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13:01 4th April 2010


Super sub Matthew Barnes-Homer struck a goal a minute after his introduction to blow the title race wide open as the Hatters secured their eighth success on the spin at leaders Stevenage. The striker, on for Tom Craddock, turned and hit a stunning shot beyond Boro goalkeeper Chris Day from 10 yards after the hosts' Michael Bostwick failed to clear on 55 minutes. It was a typically tense, tight affair with Graham Westley's side in pole position going into the biggest game of the BSP season so far with a five point advantage prior to kick-off. The Town were the quickest out of the blocks on a pudding on a pitch with captain George Pilkington almost giving them an early lead when his inadvertent near-post flick-on from Keith Keane's low left-wing corner was cleared off the line on four minutes. However, despite their early dominance, Boro came back and dominated for long spells in the opening half, playing some tidy football through midfield and threatening every time they won a set-piece. Most inside Broadhall Way were on their feet on 20 minutes when striker Tim Sills finished neatly past Mark Tyler after a tricky run and clever pass from Yemi Odubade but to the relief of the 2,800 Hatters fans, an offiside flag was raised and it remained goaless. Still Boro pressed with Andy Drury, Odubade and Chris Beardsley the main tormentors in chief. Two minutes before the break, the Town, who were being stifled in attack by some determined defending, were grateful for Tyler to keep out a curling shot from Michael Bostwick. With strikers Craddock and Kevin Gallen unable to get a sniff at Day's goal, Richard Money introduced Liam Hatch for Gallen at half-time in an attempt to match up with the hosts' extra physical advantage. Four minutes into the second half the Hatters were again indebted to Tyler to keep the score goalless. Drury pinged a super crossfield pass into the path of Beardsley. Ed Asafu-Adjaye was unable to cut the ball out and Beardsley raced through on goal with just the Town keeper to beat. But Tyler spread himself superbly and Beardsley could only see his placed shot turned around the post. It was a crucial save and it's importance, together with a tactical masterstroke from Money, swung things in the Hatters' favour. On 54 minutes Barnes-Homer replaced Craddock and within a minute of his introduction he was celebrating his fourth goal in Town colours. Stevenage failed to deal with a long Freddie Murray throw and the ball was mis-kicked by Bostwick. It kindly fell to the feet of the Barnes-Homer who turned and hit a terrific finish past the despairing dive of Day to send the travelling hordes into ecstasy. It was backs to the wall time for the Town as Boro went all out in search of a leveller. There were some anxious final moments but Stevenage failed to seriously test Tyler again as his team-mates dealt with everything that was threw at them. Hatch, whose presence when defending Boro's aerial threat was also key, almost doubled the Hatters' lead with a minute left but the striker could only poke a shot straight at Day after a deft touch from Gnakpa. But, after three minutes of injury time, the Town held onwhich was the cue for massive celebrations in the away end. Two points off the top now. Get down to Kenilworth Road on Easter Monday. Relegated Grays Athletic are in town and it's Kids for 2020. It's hotting up now so come along and be a part of it. Keep believing. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Full-time from Broadhall Way Stevenage Borough 0 Luton Town 1 (Barnes-Homer 55) Final score FULL TIME STEVENAGE BOROUGH 0-1 LUTON TOWN - IT'S OVER - REACTION TO COME! 90 mins + 2 - One minute left to hold as hearts in mouth time as Boylan mis-kicks a super chance straight at Tyler. 90 mins + 1 - Brave block from Laird as Gnakpa thumps a free-kick from 18 yards as the Town look to put the game beyond doubt. 90 mins - Just the three addtional minutes for the Hatters to hold on. Come on Luton! Come on Luton! 89 mins - Almost game set and match but Hatch can only poke a shot straight at Day after Gnakpa's flick-on. 88 mins Third and final change for the Town as Newton replaces Howells. 87 mins - The attendance is Boro's biggest of the season: 7,024 including a magnificent 2,785 from Bedfordshire. 84 mins - Seven to go...Activity on the Hatters bench it looks like Newton is ready for action. 83 mins - Still the Hatters defend brilliantly, but how long can it last? 82 mins - Eight minutes to play. I'm nervous. Are you? 80 mins - The Hatters are dealing with Stevenage's onslaught of set-pieces but better than they were in the first-half Roberts gets up at the back post to meet Drury's free-kick but the ball goes wide. 77 mins - Boro captain Roberts has just asked the home fans around us to start singing. He's not happy. 75 mins - Hold onto your hats, this is going to be squeaky back-side time in the final 15 minutes. A goalmouth scramble in the Town box almosts sees Boro sub Griffin poke home but the ball thankfully rolls into the arms of Tyler. 