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17:19 28th December 2009


After 16 days without a game the Hatters came from a goal down to earn their first home league victory since the beginning of October with a comfortable win over lowly Eastbourne Borough. Sterling work from volunteers and members of club staff assisted the groundsmen to enable the game with Garry Wilson's Sports to go ahead. However, six minutes in those that did help were probably wishing they hadn't bothered as the visitors - without a league win since September - took a shock lead. Matt Crabb and Simon Johnson combined on the edge of the penalty area and after a string of one-touch passing Crabb was on hand to fire the ball through the legs of Kevin Pilkington from 10 yards. There was no doubting the Town had started rather shakily but they were only behind for three minutes as Tom Craddock's wayward attempt from the left-hand edge of the area was sidefooted home by the on-rushing Matthew Barnes-Homer from six yards to level matters. Ten minutes later the Hatters were in front when Craddock's goalbound shot was saved by Danny Knowles in the visitors goal and Kevin Gallen was on-hand to convert from close range for his eighth goal of the season. It got better for Gallen on 36 minutes when he doubled his tally for the afternoon when scoring an almost carbon copy of his first when reacting quickest to another parry from Knowles after he had saved Barnes-Homer's curling shot. After falling behind the Town were well in command and could have easily netted a further couple of goals before the interval. The second period was much different to the first as Eastbourne looked to reduce arrears but in truth it never looked likely. Chances were few and far between for either side in the second 45 minutes but the freezing cold Kenilworth Road crowd were treated to a fourth Hatters goal 15 minutes from time. Adam Newton found Gallen who in turn fed Kevin Nicholls. The skipper, had time and space to roll the ball into the path of an unmarked Rossi Jarvis inside the penalty area and the midfielder guided a well struck shot beyond Knowles for his second of the season. Chances were still in short supply but late efforts from Keith Keane and Nicholls were comfortable for Knowles but in the end you can't argue with four goals and three points. The perfect end to 2009. Happy New Year. For minute-by-minute analysis see below Full time from Kenilworth Road Luton Town 4 (Barnes Homer 9, Gallen 19, 36, Jarvis 75) Eastbourne Borough 1 (M. Crabb 6) Result FULL TIME  LUTON TOWN 4-1 EASTBOURNE BOROUGH - Four goals, three points. All the reaction to come. COYH! 90 + 1 mins - The Hatters could do with a fifth to boost their goal difference and as the game winds down Nicholls and then Keane see shots from distance comfortably saved by Knowles in the visitors' goal. Still 4-1. 90 mins - We've got three added minutes here... 90 mins - Things are drawing to a close here but Weatherstone is clearly looking for a goal to reduce the deficit. He curls a free-kick inches wide of the right-hand post. Don't think Pilkington would have got there. Decent effort. 86 mins - Wasteful from the Boro as substitute Simon Weatherstone cracks an effort high, wide and handsome. 83 mins - Some late pressure from the visitors but they've yet to test Pilkington in the Town goal. Can the Hatters add a late fifth though? 79 mins - Second sub for the Town as Asafu-Adjaye replaces Craddock. 75 mins  GOAL! HATTERS 4-1 Eastbourne - The Kenilworth Road crowd who had become frustrated with the lack of goals are on their feet to toast a lovely fourth. Newton runs down the right, feeds Gallen. He turns to pass to Nicholls who pokes a lovely ball through to an unmarked Jarvis who steers the ball expertly past Knowles for his second goal of season. Get in! 73 mins - This half hasn't been as action-packed as the first which is a little disappointing but the Town are still well in control. 70 mins - The attendance at Kenilworth Road is another decent one. 6,646 including 92 shouting for the visitors. 67 mins - Stoppage in play as MBH receives some treatment for cramp. He's back on his feet but the striker is playing no further part in the game and is replaced by Asa Hall. 63 mins - Still 3-1 - bit of a lull in proceedings here. It's getting colder though! 58 mins - As we approach the hour mark the Town are still in control. Boro need a goal if they're going to turn this game on it's head. With that in mind boss Garry Wilson makes his first change introducing Nathan Crabb, brother of goalscorer Matt, for James Fraser. 54 mins - Eastbourne are giving MBH too much space. This time he beats the offside trap but bending his run to speed on to a lovely throughball from Jarvis. He races towards the penalty area and sends a pacey cross looking for Gallen but the ball is travelling too quickly and the striker is unable to reach it as he looks for his hat-trick. 52 mins - Nico's in the book and the referee's pointing suggesting its for persistant fouling. A tad harsh considering the latest challenge looked as though he got the ball. 49 mins - Close shave for the Hatters as terrific play from Enver-Marum sees the Sports striker beat Keane and Newton and blast a fierce shot goalwards that zooms over Pilkington's crossbar with real venom. It was such a great piece of individual play that is draws applause from the home crowd. 