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16:57 27th February 2010


A goal three minutes from time from Crawley's Ben Smith condemned the Town to their first away defeat since September at the Broadfield Stadium.

The Red Devils' midfielder was first to meet Eddie Hutchinson's header across goal to give the home side all three points to break Hatters' hearts.

It had looked like the Town were going to earn a share of the spoils after substitute Matthew Barnes-Homer drove home Liam Hatch's cross with 12 minutes remaining.

Barnes-Homer's effort had equalised Smith's earlier strike - 10 minutes into the second period - when he robbed Kevin Nicholls of the ball inside the penalty areea and poked home from close range from an acute angle.

Smith's first goal ended the Hatters' run of eight consecutive clean sheets away from home and 852 minutes without conceding.

The second half was much more entertaining than a drab first , but all good runs come to an end sometime.

Full report to follow. For minute-by-minute analysis see below.

Result from the Broadfield Stadium

Crawley Town 2 (Smith 55, 87)

Luton Town 1 (Barnes-Homer 78)

Final score

FULL-TIME whistleCRAWLEY TOWN 2-1 LUTON TOWN. The unbeaten away run comes to an end...All the reaction to come.

90 mins + 3 - Almost 3-1 as Tyler does well to block Ademeno's shot with his legs after the striker had beaten off Kovacs. Time running out now.

90 mins - The Hatters need something and they've got four additional minutes to try and find a late equaliser.

87 mins - GOAL - CRAWLEY 2-1 Hatters - Oh dear. Jarvis is harshly penalised 40 yards from goal. Pinault drifts the free-kick to the back stick to Hutchinson who heads across goal to an unmarked Smith who can't miss from two yards to head home his second of the afternoon for hosts.

85 mins - 2,118 is the attendance here at the Broadfield Stadium which includes 1,012 from Bedfordshire. Fantastic support.

81 mins - More strength from Hatch muscles off his marker tees up MBH but the former Kidderminster striker gets a first-time shot all wrong and the ball screws way wide.

80 mins - All the Hatters and it should be 2-1. Barnes-Homer plays a 1-2 with Gnakpa whose shot is touched away by Rayner but as the ball squirms loose Craddock can only hit the side netting. That was close. 10 minutes to get a winner. Can they one?

78 mins GOAL!GOAL! Crawley 1-1 HATTERS - That's the leveller! Get in! Hatch chases a lost cause down the right, beats off Quinn, tip-toes along the byline and squares to MBH who drives home from 10 yards to sends the travelling hordes into raptures.

75 mins - The Hatters pressure has tailed off somewhat in the last few minutes. Nothing much to report of note to be honest. Just 15 minutes left to spare their record.

73 mins - Harsh booking for Craddock as he complains against the decision of the linesman who ruled the ball had gone out of play when it clearly didn't. Unbelievable.

69 mins - Still the Hatters press but not much is going there way. Barnes-Homer, in his bright, bright yellow boots and Claude have made a different but can the they pull this out of the bag? Plenty of corners have been won in the last five minutes, as they win another.

67 mins - From the resulting corner from Keane, Kovacs gets above everyone in the penalty area to nod wide.

65 mins - Chance for the equaliser as Hatch is denied making it one a piece as his shot on turn is blocked by Rusk after Barnes-Homer's original shot from Gnakpa's right-wing cross had also been blocked. What a chance. Still 1-0.

61 mins - All the Town now and it needs to be. Hatch wins a corner that Keane drifts across. The ball eventually falls to Pilkington who flashes the ball across goal but no man in white shirt is on hand to knock home into an open net.

59 mins SubstituteDouble change for the Hatters which sees strikers Hatch and Barnes-Homer on for Gallen and Nicholls respectively. Half-an-hour to turn things around but at the minute Crawley look the most likely to add to the scoreline.

58 mins - Almost close to 2-0 as Cogan curls a shot agonisingly wide of Tyler's left-hand post after the Town had been caught short at the back.

55 mins - GOAL - CRAWLEY 1-0 Hatters - After 852 minutes without conceding on the road Ben Smith crashes the hosts into the lead. Robbing Nicholls of the ball inside the penalty area he finishes well from an acute angle six yards from goal to give the hosts the lead. Oh-dear.

54 mins - Another let off for the Town as Kovacs gifts the ball to Smith who in turn found Ademano. The pacy Crawley frontman lays the ball on a plate for Cogan who drives a right-foot shot from 18 yards over the bar.

53 mins SubstituteYep, the Frenchman is one for Hall.

51 mins - Activity on the Town bench and Claude looks primed for action...