73 mins - Great defending from Pilkington concedes a corner as Odubade races clear of Blackett with it two v one at the back-post. Whar a crucial intervention. But it's all Boro. 72 mins - It's all Stevenage now as they try in vain to find a leveller but, at the minute, the Hatters are holding on. It's tense stuff. 69 mins - More pressure from the hosts as the Hatters fail to clear to long throw that results in Bridges trying his luck again but sees a shot blocked by the feet of Blackett. 67 mins - Bad miss from Bridges as Boro work a short-corner routine down the right flank that catches the Town asleep but Bridges can only sky a shot way, way over Tyler's crossbar. 64 mins - The Hatters have dealt with Boro's physicality and are now dishing it out themselves. Hatch and MBH are looking a menace in attack and aren't afraid to put it about. And the Town are using Hatch's aerial presence to good affect when defending the hosts' set-pieces. 63 mins - Half a chance for the Town's second as Keane curls in a free-kick from the right that is glanced goalwards by Blackett but that isn't troubling Day and it stays 1-0. 61 mins - Heated debate on the toucline as referee Naylor sends Boro assistant manager Maamria to the stand. 60 mins - Comfortable for Tyler as he gets his gloves on Sills' weak header from Drury's right-wing centre. 58 mins - It's all the Town now. All I can see is MBH's stunning - STUNNING - finish nestling into the net. Can the Town stave off the inevitable Boro backlash? 55 mins GOOOOOOOOAL! Stevenage 0-1 HATTERS - What a stroke of genius from Money. Stevenage fail to clear a long thrown, Boswick misses his kick and MBH curls home a stunning shot on turn past Day in the home goal ton send the travelling hordes into raptures. Wow! GET IN! 54 mins  Second change for the Hatters as MBH is on for Craddock. 53 mins - End to-end stuff as Gnakpa runs down the right be pick out Howells but the winger can't pull the trigger and Stevenage eventually clear. 49 mins - Tyler the hero again for the Town with a tremendous save to keep the score goalless. Drury pings a super pass into the path of Beardsley that eludes Asafu-Adjaye. The Boro man is clean through and strikes goalwards but the Hatters goalkeeper pulls of a super stop. Great goalkeeping. 47 mins - The ref or linesman hasn't spotted it but we certainly did as Boro skipper Roberts kicks out at Hatch as he defender clears his lined. Hatch and Alan Neilson are not happy. 46 mins - Almost a dream start to the second half as Bridges fires a shot over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area just 17 seconds in. 46 mins And we're off again and it's the hosts to get us underway for the final 45. The Hatters are now kicking towards their massed ranks of support. COYH! 46 mins There's a change at the break for the Town. Liam Hatch is on for Gallen. HALF-TIME STEVENAGE BOROUGH 0-0 LUTON TOWN - Even stevens at the interval. The ball has been in the Town's net but it was correctly chalked off for offside. It's tense and nervy and pitch isn't helping. Can the Hatters find a second half winner? Come back in 15 minutes for all the updates. COYH! 45 mins - The thing is with Claude is that you never know what you're going to get. As a Town free-kick is charged down the ball drops kindly on the volley for the Frenchman but the less said about his effort the better as it sails into the terrace behind the goal. We've got two additional minutes. 43 mins - Tyler make it look so easy. Bridges does well for Boro to pick out Bostwick 25 yards out. The midfield lets fly with a curling effort that looks destined for the top corner but the Hatters goalkeeper doesn't even have to dive to pluck the ball out of the sky. 40 mins - Just a reminder that the Town still have Hatch and MBH on the bench as they warm up in front of us along the touchline. Not a bad couple of replacements to call upon. 37 mins - Still very tight, still very tense. Still 0-0. Still not a lot to talk about in all honesty. 35 mins - Claude's been in unstoppable form in recent games but I must admit Boro have dealt with the Frenchman's threat very well so far. He hasn't had a sniff. 31 mins - A break in play as Odubade receives treatment sees the whole Stevenage side rush to the bench for drinks and tactics with Graham Westley. At that point, Richard Money emerges for the first time since kick-off to advise Murray on something. 30 mins - Half chance for Boro, as they continue to press as Laird lets fly from 25 yards following a square free-kick but it sails harmlessly over Tyler's crossbar. Still goalless... 27 mins - Another one of those devil-ish Stevenage corners, this time from the right eventually sees Drury send a lovely teasing cross to the back-stick which Beardsley heads into the side netting. 25 mins - Not much to report at the minute as the ball is thumped out of the ground and once it is retrieved from out outside it doesn't make the pitch and another ball is needed. 