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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
15:51 4th March 2010

MANSFIELD TOWN 0-0 LUTON TOWN

A point at the home of one of their promotion rivals should be looked on as a point gained but the Town will look back on what might have been following a goalless draw at Mansfield. The Hatters' overcame a strong opening from the Stags to control and dominate the game and could have pinched all three points had the linesman not judged Jake Howells' 43rd-minute effort to be offside. That 'goal' came about after some terrific build-up play from Richard Money's side: Liam Hatch nodded down Matthew Barnes-Homer's left-wing cross into the path of the young left-footer who fired an expert finish beyond home goalkeeper Alan Marriott.# Showing four changes from the 2-1 defeat at Crawley, the Town played some confident, flowing attacking stuff and managed to contain David Holdsworth's side for long spells whilst dealing with the hosts' threat from set-pieces and long throws. The Hatters came close to opening the scoring before Howells' disallowed effort when centre-half George Pilkington found the side netting after Keith Keane's corner was glanced goalwards by Asa Hall. It was Hall who had the visitors' best effort of the second period when he got above the Mansfield defence again on 49 minutes when he headed inches wide of the target after Howells had swung in a superb curling free-kick into the penalty area. The game swung from end-to-end in a frantic final five minutes with both sides trying to break the deadlock in a late quest for the points. But the nearest the Town came was in the third of four additional minutes when substitute Mark Nwokeji came within a whisker of turning home fellow sub Craig Nelthorpe's left-wing cross. For minute-by-minute analysis - of sorts - see below. Live from Field Mill Mansfield Town 0 Luton Town 0 Latest score FULL-TIME: MANSFIELD TOWN 0-0 LUTON TOWN 90 + 3 mins - Almost a chance at the death for the Town to snatch all three points as Hatch's knock-down is kept in by Nelthorpe who squares looking for Nwokeji but Mansfield manage to scramble it clear before Hatch is booked for a crunching challenge. Time nearly up. 89 mins - Time running out for both sides and they'll be four minutes injury time to add on. Can the Hatters get one? They probably just about deserve one. COYH. 86 mins - Oh and the attendance here at Field Mill is 3,407 which includes 474 singing for the Town, 85 mins - Sorry we've been away. Those internet gremlins have got into the system again. I'm thankful to a random belkin connection via wi-fi...Anyway, it's still 0-0. You haven't missed much. Tom Craddock and Craig Nelthorpe are both on for the Hatters and Craddock came close to making it 1-0 when surging down the right flank and into the box but before he could pull the trigger he was denied by a combination of Brough and Nicholas. Yep, still 0-0. It's 0-0. Still. Sorry. 68 mins - End to end now as fine close control and trickery from Nwokeji engineers a chance for Hall on the edge of the area that the midfielder can only fire high and wide. 67 mins - Back come the Stags as the press in a bid to break the deadlock. Duffy turns to dig out a low cross that eludes everyone in the penalty box. The loose ball falls to Briscoe, who beats Howells, but instead of picking out a team-mate he blasts a shot towards the near post that flashes high and wide. 62 mins - Nwokeji is straight into the action as he does brilliaintly to whip in a vicious right-wing cross that almost finds Hatch who goes down under pressure from Foster. 61 mins - Change for the Hatters as we pass the hour mark with Mark Nwokeji replacing Barnes-Homer who gets a warm around of applause from the travelling contingent. 58 mins - First bit of work to do for Tyler in the Town goal as he does well to cling onto Gary Mills' 35-yard free-kick that is hit hard and low. It takes the Hatters' keeper by surprise as he falls to the ground but it stays out and it remains goalless. 57 mins - Marriott gets his fingers warmed by a long-range and on-target effort from Howells as he is first to meet a Mansfield clearance following Keane's right-wing corner. 