48 mins - Best chance of the game for the hosts as Tyler punches clear to deny Hutchinson's glancing header from finding net following Pinault's right-wing corner. That was close. The Hatters then hit the hosts on the break but the promising move eventually breaks down.

46 mins - No changes for either side at the interval. Can the Town start from where they left off towards the end of the first 45?

46 mins whistleThe Hatters get us under way for the second 45 minutes kicking towards their own supporters crammed behind the goal away to our left. Come on you Hatters!

HALF-TIME whistleCRAWLEY TOWN 0-0 LUTON TOWN - The first half is brought to a conclusion by Richard Martin and the Hatters have added another 45 minutes onto the 797 that has seen them not concede on their travels. The Town have upped it towards the closing stages of the half but it remains all square. Check back in 15 to see if anything changes. COYH!

45 mins + 1 - The Hatters are almost caught out at the back-stick by the hosts as Rusk's right-wing cross finds Quinn but he can't flick the ball goalwards with the slightest of headers.

45 mins - We've got one added minute at the end of this first half as indicated by the fourth official.

45 mins - That huge net we were talking about earlier is clearly no good as Rayner, the home keeper, skies the ball well over it and out of the ground.

43 mins - More good attacking play from Money's men as good hold up play from Gallen finds Jarvis running into the penalty area but this time it's Broadhurst, the other Crawley centre-half to the rescue to boot the ball to safety.

41 mins - Super move from the Hatters and it's almost 1-0 to the visitors. Jarvis finds Craddock tight on the right-hand goaline who squares for the on-rushing Hall whose firm strike is blocked superbly by brave defending from that man Quinn. Great move, good defending. The Hatters have certainly upped it but it's still goalless.

38 mins - 38 minutes gone and there have been just three goals scored in the Blue Square Premier so far this afternoon. And two of them have come in one game. Can we have one here please?

35 mins - From the resulting corner the Hatters hit the woodwork. Nico's left-wing flag-kick causes confusion in the Red Devils' penalty area and the ball hits a home defender and onto the crossbar. Nobody knows quite how that happened. So close to 1-0.

34 mins - Better play from the Town as Craddock plays a 1-2 with Jarvis and before the striker can pull the trigger as the goal opens up, Crawley skipper Quinn does brilliantly to put in a sliding tackle to concede a corner to stop Craddock shooting.

29 mins - And then a half chance falls Hall's way. He takes a square pass from Jarvis 25 yards from goal and screws a left-foot shot high and wide of Rayner's goal.

27 mins - Yep, still not much happening. We said that the pitch looked good earlier. And while that is the case at a first glance, it seems quite bumpy and bobbley. Not the best under-foot conditions to control a football.

22 mins - Not much is going for the Hatters at the minute - nor Crawley to be fair. But Money has tweaked the formation slightly with Craddock playing a more central role alongside Gallen in attack.

19 mins - From the resulting corner for the hosts, the ball drops to Killeen at the back-post but he can only hook his volley over the crossbar. No undue worry for Tyler that one.

18 mins - First booking of the afternoon is shown to Pilkington as he upends the pacy Ademeno. It results in a Crawley free-kick on the edge of the area that Rents drives goalwards that takes a nick of the Town wall a behind for a corner.

16 mins - Really not much to go on I'm afraid. The Hatters have slowly begun to get their passing game together with Keane, Nicholls and Jarvis keen to get their foot on the ball and look for options.

11 mins - Spotted: Stevenage manager Graham Westley has just taken his seat in the Main Stand at the Broadfield Stadium below us.

8 mins - Almost 1-0 to the Hatters as the hosts are indebted to giant centre-half Broadhurts to head clear the danger underneath his own crossbar with Keane lurking for a tap-in. It was Keano that started the move in the first place: breaking up play, running clear before spraying the ball to Gallen down the right who's teasing cross almost dropped for the Town's number 4. Unlucky.

5 mins - First attempt of the match falls to the Hatters as Hall tries his luck with a shot on the half-volley that floats harmlessly over the Crawley crossbar.

3 mins - Three minutes in and the minutes without conceding away from ticks past 800 minutes.

3 mins - Not much ro report so far but the Hatters are lining up 4-5-1: Tyler in goal - a back four of Newton, Pilkington, Kovacs, Murray. Keane is playing as a holding midfielder in front of the back four with Nico and Hall ahead of him. Craddock and Jarvis occupy the advanced positions on the left and right flanks respectively while Gallen is up top on his tod.

1 min whistleThe hosts get us under way kicking towards the massed ranks of Town fans and they kick the ball straight out of play, gifting the Hatters the ball early doors.


Half the crowd must be Luton fans as, away to our right, a packed terrace full of travelling fans. We're almost ready. COYH!


