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22:52 17th October 2009


A tale of two penalties in two minutes - one saved Mark Tyler and one scored by Tom Craddock - gave caretaker manager Alan Neilson a third straight victory in charge. The Town won on their last trip to this part of Cheshire courtesy of a penalty shootout in the FA Cup last season and it was two chances from 12 yards that settled this game that gives Neilson's side their third away victory on the bounce. The drama started on 64 minutes when skipper Kevin Nicholls was harshly adjudged to have upended Altrincham striker Aaron Burns and the referee pointed to the spot. However, from the resulting kick, Tyler saved Colin Little's effort and justice - perhaps - was done. Two minutes later referee West was again at the centre of attention as he awarded a second spot-kick when Hatters substitute Ryan Charles was bundled over by Nicky Clee and Craddock made no mistake to give the Town the lead. Before the referee intervened it had looked as though the game was going to peter out into a goalless draw but after the goal the Hatters turned on the style and as confidence grew they could, and perhaps should, have made the scoreline greater. Alty were thankful to goalkeeper Stuart Coburn for keeping them in the game in the final minutes as he made a string of terrific saves from Hall (twice) and Gnakpa as the Town looked to put the game beyond the hosts. For a minute-by-minute account of proceedings, see below. Result from Moss Lane Altrincham 0 Luton Town 1 (Craddock pen 66) Final score FULL TIME Altrincham 0-1 Luton Town - The Hatters have won their third win on the bounce under Alan Neilson. We'll have all the action and reaction to follow! Get in! 90 mins + 3 - White sends a chance from close range wide of the target following Nicholls' quick thicking. Time running out for Alty to get an equaliser. Can the Town hold on to this? If anything they look like adding to their lead. 90 mins - We've got an additional five minutes... 89 mins - Another chance for the Hatters but again they are thwarted by a good save from Coburn as he gets a good hand onto a fierce drive by Hall after good work from Newton. Alty race up the other end and Tyler is called into action to stop a low shot from Burns creeping in at his near post. 88 mins  Second change from Neilson as Gnakpa is replaced by Reynolds. He earns applause from the travelling support by boos from the locals. 84 mins - Was that a pen? Nicholls drifts in a cross from the right that his headed high into the air but as the ball drops Hall looks like his shoved out of the way as he goes to challenge for the ball. Ref West isn't interested and the Hatters players can't believe it. 81 mins - Gaps are appearing in the Altrincham defence and Craddock should have made it 2-0. Charles does brilliantly to hold off his marker and unselfishly finds the Hatters goalscorer unmarked inside the area. However, after twisting and turning the box he can't get his shot on target. 79 mins - Another good save from Coburn as the Hatters look to put this game beyond their hosts. A move from right to left involving Gnakpa and Newton finds Hall but his shot from 12 yards his turned around the post. Great saves. 78 mins - Coburn in the Alty goal hasn't been called into any serious action but he makes a terrific save to turn a fierce drive from Gnakpa after the Frenchman had been spotted by Newton. 75 mins - Since the goal the Hatters have certaintly looked more confident in attack, especially Craddock. That was his fifth of the season and his second from the spot. He's now the out-and-out leading goalscorer for the club. 74 mins - Oh what a chance and it should be 2-0 to the Town. Newton floats a lovely pass to Charles but from six yards out the young striker - not knowing how much time he had - heads straight at Coburn. Great vision from Newton. 67 mins - Ok, so the Town are in front and it's a tale of two penalties in the space of two minutes. Firstly Nicholls in unfortunate to be penalised by referee West as the official awards Alty a penalty as Nico sends Burns tumbling. Little steps up from 12 yards but his penalty is saved by Tyler. The Hatters race up the other end as Howells speeds through, finds Charles who is tripped by Clee as he bears down on goal. It's Craddock for the Hatters this time from 12 and he makes no mistake by sticking the ball psst Coburn into the bottom right corner of the net. It's certainly never easy following - and reporting - on Luton Town...Get in! 66 mins  GOAL! Altrincham 0-1 HATTERS - What a last few minutes - I'll catch up on everything and get back to you! 65 mins - PENALTY TO LUTON! 64 mins - SAVED BY MARK TYLER 63 mins - PENALTY TO ALTRINCHAM 60 mins - Alty are finding some confidence and Little has two chances in the space of a minute. Firstly he screws a shot wide when well placed getting the ball of Pilkington's block and then he a minute later he forces Tyler into a sprawling save, diving away to his left to keep the veteran striker's goalbound shot out. Good save. 59 mins - The attendance at Moss Lane of 1,762 is the largest of the season so far here. That's including 640 that have made the trip from Bedfordshire. 