53 mins - The Field Mill faithful are getting restless as Duffy chances his arm with a long-range effort that he gets all wrong. Can the Town get a goal their play has warranted so far? 52 mins - Confident attacking play from the Town after Keane does well to break up the play in the middle of the park. MBH, Hall and Hatch all combine but the Stags close ranks and close down the danger. Very encouraging play from Money's men at the minute. Much more like it. 49 mins - Almost 1-0 to the Town. Claude gets sythed down as he tries to get past Mills down the right. From the resulting free-kick swept in by Howells, Hall sees his header drift agonisingly past the post. That was close. Great deliver from Howells. 48 mins - Early possession and pressure from the Hatters at the beginning of this half. Come on Luton. 46 mins - The second half is underway as the Town kick towards their support behind the goal. No changes for either side at the break. COYH! HALF-TIME - Mansfield Town 0-0 Luton Town. Technical difficulties are causing havoc here in Nottinghamshire. Please bear with us...The Hatters have played well so far. Hopefully we'll be able to update you in the second 45 minutes. Trust me I can type quicker than this usually! 43 mins - The Town force the ball in to the Mansfield net but it remains goalless. MBH finds Hatch with a lovely cross from the left that the big striker knocks down into the path of the on-rushing Howells who lifts the ball past Marriott with a cute finish by the flag is up for offside and the goal is ruled out. Unlucky. 41 mins - Two great opportunities for the Town. Firstly, more a half-chance, as Hatch hunts down a lost cause to put pressure on Stags skipper Foster but can't quite get a shot away before super play down the left from Howells and Murray sees the latter curl a cross across to Gnakpa that is missed by both the Frenchman and the home defence but the chance goes begging. 36 mins - From the resulting corner from Keane, Hall glances a header that looks as though its heading wide before Pilkington arrives ghosting it at the back post but he can force the ball home and the defender's effort hits the side netting. 34 mins - Pressure from the Hatters with Hatch and Gnakpa combine well down the right to eventually tee-up a chance for Hall who smacks a low and well-hit volley goalwards that is deflected behind for a corner. Meanwhile, Jones is down on the penalty spot as is going to be withdrawn for Brough. 27 mins - Frustration for the Town as MBH is denied a clear route to goal after being played in by Keane but referee Lewis blows up for the striker's fair challenge on centre-back Jones. Free-kick to Mansfield. Hmmm... 26 mins - Hearts in mouths time for the Hatters as Kovacs misses his kick in the six yard box as Mansfield chuck another thrown into the box. The clearance could have gone anywhere and luckily for the visitors they are able to clear. 25 mins - Shot on target as the Town press. Hall takes a pass from Gnakpa down the right, beats Challinor with a lovely piece of skills before driving a left-foot shot goalwards that Marriott in the Stags goal has to gather at the second attempt. Moments later Hatch tries an ambitious shot from 30 yards that clears the crossbar. 21 mins - As I said on 13 minutes Howells has looked up for this early doors and goes on a rampaging run down the left, cuts inside to the D. However the sprightly bit of play is ended after the youngster tries to find Gnakpa but his pass his stray and the promising move breaks down. Unlucky. 15 mins - Back come the Stags and Pilkington does well when the last defender to prevent Shaw from bearing down on Tyler's goal. Moments later another Nicholas long-throw causes havoc in the Town penalty box which leads to Duffy heading straight into the arms of the visiting goalkeeper. 13 mins - The Hatters are getting to grips with the game now and, so far, Howells is the one catching the eye on the left flank. He's looking lively. Plenty of endeavour up front by Hatch and Barnes-Homer too. 9 mins - Chance for the Town. Hatch wins a throw down the right which is hurled in by Newton. The ball bobbles along the edge of the area and falls to Murray who tries his luck from 20 yards with a shot that goes just wide. Better from the visitors. 