I can report that all the players have successfully shaken hands with each other...


Out come the two sides on the Broadfield Stadium pitch with the Town led by captain Kevin Nicholls. The Hatters are in their change strip of white shirts, white shorts while Crawley are all in red.


Andrew Barringer: 1-0 Luton (Craddock). Mark Wood: 2-0 Luton. Simon Pitts: 2-0 Luton. Ian Pearce: 1-0 (Hatch). Euan Duncan: 2-0 Luton.


There's been a game already in the BSP this afternoon involving two of the Town's play-off rivals. And the result is one we would have wanted: Rushden & Diamonds 0-0 Kettering Town. We move down a place to fifth in the table with Diamonds leap-frogging us into fourth.


Crawley boss Steve Evans' writes in his programme notes: "Today does resemble a David and Goliath situation given the history and size of both clubs but we all know that story is finished. Take a second and consider Luton Town have 31 players in their first team, that is over twice what we have but all that will count for nothing come kick-off this afternoon, as it will be 11 men from Luton Town versus 11 men from Crawley Town."


We can bearly hear ourselves type up in the press box as 20 or so young Crawley fans blow their lungs into rather annoying horns. To think we've got two hours and 15 minutes more of this. Hopefully the Town will silence their incessant trumpeting...


The Hatters are unchanged following last Saturday's 2-1 defeat to AFC Wimbledon. There is one change on the Town bench however as Claude Gnakpa returns from tight hamstring in place of Blackett.

Hatters: Tyler, Keane, Kovacs, Pilkington, Murray, Nicholls, Hall, Jarvis, Newton, Craddock, Gallen.

Substitutes: Hatch, Gore, Howells, Gnakpa, Barnes-Homer.

Crawley: Rayner, Rusk, Rents, Hutchinson, Broadhurst, Ademeno, Pinault, Killeen, Cogan, Quinn, Smith.

Substitutes: Forrestt, Malcolm, Wilson, Napper, Jordan.


Looking around the tidy and smart stadium you can't help but notice the low terrace on one side of the pitch that backs on to A23. On our way in we saw a large red and white football at the roundabout and although that obviously isn't a real one but to stop balls bouncing onto the busy A-road Crawley have erected a huge net several feet in the air. It would dwarf our very own John Dreyer net. Anyway, enough talk about nets...we've been told team news is 10 minutes away.


Unlike Kenilworth Road at the moment there is absolutely no problem with the pitch here at the Broadfield Stadium. It looks in terrific condition. That's a real early plus for the Hatters already. It looks flat and has plenty of grass on it. Goalkeepers Mark Tyler and Shane Gore are already out there, together with Alan Neilson who is putting Ed Asafu-Adjaye, Shane Blackett, Craig Nelthorpe and Mark Nwokeji through their paces on the far side.


Off on the road again.

Just what we like.

The Hatters are on their travels once again as they make the trip to Crawley Town for another crucial game in the Blue Square Premier this afternoon.

And boy don't they like it away from home.

Unbeaten in 10, chasing a ninth win in 11 and protecting a remarkable run of eight successive clean sheets, it will be the turn of the Red Devils - no not Manchester United or Wayne Rooney - to try and break the Town's Club record.

Just three minutes without conceding are required for the Hatters defence to surpass the 800-minute mark without their net being breached.

Richard Money believes his side face another tough assignment in their quest to maintain the run against Steve Evans' side who currently lie in midtable in the BSP but still hold solid claims of a late surge towards gatecrashing the Play-Off picture.

But confidence is high in the Kenilworth Road camp and the Hatters will be itching at bouncing back from last weekend's disappointment.

All will be revealed in 90 minutes of action that gets underway at 3pm with plenty of Hatters supporters making their first trip to this part of Sussex.

However, if you're not one of them and you can't make the match then we'll have all the goals and incidents as it happens live with the usual news in the run-up to kick-off with team line-ups and plenty of chat as your official website has, as ever, 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.

On Hatters Player you all have access to our live commentary. Remember, Player is available as ever which means you all have access to our live commentary. If you haven't heard it yet then where you have been? It's brought to you by Simon "Statto" Pitts - who is quickly making a name for himself with commentary that is the envy of all the competition. His commentary in injury time against Oxford earlier this month has made international radio while groups in his honour have sprouted up on social networkign site Facebook. He's in the Broadfield Stadium press box with the rest of us ready to call home the shots with vocal chords primed for action after having Tuesday off.

We'll have plenty of content to keep you interested as we'll have all of the post-match reaction as well as match action from Gareth Owen to follow after the final whistle. Be sure to check out - our brand new online image library.

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Enjoy the game.


Hatters Player

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