58 mins - Altrincham have certainly looked dangerous in patches during this game and again Burns is at the heart of it as he hits a left-foot shot over Tyler's crossbar. 56 mins  First change of the afternoon for the Town as last Saturday's match winner Ryan Charles replaces Wright. 50 mins - It's been a quiet start to the second-half but the Hatters break at pace down the left-flank with Newton after swapping passes with Wright. The midfielder's cross is hung up to the back-post looking for Gnakpa but the Frenchman can't get on the end of it and, as the Town continue to press, Coburn almost puts his defence in trouble when he needlessly tries to punch away Asafu-Adjaye's right-wing cross. 46 mins - Nicholls and Hall get the second half underway. There are no changes for either side at the break. 14:01 - Both teams are back out on the field and this time they have used their own separate tunnels! Only in non-league, eh? HALF TIME  Altrincham 0-0 Luton Town - It's half-time here at Moss Lane and it's goalless. I don't want to start jinxing things but we've had some terrific second half performances on the road in our last two away games...Six goals in those two periods of 45 minutes against Cambridge and Kidderminster...Let's hope its more of the same this time around. Check back in 15 minutes for more live updates. COYH! 45 mins - We've got three additional minutes as indicated by the fourth official. 43 mins - Burns seems quite up for making an impression this afternoon and after Nicholls concedes a free-kick outside the Town penalty area, the Alty striker sends the resulting set-piece high and wide of Tyler's goal. He's certainly pestering the Hatters defence. 37 mins - Should be 1-0 Luton. Hall does brilliantly in the centre of middle showing forceful running and great close control to find Gnakpa down the right whose first time cross was is by Craddock. However the striker fails fails to make any decent contact where a firm shot would have put the Hatters in front. Hall tries in vain to finish the move he started and wins a corner from which Nicholls' inswinger gets Coburn in all sorts of trouble that the keeper has to punch away under pressure. So close. 35 mins - After earning the applause of the home fans a minute earlier Burns then is jeered for his attempt from 40 yards that sails high and wide. Not the best effort you'll ever see. 34 mins - Alty have had plenty of joy themselves down either flank and Burns - who seems to be popping up everywhere - this time delivers an intelligent cross looking for the run of Lawton but Tyler reads the danger and makes a comfortable catch. 31 mins - Great anticipation from Pilkington eventually leads to Craddock finding Hall 25 yards out but as the defenders back off the midfielder sees his right-foot shot go past Coburn's right-hand post. 27 mins - After a quiet opening 15 minutes for Gnakpa the Frenchman is now seeing plenty of the ball. This time Nicholls picks him out with a lovely cross-field pass that the former Peterborough man heads first time towards Coburn's goal but his effort loops well over the crossbar. Can the Town now take advantage as they are now on top? 26 mins - Good football from the Hatters on the counter-attack as Wright, Craddock and Newton combine in the centre of the pitch to feed Gnakpa racing down the right. He sends in dangerous cross that Wright is inches away from turning home at the back-post but we can't quite reach and Alty are let-off the hook. 24 mins - Town are beginning to find their feet and Gnakpa is getting more of the ball. He goes past his marker but goes down looking for a foul but the neither the ref or the linesman are having any of it and the Frenchman is booed by the home crowd for his supposed theatrics. 21 mins - Again Altrincham come back at the Hatters as Burns shrugs of the attentions of White and Howells to set-up Little who again can't control his effort and his shot sails well over Tyler's crossbar. 20 mins - Good chance for the Town to take the lead as Gnakpa , who hasn't seen much of the ball so far this afternoon, runs down the right-flank and fires a vicious low cross that Craddock screws over the crossbar from six yards. 18 mins - Looks like Neilson and Watson have changed things up a little and we're a little more like 4-4-2 with Howells and Ed dropping back to conventional full-backs. 16 mins - Back come Alty as they look to make their dominance count. Centre-half Rob Williams loops a header over Tyler's crossbar and the chance is gone of an opening goal. 15 mins - Chance for the Town. Nicholls' floats a free-kick into the Altrincham penalty area that is flicked-on by Wright. The ball falls kindly to Craddock who turns and shoots towards goal but his shot is straight down the throat of home goalkeeper Stuart Coburn. That's better. 