Skip to main content

MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
20:23 12th March 2010

LUTON TOWN 2-1 FOREST GREEN

It was another Kenilworth Road Tuesday night late-show as the Hatters needed a 90th-minute goal from striker Tom Craddock to see off a resolute Forest Green Rovers to go third in the Blue Square Premier. With time running out, and the game drifting to a disappointing 1-1 draw, the striker fired home his 13th goal of the campaign from an acute angle after his original shot had been saved by Rovers goalkeeper Danny Ireland to seal a priceless victory. It had looked as though two penalties would tell the tale of a frustrating 90 minutes for the Town as both teams struggled to test either goalkeeper on a pitch covered in 10 tonnes of sand. It was Dave Hockaday's lowly visitors who enjoyed the brighter start but gradually the Hatters settled down and, although not forcing Ireland into any meaningful action, Kevin Gallen - twice, Craddock and Claude Gnakpa all came within a whisker of opening the scoring with fine off-target efforts. However, seven minutes before the break, the Town had the lead when Craddock dispatched a penalty straight down the middle of Ireland's goal after he had been upended by a clumsy challenge from Rovers' right-back Jared Hodgkiss. The second half was a very stop-start affair with the Hatters often frustrated by the offside flag. With nine minutes left on the clock Kenilworth Road was left in stunned silence as Rovers levelled things up with a penalty of their own converted by Conal Platt after Janos Kovacs had slipped and handled in the penalty area. However, just like they did twice against Oxford last month, the Town came up trumps in the final minute when Craddock struck his second of the night when reacting first to Gnakpa's knock-down following George Pilkington's long pass. With Oxford, York, AFC Wimbledon and Kettering all losing this latest of late shows could be crucial come the season's end. For minute-by-minute analysis, see below. Result from Kenilworth Road Luton Town 2 (Craddock 38 (pen), 90) Forest Green Rovers 1 (Platt 81 (pen)) Full-time FULL-TIME LUTON TOWN 2-1 FOREST GREEN ROVERS - All the reaction to come. 90 mins - We've got four additional minutes to play. 90 mins  GOAL! HATTERS 2-1 Forest Green - Well, we have done. Pilkington centres for Gnakpa who heads on and there's Craddock all alone in the penalty area. His hooks his first effort straight at Ireland before tucking home the rebound from a tight angle. Thank god for that. Get in! 88 mins  - Two minutes and the Town are frustrating the home crowd at the minute. Will there be another late show a la Oxford? 85 mins - Five minutes left - can the Town find a late winner? 81 mins GOAL Hatters 1-1 FOREST GREEN - Platt sends Tyler the wrong way to make it all square. 80 mins - PENALTY TO FOREST GREEN - Kovacs handles in the area. Platt to take it... 75 mins - Two half chances for the Town in the space of a few seconds as firstly Craddock and then Howells both have shots blocked from eight yards. Howells has been impressive since his introduction down the left flank. 73 mins - Still pretty scrappy and pretty frustrating as far as the Hatters are concerned. Neither goalkeeper have been extended this half. 69 mins - A double change for the visitors as Styche and Fowler replace Rankin and Fowler. 68 mins - The attendance has just been given to me. It's the lowest of the season so far: 5,884. That includes 42 from Gloucestershire - the lowest away attendance so far this term, too. 64 mins - One feature and frustration so far tonight as been the number of times the Hatters have been caught offside. Five times already. 63 mins - Half a chance for the visitors as Powell momentarily runs clean through on goal. However, his first touch isn't great and that allows Kovacs to get back and put in a block. 62 mins  Here comes the change and it's MBH who is withdrawn for Jake Howells. Craddock joins Gallen up top with Howells on the left wing. 60 mins - An hour gone and despite having the lead they are still being frustrated by their dogged visitors. Activity on the Town bench meanwhile. 57 mins - Could and should be 2-0. Jarvis' header forward is trod on by Thorne which Barnes-Homer latches on to. The striker strides into the box and goes for goal but with just Ireland to beat the visiting keeper spreads himself well to block the shot. 55 mins - Rovers are up for this now and are looking a lot more offensive this half. Asafu-Adjaye comes to the Town's rescue to turn behind a Stonehouse cross from causing confusion in the box. 54 mins - Gallen is spared his blushes by the offside flag as he somehow misses from five yards with a side-foot finish after being picked-out at the back-post by Pilkington's cross. 