48 mins - Almost 4-1 as Jarvis feeds Craddock down the left. He takes a great touch to get away from his marker before spinning and hitting a left-foot shot on that bounces agonisingly wide of the post after taking a deflection of a Boro defender. Unlucky. 47 mins - It's a mini-reshuffle for the Hatters following Blackett's introduction with Keane moving to right back and Newton to right wing. 46 mins - We're back under way at Kenilworth Road and there is a change for the Town at the break. Gnakpa has been replaced by Shane Blackett. Also it seems that a few more Eastbourne fans have turned up now. A least another minibus full and they are trying to get behind their side. Blackett is straight into the action too, as he heads over Nicholls' right-wing corner moments into the second 45. HALF-TIME Luton Town 3-1 Eastbourne Borough - Well after going behind the Town are now firmly in control of this festive fixture and well on their way to three valuable points. More goals in the second half? Let's hope so. Check back in 15 minutes for more updates COYH! 45 + 2 mins - Enver-Marum has been one that has impressed for the visitors. From his direct run his shot sails harmlessly over the bar. 45 mins - We've got two additional minutes at the end of the first half. Can we get another? 44 mins - Great chance for 4-1 but Gnakpa can't pick out a pass to Jarvis waiting for the ball on the edge of the area with Craddock, Barnes-Homer and Gallen also waiting for the cut back. Such a shame. 38 mins - The Town are well in command now. This bumper crowd have been treated to four goals already inside the opening 36 minutes - not bad. MBH has looked a real threat. Anyone for anymore? 36 mins  GOAL! HATTERS 3-1 Eastbourne - MBH is prooving to be a right menace as he sets-up the Town's third and Gallen's second. Craddock finds Barnes-Homer on the edge of the area. He wriggles past his marker and fires a super shot that looks like it's going to be 3-1. Instead Knowles again makes a good save diving down to his left to repel the shot. But for the second time the loose ball falls to Gallen and, with Boro looking for offside, the striker makes no mistake rifling it home for 3-1. Get in! 34 mins - MBH is sensing a second and after picking up the loose ball fires the ball just over the bar. 32 mins - Tenacious play from Gallen down the right flank sees the scorer of the Town's second cross towards MBH. Austin heads the ball behind for a corner from which Nicholls finds George Pilkington who sends a bullet header flashing over the crossbar. 31 mins - Been pretty even-steven for the past five minutes or so as we've just had our first player come to contact with one of the piles of snow as Johnson races down the right flank and sends a dangerous ball flashing across goal but ends up diving into the snow at the Kenny End. 25 mins - Good spell for the Town as firstly Craddock twists and turns in the area and sees a shot blocked by Ben Austin. More good play between Craddock and Nicholls sets up Gnakpa can only handball and the chance goes begging. 25 mins - Two great chances for the visitors to level in the space of a minute as on both occasions Taylor is the provider for Enver-Marum. Firstly he should do better when failing to connect when presented with a super chance inside the six yard box and then seconds later he could only poke straight at Pilkington. Still 2-1. 23 mins - There are many fans that have made the trip up from Sussex to be here this afternoon but they are all huddled in a cluster in the 'O' of Luton in the Oak Road stand. One of them is just wearing a t-shirt. Brrrrr... 19 mins  GOAL! HATTERS 2-1 Eastbourne - More good news! Nicholls finds MBH with a inch-perfect quick free-kick. The striker brings the ball down well with good control before squaring to Craddock. He sees his low effort destined for the bottom corner pushed away by Knowles but Gallen is on hand to turn home the loose ball tight along the touchline, helped on its way in by the despairing Sports goalkeeper. Get in! 15 mins - Close call for the Hatters as they are indebted to Kevin Gallen to head the ball clear under his own crossbar to deny Jamie Taylor from tapping home. From the resulting corner a poor clearance from MBH falls straight to Simon Johnson on the edge of the area but the Boro midfielder can only screw a tame shot wide of Pilkington's right-hand post. 12 mins - It's all go. The Town look to have recovered well from that early scare but the Sports are just as confident in finding the target again. After all, they've done it once. Got all the makings of a top game now. 9 mins  GOAL! HATTERS 1-1 Eastbourne - Good news. The Town are behind for three minutes as Barnes-Homer diverts a Craddock shot beyond Danny Knowles in the visitors' goal from six yards. The new striker took a pass from Claude Gnakpa to deliver a right-wing cross to Craddock. The former Middlesbrough striker twisted past his marker before firing a shot that looked to be heading wide that MBH (we're calling him that from now on) to guide home with a side-footed finish. Get in! 6 mins - GOAL - Hatters 0-1 EASTBOURNE - Bad news. Eastbourne probably came here thinking a point would a be good result. It could be much better than that for the Sports. Simon Johnson combines superbly with Matt Crabb playing the ball between unchallenged by the Town defence. The fourth pass from Johnson to Crabb findds the midfielder 10 yards out and he shoots through the legs of Pilkington to give the visitors a shock lead. 5 mins - Not much action to report so far. Kenilworth Road is pretty quiet. The visitors are playing 4-5-1 with Liam