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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:26 14th April 2010

TAMWORTH 1-1 LUTON TOWN

The Town's title aspirations were dealt a huge blow as their nine-match winning streak was ended following a 1-1 draw at Tamworth. It was the hosts who began the better of the two sides with the Hatters indebted to goalkeeper Mark Tyler to keeping the score goalless with a fine stop to deny home striker Iyseden Christie on 13 minutes. However, against the run of play, the Town took the lead through skipper George Pilkington on the quarter-of-an-hour mark when he nodded past Danny Alcock in the home goal from six yards following Keith Keane's corner. The Hatters' tails were up and, sensing a quickfire double, Tom Craddock shot straight at Aldock. Tamworth though - who had taken four points off both Stevenage and Oxford - continued to press and only latch ditch defending and some close shaves in the Town penalty area prevented Gary Mills' side from levelling things up. Liam Hatch, starting in place of Easter Monday's hat-trick hero Kevin Gallen, went close with a header at the back-post following Keith Keane's cross but clear-cut opportunities were few and far between for both sides. The Town started the second half well and should have doubled their lead on 48 minutes when Craddock sprinted clear of the home defence and squared to Simon Heslop but the on-loan midfielder's fierce and accurate effort was well-saved by Alcock. However, with the Hatters looking comfortable the hosts levelled things up just before the hour mark when, after a game of head tennis in the Hatters' box, veteran defender Des Lyttle scuffed home to make it all square. In truth that was the last time the Lambs threatened Tyler's goal as the Town went in search of a winner. Flooding forward with purpose it looked as though Richard Money's men would find an winner but, despite huffing and puffing, the hosts were able to keep the Hatters at bay and hold onto a point. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Result from the  Lamb Ground Tamworth 1 (Lyttle 58) Luton Town 1 (Pilkington 15) Final score FULL-TIME TAMWORTH 1-1 LUTON TOWN - The run is over. The Hatters fail to make it the perfect 10. All the reaction and action to come. 90 mins + 5 - Gallen flick-on and Craddock's on to it but his shot is straight at Alcock. 90 mins + 3 - Not much to report, still two minutes left. They NEED one. Can they get it? 90 mins - FIVE minutes added on...Then, from a Keane corner, Alcock fails to hold and Pilkington volleys at the back post that is eventually scrambled behind for a goal-kick. 90 mins - The 90 is up...corner to the Town as Tamworth make a final sub. 89 mins - The attendance is 2,246 which includes at least 1,300 from Luton - no official figure as of yet. 87 mins - All Hatters now. Smith is on hand to block fantastically from Jarvis's shot after good work between Asafu-Adjaye, Gallen and Craddock. So close. That looked like it was heading in. 85 mins - Five left...the Hatters are seeing plenty of the ball but not much is happening in terms of chances. How frustrating. 83 mins - The Town are now throwing as much at the Lambs as possible now but cant find a way through... 80 mins - 10 left, can the Hatters find a winner? Tamworth want one to but would probably be the happier of the two sides with just one...Then Shaw tries his luck from distance for what seems about the 50th time with a shot that he blazes way over the crossbar. 78 mins - A long throw from Murray finds Gallen who patiently waits to find MBH who chances his luck from the edge of the box with a fierce shot that is blocked by three home defenders. Then the ref strangely signals for a foul much to the bemusement of the Hatters. 76 mins - Keane is certainly taking it to Tamworth, he's everywhere at the moment. He seizes on a loose ball in the middle of the park, drives down the right but get his cross all wrong. All Luton now... 73 mins - It's just not happening for the Town at the minute. Plenty of effort but Tamworth are defending well against the onslaught. Still around 20 left, give or take injury time. Can we find one? One will do thank you very much. 71 mins - Hearts in mouths time for the Hatters as Tait drills in a low cross from the right that eludes everyone, including - vitally - Christie, at the back post. 70 mins - Great chance spurned by the Town as Murray again gets into the penalty area after a clever pass from Gallen but with Craddock and MBH waiting the left-back gets his cross all wrong the opportunity for 2-1 goes begging. 