing Marshall into goal.
Tait was then brought down from / in mid air by Barnes-Homer, bringing the physio on again, resulting a yellow card for the Luton player on 15 and Marshall resumed play.
Wylde appeared to clip Gnapka as he ran into the right of the box on 18 but the referee played on and the Hatter hit a shot which Marshall parried then collected. However, when play stopped, Wylde was booked for his efforts.
Barrow did well to stay strong as Gnapka strode into the box and win a corner off a deflected shot which Marshall punched away before the whistle blew to give him a goal kick.
Despite their obvious ‘extra pace' and perhaps more skillful attempts to get the ball around the pitch, The Lambs were making the home side look above average rather than top three material although danger reared its head on 24 when Marshall was forced to save a header from Gnapka from the right of the box conceding a corner in the process which Tamworth cleared quickly.
Luton continued to move forward but failed to trouble Marshall when Howells' cross come shot went anywhere but where he wanted it to.
Bradley brought down Gnapka on the edge of the D on 29 setting up Lawless with a freeshot at goal, but his kick glanced the wall and took it out for another flagkick on the right which Tait hit long up field and after a brief spell of Luton possession Tamworth won a freekick on the right. Thomas' ball was headed away and Wilkinson smashed a volley towards goal, but it went well wide of the left hand post.
A foul by Bradley on Kroca gave Keane a freekick on 33 which Tait rose highest, in a crowded area, to put behind for a corner on the left and that too was headed away but Barnes-Homer tried his luck only to see Barrow in the way to put it behind for yet another flagkick which Courtney headed away. Marshall then collected the ball from Pilkington's low left sided shot and Tamworth were being forced to work very hard now to defend in numbers as Wylde and Marshall went for a high ball into the box looking for Gnapka and another corner on the left was conceded.
This time Marshall was equal to Kroca's header and came out to punch away the return ball.
Barrow then denied a Barnes-Homer run and was forced to put the ball out as Gleeson advanced down the right before a freekick (obscured by the large pole) was conceded. Howelss lined it up left footed on almost inevitably Owusu glanced the header into the far corner for the opening goal of the game (0-1, 38 mins)
Despite Tamworth restarting the game, Marshall collected at the feet of Owusu on 40 and Sheridan was adjudged not to have brought down Murray in the area much to the disgust of the home faithful on 44.
Smith won a freekick just over the half way line and sent the ball into the area but a push by Perry was spotted and play quickly halted as four minutes added time was shown.
Thomas was then pushed over in flight by Gleeson and Smith took his freekick from the left corner of the box however, Wylde was beaten the header by Owusu and at the other end Barnes-Homer made a jinking run to the edge of the area only to drag his shot harmlessly wide of the near, right hand, post shortly before the whistle blew.
Marshall returned to the field some minutes before his teammates, to warm his hands and practise some kicks ahead of the second half starting.
The Lambs fans were in fine voice in the early exchanges totally out-singing the very quiet home faithful and although Marshall was unable to hold onto a 49th minute right wing cross he collected Howells' retuned header at height.
A series of missed or mistimed passes in midfield handed Luton possession on 50 but once again the Tamworth defence worked hard to deny the final through ball on more than one occasion before Perry was replaced by Jason Bradley.
then on 57 the ball ran through the box from the left to the right but neither Barnes-Homer nor Gnapka could finish the chance as Barrow slid into deny the latter his shot from 8 yards.
And on 59 Gnapka threaded the ball through from the D on the edge of the area to the left of the box setting up team mate Howells with a right footed finish, only to drag the ball part the side netting.
A minute later though and it was two when The Lambs failed to deal effectively with a ball from the right which Barnes-Homer finished via a small deflection which took it into the bottom right hand corner (0-2, 60 mins)
Gnapka pushed a low ball into the path of Howells on the left of the box again on 65 but again the Luton man was off target with his shot and as Tamworth pushed forward Gleeson brought down Thomas and The Lambs tried to get a header away at goal. Courtney was booked after the play ended with a freekick to Luton.
Daniel gave away a freekick a Murray chipped the ball at Marshall which he did well to catch but pressure continued and Barrow headed off the line when Marshall missed his punch before a corner was won and Gnapka rifled his shot across the face of goal.
Smith was called to one side by the referee on 71 and along with boss Lyttle told to calm things down (at least that's what it looked like from the other side of the pitch) as Lake-Gaskin waited to come on for The Lambs captain.
Barnes-Homer raced onto a loose ball to fire a shot inches wide of Marshall's right hand post on 74 and the temporary custodian collected a curling shot from Keane a minute later.
Inside the final 15 minutes the game became disjointed and Tamworth enjoyed more possession than they had previously, and Lake-Gaskin managed a free header in front of the near post on 80 but it was always going wide of the mark.
Thomas won a corner on 82 which was half cleared to Barrow who struck low for the target, but it drifted wide of the mark and Tyler, a relative spectator in the home goal for much of the match, watched it out.
More forward movement from Tamworth kept Luton pinned in their own half and Jason won a corner on the left on 86 which was eventually bustled away.
Tait then picked up a booking for protesting too strongly to the referee and three minutes added time was shown.
Sheridan gave Jason a header at goal with a chipped pass in stoppage time but he put the ball wide of the mark via a deflection, and the corner was put behind after Tyler had punched out into the area shortly before the full time whistle blew on proceedings.
Mitchell L (Marshall 13), Tait , Courtney, Wylde, Smith (capt) (Lake-Gaskin 73), Perry (Bradley J 53), Thomas, Sheridan, Bradley D, Barrow, Wilkinson
Subs: Mitchell A, MacKenzie
Yellow Cards: Wylde 18, Courtney 67, Tait 89
Luton Town Team:
Tyler, Gleeson, Murray, Keane, Pilkington G, Barnes-Homer, Kroca, Lawless, Howells, Gnapka (Morgan-Smith 87), Owusu (Walker 90)
Subs: Graham, Carden, Pilkington K
Yellow Cards: Barnes-Homer 15, Kroca 90+
Man of the Match: Chosen by the travelling Lambs: Marshall
Referee: S. Burt