Enver-Marum up top on his own. 3 mins - The Hatters are lining up 4-4-2 with a back four of (right-to-left) of Adam Newton, George Pilkington, Keith Keane and Jake Howells; a midfield of Claude Gnakpa, Kevin Nicholls, Rossi Jarvis and Tom Craddock with Matthew Barnes-Homer and Kevin Gallen up top. 1 min - This festive fixture is under way as Eastbourne kick-off shooting towards the Kenilworth Road end. 14:58 ALMOST SET Here they come, the Town are in their traditional orange shirts while Eastbourne are in their all sky blue away shirts. We're almosts ready - COYH! 14:40 THIRST FOR FOOTBALL There won't be 27,000 inside the famous old ground of ours today like there was 50 years ago but still a bumper crowd of football-starved supporters are steadily taking their seats. Plenty of hats and gloves on show plus plenty of fans braving the elements to show off their new home and away shirts to their mates. Twenty minutes to kick-off and the atmosphere is building. 14:20 THREE CHANGES Town boss Richard Money makes three changes to the side that lost 3-1 at Cambridge United in the FA Trophy. In come Jake Howells and strikers Tom Craddock and Matthew Barnes-Homer with the latter making his first home start in attack. Out go Shane Blackett, Alan White and Freddie Murray. There are places on the bench for Mark Nwokeji and Ed Asafu-Adjaye. Luton Town: K. Pilkington; Keane, G. Pilkington, Newton, Howells; Craddock, Nicholls, Jarvis, Gnakpa; Barnes-Homer, Gallen. Substitutes: Asafu-Adjaye, Blackett, Gore, Hall, Nwokeji. Eastbourne Borough: Knowles, Austin, Pullen, Armstrong, Enver-Marum, M. Crabb, Johnson, Taylor, Fraser, Elphick, Brown. Substitutes: Smart, Atkin, Weatherstone, N. Crabb, Rowe. 14:08 LATE ARRIVALS The Eastbourne side have only just arrived at Kenilworth Road. They've been stuck on their coach on the motorway for the past hour crawling through the holiday traffic. After beating the weather that was the last thing we needed - the opponents not turning up. Game on! 14:05 FIRST CHANGE We've been notified that one of today's assistant referees won't be on duty. Mr Power won't be braving the elements. Mr Coggins, will, however, be running the line. Remember, we're always first for the big stories... 14:00 DUGOUT DELUGE 13:55 GETTING COLDER There is a real cold bite to air out there at the minute so if you're still at home and coming along then wrap up warm! Remember the club shop has loads of new stock available to keep yourselves warm against the cold. Scarves, hats and gloves will be the order of the day to day. Don't forget trips to Southampton, Histon midweek, Gateshead and Barrow all lie ahead... 13:30 HOW TIMES CHANGE Fifty years ago today the Town were hosting Arsenal at Kenilworth Road in the old First Division, going down to a 1-0 home defeat just two days after beating the Gunners 3-0 at Highbury thanks to two goals from Tony Gregory and one from Gordon Turner. There were 27,055 inside the ground that day... 13:15 WHITE AROUND THE EDGES It's bitterly cold out there at the minute and I've just stolen a quick peek at the pitch. Considering what it has had to put up with it looks in magnificent nick. Around all four sides of the surfaces lies piles of snow that have been cleared. An absolutely huge amount of thanks goes out to those volunteers that helped groundsmen Richard Bird and Richard Osborne. We salute you! 12:45 TAKE CARE Just over two hours to go until kick-off at Kenilworth Road and it's just a reminder to you all to take care when making your way to the ground. The pavements and roads around the ground still have patches of thick ice on so please, please tread carefully. For more information click here. 12:30 WELCOME Good afternoon and a warm - and it needs to be warm! - welcome to to our text updates service as the Hatters are finally back in action in the Blue Square Premier after over two weeks off after the matches with Forest Green and Histon had been postponed due to the heavy snowfall. It seems a while since the Town were in action following a 3-1 FA Trophy defeat to Cambridge United on 12th December and hopefully the enforced break will have done Richard Money's side the power of good as they look to edge closer to the play-off places. Eastbourne make their first ever visit to Kenilworth Road and will hoping to end a run of 12 matches with a win even though they're unbeaten in their last five! Will they put off by a bumper Christmas crowd or rise to occasion? What we do know is that Richard Money has an extremely strong squad to choose from for the game with options all over the pitch and we'll have team news, minute-by-minute updates, reaction and match action for you throughout the day. If you're on your way to game remember its still very cold and icy on the pavements approaching the ground so please take care. On 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. 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. He's standing way above the rest inside Kenilworth Road with the best view house, high up in the gantry to give you all the very best commentary of this Christmas cracker. Of course after the action has finished, Hatters Player will have all the post-match interviews from all the men that matter today. Whether on Hatters Player or not, 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. 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! Email during the game and we'll pick the best comments to go live on the site during our live updates. 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.