67 mins - Tenacious play from Murray down the right gets him to the byline but as he pulls the ball back Tamworth are able to clear the danger with Gallen and Craddock sniffing for a tap-in. 66 mins - The Hatters are now lining up with Craddock and MBH on both flanks with Gallen up top on his own. Jarvis, Keane and Heslop form a tight three-man midfield. 65 mins  Third and final change of the afternoon for the Town and it's last week's hat-trick hero Gallen on for Hatch. Meanwhile more bad news: Stevenage 2-0 Forest Green. 64 mins - All of a sudden the Hatters fans have gone quiet, still plenty of time to find a winner. COYH! 61 mins - The hosts sense a second now as Wydle sends a shot from distance wide. 58 mins  GOAL TAMWORTH 1-1 Hatters - So much for struggling to play shooting against the slope...After what seems an internal game of head tennis in the Town penalty area the ball drops to veteran Lyttle 10 yards out who sends a shot back with intent that clips the post and rolls over the line for 1-1. Game on... 56 mins Second change for the Hatters as Jarvis replaces Howells. Meanwhile, Hatch goes in the book and Claude emerges from the dressing room limping, earning applause from the away contingent. 55 mins - Tamworth are still giving this a really good go and the Town need Craddock to clear from his own penalty area as another cross from the right causes confusion in the away box. 53 mins - Great intervention from Asafu-Adjaye - he was spot on with that to deny Christie following Tait's super cross from the right. Ed timed that perfectly and he needed to. 50 mins - Positive start to this half for the Hatters but they're kicking downhill so no wonder... 49 mins - From the corner, Helsop comes close again with a super volley from the edge of the area. That would have been a great goal. A goal of the season contender. But it went over so it's irrelevant. 48 mins - Could be 2-0 the Hatters. Craddock beats Blackwood down the right and unselfishfully squares for the on-rushing Heslop who smashes a shot that looks for all the world will hit the back of the net but Alcock sticks out a strong arm and turns the ball behind for a corner. Super hit, great save. 46 mins - Half chance for the hosts to level as Sheridan sends a devilish cross across the face of goal. It's hard to defend against but, luckily, there's no home man there to tuck the ball home. 46 mins The Hatters get us underway in the second period, with the added bonus of kicking downhill. No changes at the interval for either side. HALF-TIME TAMWORTH 0-1 LUTON TOWN - Pilks' sixth goal of the season as the Town ahead at the break. It was against the run of play and Tamworth are still threatening. Check back in 15 minutes for the second half. COYH 45+ 2 mins - Could be 2-0 Town as Keane pings a delightful crossfield pass that Craddock heads onto MBH who turns in a flash and it's a first time shot that the sub can only send over the bar. Great all around play..until the finish. 45 mins - We've got an additional two minutes added time at the end of this first half. 44 mins - All hands to the pump for the Town as they survive another goalmouth scramble as the hosts push for a goal before the break. 42 mins - Another off target effort from the hosts. This time its Shaw that hits a left-foot shot high and wide as the groans go up from the home fans around us. 40 mins - More pressure from the Hatters as we approach half-time. Craddock does well to win a corner that Keane sends across. It's only half cleared to Heslop on the edge of the area but the on-loan midfielder, despite steadying himself, can only screw a shot high and wide. 37 mins - Back come the Town and force a half chance themselves as Keane curls in a free-kick from the right that finds Hatch as the far post but the striker, stretching every neck muscle, can only power a header narrowly over. 35 mins - Half a chance for the hosts to pull level as Christie turns Pilkington 25 yards but the striker's snapshot is blasted way, way over Tyler's crossbar. 29 mins - Tamworth are getting closer to goal. Firstly Pritchard does brilliantly to dribble into the penalty area ans see a shot blocked by Blackett and then, seconds later, a Tait corner is flicked on at the near post and Smith is a whisker (or a few inches in height) away from connecting from what surely would have been the leveller. Still 1-0. 29 mins The Hatters can now make that change with Barnes-Homer on. He goes up front with Hatch which sees Craddock switch to right midfield. 28 mins - The Frenchamn isn't coming back and is going to be replaced by MBH but the ball isn't going out of play. 26 mins - Claude's gone down after a rampaging run down the right. Both teams then call for drinks. 