49 mins - Subdued opening the second half but Gnakpa almost brings it to life when taking a lovely touch to find Barnes-Homer 20 yards from goal. He drives a shot goalwards that takes a nick off Thorne that almost goes out for a corner but Ireland rushes to keep the ball in play. 46 mins - By the way, Basham has scored a second for Hayes at the Kassam. York and Stevenage are, however, in front in their matches. 46 mins  There is a change at the interval for the Town as Rossi Jarvis replaces Hall in the centre of midfield. 46 mins The Hatters get the second period underway kicking towards the Kenilworth Road end. Let's hope for some more goals in the next three-quarters-of-an-hour. COYH! HALF-TIME LUTON TOWN 1-0 FOREST GREEN ROVERS - Not a great first 45 but we have the lead. Not much more to say than that. Check back 15 minutes for the second half updates. COYH! 44 mins - Back come the visitors again as good wing play from Powell down the left almost fashions a chance for Rankin but Tyler does well to collect the cross at the near post. That was dangerous. Meanwhile, we've got one additional minute to add on. 43 mins - Rovers want an equaliser and they almost snatch a flukey one as Platt's right-wing corner almost drops straight in. Tyler, surprised, has to punch the ball away but only as far as Brown who sees a fierce shot blocked. 39 mins - That's Craddock's 12th goal of the campaign. Two of these have come against FGR. He also missed a penalty at their place back in August. 38 mins  GOAL! HATTERS 1-0 Forest Green - Down the middle from Craddock, and that's the opener. Get in! 37 mins - PENALTY TO LUTON - Gallen feeds Craddock who is needlessly upended by Hodgkiss. It'll be Tom to take it... 34 mins - Frustration reins supreme at the minute as the Town continue to search of the opener, However, elsewhere in the BSP, a Steve Basham goal has given Hayes & Yeading the lead at Oxford. 30 mins - Half-an-hour gone but still no joy for the Hatters as Pilkington, Craddock and Murray combine down the left which sees the latter cross but man is in the box and Rovers clear the danger. 27 mins - Back come Rovers as Brown tests Tyler with a low shot after good work between Platt and Rankin. Easy pickings for the Town stopper. 24 mins - Another chance off target for the Town as they hunt for that all-important opener. Claude surges through the centre of the field, sprays a fine ball out to Gallen down the left. The striker tip-toes along the 18 yard box and squares it back to the Frenchman who blasts a side-foot effort over the crossbar. 23 mins - Hearts in mouth time for the Hatters as Powell goes down in the penalty area under pressure from Gnakpa but referee Fletcher says no pen. 20 mins - A poor pass from Craddock almost gets the Town in trouble at the other end as he attempts a cross-field pass to Asafu-Adjaye that is seizes upon by Powell. Luckily a combination of Keane and Kovacs rectify the danger as Craddock apologises to his team-mates. 18 mins - A goal is coming...Gallen this time turns provider as he swaps passes with Craddock that sees the latter bend a right-foot shot just past the post from the edge of the area. It's an effort that is warmly appreciated by the home faithful. 17 mins - Another effort from the Town and it's Gallen again. He takes Gnakpa's pass in the right channel into his stride and belts a first-time shot goalwards that flashes inches over the crossbar with Ireland beaten. Great effort. Still goalless though. 13 mins - Still very turgid opening. Rovers aren't sitting back. Rankin has looked lively in attack and loan signing Danny Powell is also impressing. Good defending from Pilkington and Kovacs close Rankin down as he worms his way across the penalty area and fails to get a shot at goal. 8 mins - That's better from the Hatters as Gallen comes mightly close to opening the scoring. He twists and turns on the right-hand side of the penalty area after taking a pass from Hall and drives a low shot across goal that is inches away from finding the net. Great play by the veteran front-man. 7 mins - Very slow start from the Town but they're gradually finding their feet on this sandy surface as Gnakpa whips in a vicious cross from the right that Rovers goalkeeper Danny Ireland has to punch away from safety will Gallen lurking. 5 mins - Prediction from Adam Roush: "I predict that Craddock will get at least one goal and one assist before I have to coach the 5th & 6th form boys baseball team this afternoon. COYH!" 4 mins - Formation-wise for the Hatters it's 4-4-2. Ed, Kovacs, Pilks, Murray across the back, Claude, Keane, Hall and Craddock in midfield with MBH and Gallen up-top. 3 mins - There's a hush around the ground so far. A very quiet opening that has been dominated by the visitors who force an early corner that is eventually booted upfield by Craddock. 