11 mins - The Hatters haven't really got into this yet as Neilson barks instructions to his team from the sidelines. The pitch looks in great nick from up here in the press box. Can they get it down and play some football? 9 mins - It's been all Altrincham so far and the Town have Howells to thank to head the ball over his own crossbar to deny home captain Robbie Lawton a simple tap-in from another dangerous cross from Clee down the left. 7 mins - Almost 1-0 Alty. Following another corner veteran striker Colin Little swings a right-boot goalwards. His shot takes a couple of nasty deflections and Asafu-Adjaye does brilliantly to clear the ball of the line for another corner. That was close. 4 mins - First action of the afternoon for Mark Tyler and it's an easy catch to save Aaron Burns' header from Nicky Clee's left-wing cross. 3 mins - Brighter start from Alty as they force a succession of corners which the Hatters deal well with Wright and White in particular doing well to clear their lines. 2 mins  - Neilson has changed things around as the Town are lining up 3-5-2 with Ed Asafu Adjaye, Alan White and George Pilkington forming a back three with a middle five of Claude Gnakpa and Jake Howells playing wide as two wing backs with Kevin Nicholls, Asa Hall and Adam Newton in the centre of midfield and Tom Craddock and Ben Wright in attack. 1 min  We're off as the hosts get the game under way, they are kicking towards the Town fans, almost 500 here. Come on you Hatters! 14:56 - There might be two tunnels but both sides have come through the same one. Typical! Another colour clash of sorts? The Town are in their now traditional orange shirts while the Robins are in their red and white stripes and block shorts. 14:50 - Moss Lane is slowly filling up - I've noticed that there are separate tunnels for either teams. There's a healthy contingent of Town fans on the terrace behind one of the goals. Crowds here have ranged from a high of 1,737 against Chester to their lowest of 698 against Histon on a Tuesday night in August. 14:30 Team news: Alan Neilson is forced into to changes following last Saturday's 2-1 win at Kidderminster. With Rossi Jarvis out suspended and Shane Blackett, Lewis Emanuel, Freddie Murray, Liam Hatch, Keith Keane and Kevin Gallen all unavailable the Town are almost down to the bares bones. It means there are places in the starting line-up for Jake Howells and Claude Gnakpa while Andy Burgess is named amongst the substitutes' bench joining Callum Reynolds, Steve Basham, Shane Gore and last week's goal hero Ryan Charles. Altrincham manager Graham Heathcote has similar problems with suspension and injury robbing him of four first team regulars. Luton Town: Tyler, Asafu-Adjaye, White, Pilkington, Newton, Nicholls, Craddock, Hall, Howells, Gnakpa, Wright. Substitutes: Burgess, Gore, Charles, Basham, Reynolds. Altrincham: Coburn, Smith, Kearney, Young, Densmore, Lawton, Little, Clee, Williams, Danylyk, Burns. Substitutes: Denham, Saunders, Welch, Pearson, Sheridan. 14:00 Good afternoon all supporters to to our text updates service as the Hatters are back in action looking to earn their third consecutive victory against Altrincham at Moss Lane. We're live in Altrincham as Alan Neilson's men look to earn three points to earn their fourth win on the road and their third on the bounce as they look to cement their position in the BSP's top five. In the run-up to kick-off  be sure to keep an eye on the site as we'll have team news for you. On this afternoon we'll have all the usual updates keeping you bang up-to-date with all the action - and in a number of ways. There's none of those boring ball-by-ball "defensive thrown-in taken by Luton left-back" updates as we continue to try and bring you an updated and detailed text commentary. This is a great way to keep in touch and has been popular to those supporters not able to get to a computer or a radio as the service is also available and is updated live on our WAP site. For those who can tune in, then Hatters Player subcribers should look no further than the live commentary. As ever the commentary is brought to you by Simon "Statto" Pitts. He's here and ready to go to call home the shots as it happens, come rain or shine, home or away at every single Hatters match. And after the action has finished Hatters Player subscribers will get to watch all the post-match interviews from all the men that matter this afternoon. But for those without Hatters Player fear not: we'll have plenty of content to keep you interested as we'll have Alan's post-match thoughts as well as match action from Gareth Owen to follow after the final whistle. And if you want more and feel like interacting with us and fellow Town fans, don't forget we're also on twitter and Facebook so feel free to get involved! Join the updates and get in touch! The lads are looking for three points! Come on you Hatters!
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    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.