25 mins - Hatch is getting in the ref's bad books as he tells the striker off what we all think is a harsh handball decision. 23 mins - Smith really does fancy his chances from range and has another go from 25 yards. This time Blackett is in the way with a block for the Hatters. 22 mins - The goal really does epitomise how important set pieces are. One real chance for the Town and they've taken it. 21 mins - Tamworth are coming back into this again and a superb intervention from Keane on the edge of the penalty area denies Smith a shot at goal and move eventually breaks down. 18 mins - Back come the hosts, working the ball down the left-flank Sheridan catches hold of a decent strike but it's straight down Tyler's throat. 17 mins - The Hatters are sniffing a quick double. Craddock finds himself on the edge of the area and shoots first time but his shot lacks the direction and Alcock can clutch onto the ball easily. 16 mins - That was goal completely against the run of play but who cares? The tannoy announcer thought it was Keano who scored but it was definitely the Town's number six. 15 mins  GOOOOOOAL! Tamworth 0-1 HATTERS - Good news here though! And it's the skipper who has come up trumps. Keane whips in a lovely left-wing corner to the back-stick and there's Pilkington to nod firmly past Alcock from five yards. Get in! 14 mins - Bad news elsewhere: Stevenage 1-0 Forest Green. 13 mins - Almost 1-0 to the hosts and it's Tyler the Town have to thank. Christie wriggles his way into the box down the left, sees a shot blocked by Pilkington before lashing the rebound goalwards that the Hatters' goalkeeper has to beat away from close range. Great play from the striker and from the Tyler. 10 mins - We had been warned that Tamworth were no mugs and they are certainly enjoying themselves out there and playing with confidence. Firstly left-back Blackwood is denied in a melee in the six yard box and then Tyler has to grasp a goalbound header from Prictchard following a good cross from Tait down the right flank. It's all the home side so far. 8 mins - After eight minutes the Town finally enter the home half with purpose. Hatch wins a free-kick which Keane takes but Smith heads clear as the home side clear their lines. 6 mins - Encouraging start for the Lambs at the minute but skipper Smith pokes well over following Shaw's right wing corner. Nothing threatening Tyler just yet though. 4 mins - Slow start by both sides but Tamworth marginally on top at this very early stage. 2 mins - First sight of goal and it's the host's veteran right-back Lyttle who sends a driving shot from 25 yards well over the crossbar. 1 min And we're off as Tamworth get us underway in their all red strip kicking down the slope to their home support standing on an uncovered terrace. 15:01 CHANGING ENDS The Town will be playing up the slope in this first half. 15:00 HALF THE GROUND Town fans are taking over. Half the ground is awash with orange, white and blue. The handshakes and coin toss are complete and we're almost set. Enjoy the updates. COYH! 14:57 HERE THEY COME Out come to the two sides on to the pitch as the Hatters fans begin to find full voice. The Town are in their white  away shirts this afternoon. 14:54 ACROBATIC LAMB The home mascot is Lamb dressed in all-red home strip. He's showing off his tricks on the turf prior to kick-off winding up the away support. 14:52 ON THE SLOPE There's a distinct slope running from one end of the pitch to the other here at the Lamb Ground. Not sure how much of an advantage it will be. I have no stats to hand on the affects it as on the Lambs' results. 14:51 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 2-0 Luton. Tom Leech: 2-1 Luton. Carl Field: 4-0 Luton. Ian Pearce: 3-0 Luton. Euan Duncan: 3-0 Luton. Bill Cole: 3-1 Luton. Simon Pitts: 1-0 Luton. 14:46 T-SHIRT WEATHER Still lovely sunshine here in Tamworth. It's on days like these that we wished the press box was out in the open... 14:42 OUTNUMBERED There are plenty of Hatters fans already inside the neat, tidy and very hospitable Lamb Ground. Over 1,300 tickets were sold before midday yesterday and I'm not surprised if a few more creep in on the day. What is for sure is that, given Tamworth's home average of 1,000, there will be more Town supporters here than their home counterparts this afternoon. It'll be almost like a home game. 14:35 TWO CHANGES In come Shane Blackett and Liam Hatch as Richard Money makes two changes to the side that thrashed Grays Athletic 6-0 last week. Hat-trick hero Kevin Gallen is one that misses out with Janos Kovacs also sitting it out, joining Gallen on another strong substitutes' bench. There's no keeper on the bench. Hatters: Tyler; Asafu-Adjaye, Pilkington, Blackett, Murray; Gnakpa, Heslop, Keane, Howells; Hatch, Craddock. Subs: Newton, Gallen, Barnes-Homer, Kovacs, Jarvis. Tamworth: Alcock, Tait, Blackwood, Smith, Wylde, Pritchard, Sheridan, Shaw, Lyttle, Smith, Christie. Subs: MacKenzie, Wright, Briscoe, Mitchell, Lake-Gaskin. 