1 min And we're underway with the visitors kicking-off shooting towards the Kenilworth Road end. COYH! 19:43 HERE THEY COME The two sides are out on the Kenilworth Road pitch with the Town led by George Pilkington. The Hatters are in their now traditional orange shirts, white shorts and socks with Rovers sporting an all-green away strip. 19:41 LET'S BE HAVING YOU I have a feeling it will be the lowest attendance of season tonight. I'm looking towards the Oak Road end and I'm counting about 15 Rovers fans... 19:30 GROUNDMAN GLEE Doing the rounds before kick-off we bump into groundman Richard 'Dickie' Bird. He's all smiles. His hard-work has seemingly paid off. He can't get enough positive feedback. All he asks is that the weather improves between now and the end of the season. I think we all hope that! 19:20 WEATHER WATCH Another cold, clear night here in Bedfordshire. A case or wrapping up warm. Those balmy end-of-season Tuesday night fixtures can't come soon enough... 19:00 THREE CHANGES With Richard Money demanding more from his side, he makes three changes from the side that won 3-2 at Hayes & Yeading on Saturday. Liam Hatch has failed to overcome a niggling hamstring problem picked up in the weekend win and doesn't feature. Ed Asafu-Adjaye, Kevin Gallen and Tom Craddock all come in with Hatch, Jake Howells and Adam Newton all missing out. It means the Hatters start with three strikers. Hatters: Tyler, Asafu-Adjaye, Keane, Kovacs, Pilkington, Craddock, Hall, Gnakpa, Gallen, Murray, Barnes-Homer. Substitutes: Blackett, Gore, Howells, Jarvis, Nwokeji. Forest Green: Ireland, Stonehouse, Brown, Platt, Smith, Powell, Ameobi, Armstrong, Thorne, Hodgkiss, Rankin. Substitutes: Styche, Else, Fowler, Henry, Wilkson.  18:20 HAPPY MEMORIES 25 years ago to the day the Hatters beat Watford 1-0 at Kenilworth Road in an FA Cup fifth round second replay in front of a crowd of 15,586. Wayne Turner was the Town's hero scoring the only goal on his birthday...Happy Birthday Wayne! 17:50 PITCH PRAISE Our Facebook fans on the state of the Kenilworth Road pitch.. Jamie Webber: "I have to hand it to the ground staff". Andy Brett: "Agreed! The pitch looks in good condition! COYH!" Darryl Dilley: "When I consider the state of the grass (or rather mud) patch in the back garden, they have done a brilliant job with the pitch." 17:00 PITCH IMPROVEMENT The Hatters' groundstaff have worked wonders over the past fortnight to ensure the Kenilworth Road is in the best possible condition considering the awful weather we've had to endure this winter. Ok so it might look a tad sandy, but it's flat, firm and looks in decent nick all things considered. Let's hope it works in the Town's favour this evening.   16:30 IT'S GOOD TO BE BACK Twelve games left. Eight at home, four away. I don't know about you, but this season, especially since the turn of the year, it seems nothing but away games for the Hatters with nine of our 12 fixtures this year have been on the road. Oh for a game at Kenilworth Road...and after trips away to Crawley, Mansfield and Hayes & Yeading we now start a run of three on the bounce at home. So time to push on and improve that home form then. Starting tonight against Forest Green Rovers. We've said it countless times before this season - and will no doubt continue to do so at some point again over the next 11 games - but tonight isn't going to be easy. Just ask York City. On the receiving end of a 2-1 defeat to our opponents on Saturday, they have slipped out of the top five. Fighting for their lives to stay in the BSP, Dave Hockaday is bullish about his side's chances of pulling off a shock win (6/1 and upwards at the bookies) at Kenilworth Road. The Rovers boss expects his side to attack - like they did in their weekend win - and that could pray into the Town's hands especially after Richard Money challenged his players to up their goals and goal different. Saturday's 3-2 win over Hayes & Yeading United could and should have been a lot more comfortable than it turned out. "A cricket score," the Town boss bemoaned afterwards. It's been a while since the Hatters stamped their authority on a game, and what better time to do it under the Kenilworth Road floodlights to kick start a run of home fixtures. Well, whatever happens 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. After three games on the road he's back on his perch high above the rest of us calling home the shots in the gantry. 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

    QUICK FACTS

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