21 mins - Boro's set-pieces are frightfully good but the Hatters are dealing with them at the minute. Still goalless. Just. 20 mins - The ball is in the Luton net but don't worry Sills' effort has been chalked off. That was touch and go as Odubade had fed the front-man. All Stevenage at the minute. 15 mins - Hearts in mouths time for the Hatters as Beardsley goes down under Murray's challenge inside the six yard box but don't worry the left-back put in a wonderful tackle to deny the Boro man a shot at goal and instead concede a corner. Great tackle. 12 mins - Boro have upped it and Drury again ghosts down the right but his high cross is caught by Tyler. 11 mins - First test at the back for the Hatters as Asafu-Adjaye has to do well to turn away a dangerous right-wing cross from Drury with Sills sniffing for a tap-in. 8 mins - Observation so far is that Tyler is quick with his distribution everytime he has the ball. For the second time he launches the ball forward that find Craddock but this time the striker can't quite control the ball. 6 mins - Richard Money said yesterday that Stevenage play some good football. And he's right. They've played some neat football so far when coming forward. Nothing that's troubled Tyler so far. 4 mins - Almost 1-0. From Keane's corner it is low to the near post and is flicked goalwards by Pilkington which is headed off the line Bostwick. Town on top so far. 3 mins - Half chance for Town as they in the first corner as Tyler punts the ball downfield straight into the path of Craddock who is just muscled off the ball. 2 mins - It's the usual 442 for the Town as they play in orange shirts, navy shorts and navy socks. Tyler in goal, a back four Ed, Murray, Pilks, Blackett, a midfield of Howells, Keano, Helsop and Claude with Gallen and Craddock up top. 1 min It's the Hatters that get us underway kicking away from their fantastic support. Hold on to your hats and enjoy the updates! 12:58 FORMALITIES Handshakes done, the toss decided, the photos have been taken and we're almost set. COYH! 12:56 HERE THEY COME Out come the two sides on the pitch, the Town in their traditional orange shirts led by George Pilkington. What a gretting, what an atmosphere. 12:51 THE MESSAGE... clear. Come on you Hatters. 12:50 CAT-SWINGING PROHIBITED We can barely move in the press box let alone on the terraces of Broadhall Way as it continues to fill up. Come 1pm you won't be able to swing a cat. 12:47 GOOSEBUMPS The pre-match sing-songs from the travelling Hatters fans are giving me goosebumps. This is going to be one helleva afternoon. Bring it on, 13 minutes away now. 12:45 A GREAT ADVERT A full house expected, first versus second, one team on a run of eight successive wins, the other on a sequence of seven. This will be a great advert for the BSP. There might be a top v second encounter in the Premier League kicking off now, but rest assured it's all about it right here, right now at Broadhall Way. Both sets of fans are now finding their voices. Especially the 2,800 Town fans. 12:40 SEA OF ORANGE Town fans have made one end of Broadhall Way a sea of orange. Those easyJet home shirts sure do stand out. 12:37 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 3-0 Luton. Mark Wood: 3-1 Luton. Euan Duncan: 1-1 draw. Ian Pearce: 2-0 Luton. Tom Leech: 2-1 Luton. Simon Pitts: "I can't call it." 12:30 PITCHING IN The Broadhall Way turf had looked ok - before the players started warming-up on it. Both goalmouths look very rutted as does an area in the middle of the park. In wide areas it looks better. 12:25 FLYING FRENCHMAN Claude - six goals in his last three games - is the last player out of the dressing room for the warm-up. He runs straight over to the Town fans inside Broadhall Way and throws his arms in the air with his fists pumping. He's up for this. 12:15 UNCHANGED It's as you were following Tuesday's win over Salisbury City. Janos Kovacs returns to the Town squad but he's on the bench, alongside goalkeeper Shane Gore. Hatters: Tyler; Asafu-Adjaye, Pilkington, Blackett, Murray; Gnakpa, Heslop, Keane, Howells; Craddock, Gallen. Substitutes: Gore, Kovacs, Barnes-Homer, Hatch, Newton. Stevenage: Day, Laird, Ashton, Odubade, Roberts, Sills, Bridges, Beardsley, Drury, Bostwick, Henry. Substitutes: Bayes, Wilson, Griffin, Boylan, Byrom. 12:14 WARMING UP The Hatters players are now out on the pitch knocking the ball around. Janos Kovacs is one of those players. 12:10 FILLING UP Broadhall Way is now bathed in sunshine as supporters begin to click through the turnstiles. There's a lot of Boro fans in here already who are in fine voice. 11:46 WEATHER WATCH Sunny, cold, plenty of clouds in the sky with a light wind. 11:00 BUZZ A great atmosphere already building here at Broadhall Way. T-minus two hours to the big-kick off. Get involved, email me your thoughts. 09:55 BLUE SKY IN BEDFORDSHIRE Let's hope the sun is shining  on the Hatters at just after 3.15 in Herts later on. 09:50 FACEBOOK THOUGHTS John Arnold: 2-0 Luton, Craddock double.