7 mins - Early threat from the home side have come from the long throw-ins of Challinor and Nicholas who have both got one helleva launch on them. The Hatters are dealing with them at the minute. They coming in from both sides... 4 mins - The Town are yet to get into this but I'll tell you how they're lining up: It's 442: Tyler in goal, a back four of Newton, Pilkington, Kovacs, Murray a midfield quartet of Gnakpa and Howells on either flank, Hall and Keane in the middle and MBH and Hatch up top. 2 mins - Bright start from Mansfield as right winger Louis Briscoe twice tries to get the better of the Hatters defence, first running at Murray and then Pilkington before the visitors eventually deal with the danger. 1 mins - It's the Stags that get us underway kicking towards the several hundred Town fans who have made the trip up the M1. 19:45 CONNECTION ISSUES We're having severe internet connection issues so please bear with us. We'll try and give you updates as soon as happen as usual but please keep the faith. The Town are in all white and have made four changes with Kevin Nicholls, Tom Craddock, Kevin Gallen and Rossi Jarvis replaced by Matthew Barnes-Homer, Liam Hatch, Claude Gnakpa and Jake Howells. We're almost set...COYH! 19:45 FOUR CHANGES Hatters: Mark Tyler, Keith Keane, Janos Kovacs, George Pilkington, Adam Newton, Liam Hatch, Asa Hall, Jake Howells, Claude Gnakpa, Freddie Murray, Matthew Barnes-Homer. Substitutes not used: Shane Gore, Tom Craddock, Shane Blackett, Craig Nelthorpe, Mark Nwokeji. Stags: Alan Marriott, Gary Mills, Luke Jones, Louis Briscoe, Rob Duffy, Jon Shaw, Ryan Williams, Luke Foster ( C), Gary Silk, Andy Nicholas, Jon Challinor. Substitutes not used: Neil Collett, Kyle Perry, Kyle Nix, Blair Sturrock, Michael Brough. 19:15 WARMING UP The two sides are out on the Field Mill pitch going through their pre-match preparations and they need to because it's cold up here. It might have been a pleasantly sunny day down in Bedfordshire but it is decidedly hold in Nottinghamshire. No teams as of yet, but we'll keep you posted. 18:30 FACEBOOK THOUGHTS Matthew Storey: Good feeling about this one. Peter Buckeley: I've got 1-0 Craddock in a scorecast. Matthew Williamson: We're going to win 2-0! Up the Hatters. Paul Haines: Any win will do, come on the Town. 17:58 Andy Lightowler: "I've been to about 8 Town matches this season, only seen one win, as I left the Oxford home game early! Good news, I'm not going tonight! So it will be a 3 - 0 win to the Town, hope your sitting down for this one, with a Barnes-Homer hatrick!! COYH." 16:55 PREDICTIONS PLEASE Unable to get up to Field Mill tonight or on your way up in the car or coach now? Get in touch with your predictions, bets and any photos and we'll do our best to upload them. Email andrew.barringer@lutontown.co.uk or get in touch on Facebook or twitter. 16:00 SPRING OPTIMISM For the past two days Kenilworth Road has bee bathed in warm spring sunshine. So enough of this doom and gloom. Please. You should all know by now that supporting Luton Town never comes easy. Yes, two successive defeats have hit the Hatters but that's no reason to abandon hope with 14 matches of the Blue Square Premier campaign remaining. And yes, tonight's trip to Mansfield will be a tough test against a fellow ex-Football League side who share the same ambitious as ourselves: getting out of this league. But the Town are made of stern stuff and bouncing back from their past two defeats is at the top of tonight's agenda. Believe me. It would be fair to assume that manager Richard Money has told his squad to buck their ideas up following Saturday's defeat at Crawley and with the boss hinting at changes this evening - who knows what will happen over the course of 90 minutes in Nottinghamshire. Remember, writing off the Hatters is what most of us do best...before they come back and prove us wrong. Let's hope come half-past nine this evening we're toasting the Town getting back on track... Whatever happens at Field Mill tonight 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 earlier this month has made international radio while groups in his honour have sprouted up on social networking site Facebook. He'll be here at Field Mill to call home the shots so make sure you tune in! 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!
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