Luton Take The Spoils
08 April 2014
The Lambs made the re-arranged journey to Kenilworth Road to face the league leading Hatters, who had lost only two games since December 28, on the back of a run of one win in 16 league games which had seen Dale Belford’s side pick up just 6 points out of a possible 48. Victory for John Still’s side would not see them clinch promotion on the night, but with a bumper crowd expected, a win would set them up nicely for promotion celebrations ahead of their early kick off live TV game on Saturday.
After Saturday’s heavy defeat at the hands of Gateshead, Belford welcomed strikers Chadwick and Godden back to the starting line up knowing nothing more than a win would do to keep the distant dream of Conference Premier League survival alive.
Hold ups on the motorway delayed kick off by five minutes and the Hatters got the game underway. A foul on Godden set up The Lambs with a freekick inside the first minute and Godden’s dead ball skipped through the wall but Baker was unable to get his boot to the dropping target. The referee’s arm buzzer went off and caused him to blow his whistle on 5 and caused confusion as there was no foul or infringement so play resumed with a drop ball and after dispelling a home attack Godden sent a through ball for Baker but Tyler was quickest to it.
The home side won a corner on 13 and Baker headed it clear but Rooney fired the cross back in and Richards-Everton had to head the danger away. Rooney then powered a shot at goal from 25 yards, but it rose over the bar and apenalty was denied when Mahon tackled Rooney in the area on 16. A mistake by McNulty allowed Thornton to fire a cross from the left into the box on 20 and Tyler fumbles but Griffiths was on hand to boot the ball out of the box as Tamworth closed down. Chadwick got on the end of a left wing cross on 24 and diverted the shot goalward, but it was not enough to trouble Tyler and Baker tried to curl a shot from 18 yards into the top corner but cleared the target by a few feet on 25.
Chadwick picked up a yellow card for a late boot on Franks in the Luton left back slot as Tamowrth pushed forward when they could. Athe other end, Gray skipped around Richards-Everton and forced Belford to protect his near post and deny the prolific striker with his feet. With a surety in defence and quick attacks the order of the day The Lambs were more than holding their own as the first half continued and Gray was denied a run into the box with a perfectly timed tackle from Richards-Everton on 37.
Gray had to go off the field to recover from the challenge and was replaced on 40 by Cullen. Howell’s left wing cross was diverted ov ethr bar by a defensive Lambs header on 43 and Chadwick headed it clear to Rooney who put the ball back in and Belford rose to collect it at the second attempt. Two minutes added time was shown at the end of the first half and a good move in the area was cut short by the Hatters defence and frustration in the home side showed with a wild pass over the half way line shortly before the whistle blew.
Tamworth got the second half underway but it was the visitors who had the first cut of the cloth with Rooney striking from 16 yards only for Belford to deny him with a low save to his left and from the rebound the defence blocked Griffith’s follow up.
But Belford was finally beaten on 49 when McGeehan scrambled the ball home with a near post finish off his knee to give the Hatters the lead and cause the home crowd to erupt. (0-1, 49 mins) In the process of going up for a header in the Luton area on 53 Chadwick clashed heads and needed treatment on the field but was able to continue shortly after.
Cullen tried a shot from distance on 55 but shot wide and high of the target into the massed home crowd behind the goal. Meanwhile, the 13 Lambs fans continued to hope for a miracle but Cullen doubled the home side’s lead on 65 with an angled shot from the left of the box into the far right corner.
Before The Lambs restarted proceedings Richards came on for Chadwick. A foul in the box against The Hatters saw another penalty claim denied by the referee on 72 as Luton went in search of another goal to add to their tally. A surge forwards by the home side forced Mahon to head the ball behind and from the corner Cullen struck from the left of the box into Belford’s arms.
Thornton forced a corner on 83 but it was headed away strongly and Morgan attempted a dipping shot from 35 yards but failed to get near the target. Godden was tackled ad forced to hobble straight off the pitch on 90 forcing Woolery to quickly get himself ready for action in the four added minutes.
Belford, Evans, Richards-Everton, Baker, Thornton, Caprice, Godden (Woolery 90), Chadwick (Richards 66), Mahon (c), Morgan, Keane Subs: Reindorf, Kerry, Peniket
Luton Town Team:
Tyler, Franks, McNulty, Howells, Griffiths, Rooney (Lawless 62), McGeehan, Robinson, Henry (c), Benson (Shaw 81), Gray (Cullen 45) Subs: Justham, Mpanzu