14:20 ON AIR In the press box Nick Owen has just been interviewed by BBC WM Radio. He's talking up the Town's chances this afternoon and it's all smiles as talk turns to getting back in the Football League. No team news yet. 13:10 LOVELY LOVELY The sun is shining brighter than ever before - it's got to be the warmest day of the year. The Lamb Ground is bathed in beautiful sunshine and I tell you what the pitch here looks absolutely beautiful. Horticultural enthusiasts would have a field day. It looks immaculate. Perfect for the Town's free-flowing football. 12:25 FACEBOOK THOUGHTS Toby Barrett: 2-0 Luton. Antony Atkins: 3-0 Luton. Wayne Foster: 3-1 Luton. Dirk Bates: 4-1 Luton Chris Slattery: 4-1 Luton, with a brace from Kevin Gallen. Luke Raffermati: 5-0 Luton. Darrly Dilley: "I want to see another five or six in the net so the goal difference against Stevenage doesn't matter as much." Adam Driscoll: "Another tough game, but if we play like the previous 9 games I think we'll bring home the points. I'm going for Tamworth 1-4 Luton with goals from Craddock (2), Gallen & Heslop." Michael Hodges: "Any win will do for me." Tracy Ring: 3-0 Luton, "Craddock hat-trick." Terrie George: 5-1 Luton. Petey Staniforth: 4-1 Luton. Chris Jordan: "Please guys just win. It's a harder game than we think." Kevin Isley: 5-0 Luton. Andy Brett: 6-0 Luton. Paul Hubbocks: 2-1 Luton. "Please lose Stevenage!" Iain McGill: "A win by any score and hopefully a win for Forest Green!"
12:10 WEATHER WATCH It's a lovely spring afternoon in Staffordshire. The sun is shining and there is a light breeze. Perfect football conditions. 11:00 PERFECT 10?  The last time the Town won 10 matches in a row, Joe Kinnear was in charge and Steve Howard was scoring for fun and Matthew Taylor was ripping Third Division defences to shreds. A 3-1 win at Swansea City in March 2002 was the 10th win a 12-match winning sequence and  a victory guaranteed promotion to the Second Division, now League One. However, such a winning run was still not enough to lift the Third Division title as Plymouth pipped them by five points. Eight years on and the Hatters go to Tamworth in the Blue Square Premier hunting their 10th successive victory in a bid to keep on the coat-tails of leaders Stevenage in the race for the title and, most importantly, the sole automatic promotion place to the Football League. Two points behind Stevenage, with the Hertfordshire side with a game in hand, Richard Money's men need to keep up their fantastic run of form if they're to catch Boro. Money said after last Monday's 6-0 win over Grays that his team must not come off the pitch after slipping up knowing that Stevenage have too. Missed opportunities are not an option. The Town have just got to keep winning and hope that somewhere, somehow Forest Green, Altrincham, Kidderminster, Gateshead and York do them a favour. However for the Hatters to keep winning, it won't be easy against Gary Mills' side this afternoon. After all they've won at home to Stevenage and away at Oxford this season. It makes the narrow 2-1 win at Kenilworth Road back in October look an even more impressive result and I'm sure all Town fans making the trip to Staffordshire will take a similar scoreline come 10 to five. The Hatters faithful might have been accustomed to six and eight goal scorelines recently but at this stage of the season ANY win will do. And let's just hope that Dave Hockaday's Forest Green - fighting for their lives to stay in the division - can squeak out a result against the odds at Broadhall Way. Well, whatever happens at the Lamb Ground 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 has made international radio while groups in his honour have sprouted up on social networking site Facebook. And afterwards we'll have all the reaction from the men that matter this after, bringing you exclusive video content! 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 www.hatterspics.co.uk - our brand new online image library. Remember, we want you to get in touch. Join the updates and get in touch! Email andrew.barringer@lutontown.co.uk 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

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