Wayne Foster: 3-1 Luton, Gnakpa doube, Craddock.
Craig Stevens: 2-0 Luton, Gallen, Helsop, "getting nervous now."
Nick Pirie: 6-0 Luton "two points nearer and the goal difference wiped out."
Alexander Nyheim: 3-1 Luton.
Ryan King: "Gnakpa hat-trick."
Mike Eccles: 2-1 Luton.
Ben James: "Badly want a win but can see it being a 2-2 draw."
Graham Southey: "As long as we win, who cares about the score!"
Andrew Kingston: 2-0 Luton.
Mike Jones: 3-1 Luton.
Patrick Hatter: 3-1 Luton.
Darryl Dilley: 3-2, Craddock 2, Heslop.
Andy Brett: "We'll sneak a 1-0 win with Jake Howells scoring."
Simon Butt: 3-0 Luton.
Steve Sullivan: 1-0 Lutonl, "Would be happy with a last-minute winner"
Mark James: "Hopefully a Luton 2-1 win but a draw is most probable."
Alex Haden: 2-1 Luton, Pilkington, Craddock.
Dave White: 2-1 Luton.
Tim Buckley: "I can't wait. I don't know what the score will be but as long as we win I'll be happy."
Richard Copperwheat: "Do or die, 2-1, Craddock and Gnakpa to score in a comeback victory."
Helen Foster: "Starting to get nervous now, hopefully 1-0 to Luton."
John Smith: 3-0 Luton, Howells, Keane, Gnakpa.
Bob Caswell: 2-0 Luton.
Paul Haines: "Going to be a hard game but the way we're playing I think we might just win."
Steve Flood: "It's a well known fact Jesus is a Luton fan."
Lee Chapman: 2-0 Luton.
Richie Lyons: "I'm hoping we can keep this winning run going and put pressure on Stevenage."
Adam Roush: 3-1 Luton, Gnakpa hat-trick.
Alan Emmerson: "A must win - 2-0 Luton." 08:45 GOOD MORNING A good Easter Saturday morning to all you loyal followers of our live text news and commentary updates. Who would have thought a month ago that the Hatters would be involved in the title shake up? After the 0-0 draw at Mansfield on 2nd March, the top five looked like this. With the Hatters 12 points behind Oxford and eight points Stevenage. 1. Oxford 67
2. Stevenage 63
3. York 57
4. Kettering 55
5. LUTON 55 Fast forward seven matches, all won of course, and the Town find themselves a victory away from closing the gap on today's opponents to just two points. 1. Stevenage 81
2. LUTON 76
3. Oxford 73
4. Rushden & D 70
5. York 68 A stunning turnaround. But Stevenage have one hand on the title . Five points clear with a game in hand, they are on just a good a run as the Town. In fact, a better one. While the Hatters have won their last seven, Graham Westley's side have cruised to eight victories on the spin. And got to the Final of the FA Trophy. Not bad going. A tilt at the title did not seem imaginable a month ago but momentum is with the Town - question is, can it continue this afternoon? The way Richard Money's men have been knocking goals for fun in recent weeks, I wouldn't put it past them. A view shared by 2,800 Town fans who snapped up tickets quicker than you can say Ed Asafu-Adjaye. Stevenage haven't lost at Broadhall Way for a whopping great 31 matches. That is some run and it will require the Hatters to put in a season's-best shift to break it. But if, as we say, the goals continue to flow (albeit against the division's meanest defence), and victories is the Town then, as Money said yesterday, we are in for one helluva exicting end to the season. Squeaky backside time, anyone? Enjoy the ride! Well, whatever happens at Broadhall Way this afternoon your official website will have everything covered: every step of the way. If 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 last month has made international radio while groups in his honour have sprouted up on social networking site Facebook. As always 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. Remember, we want you to get in touch. Join the updates and get in touch! Email and we'll pick the best comments to go live on the site during our live updates. Don't forget we're also on twitter and Facebook so feel free to interact with your fellow fans online. Enjoy the game. COYH!
    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.