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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:35 20th February 2010

LUTON TOWN 1-2 AFC WIMBLEDON

There was no late show from the Hatters this time at Kenilworth Road as Danny Kedwell's second half strike condemned Richard Money's men to their fifth home defeat. Kedwell's goal midway through the second period came against the run of play in a match dominated by the Town. Playing some good football in the first 45 minutes, the Hatters played some bright, attacking football and could count themselves unlucky to find themselves behind when Nathan Elder put the Dons ahead with goal on 28 minutes. However the visitors' joy was short-lived as within a minute of the restart the Hatters were back on level terms when Tom Craddock grabbed his ninth goal of the campaign when quickest to react to Kevin Nicholls' blocked shot. The Town were playing some nice stuff in the first period but that all changed in the second as both teams struggled to get going on a heavy Kenilworth Road pitch. Despite dominating they failed to test James Pullan in the Wombles goal and they were left to rue their lack of chances when Kedwell beat Janos Kovacs down the left and finished superbly from an acute angle. After sending on Liam Hatch and Matthew Barnes-Homer in a bid to salvage a point the Town continued to press but could not stage a comeback similar to that seen last time at Kenilworth Road against Oxford. Full report to follow. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Result from Kenilworth Road Luton Town 1 (Craddock 29) AFC Wimbledon 2 (Elder 28, Kedwell 64) Full time FULL-TIME LUTON TOWN 1-2 AFC WIMBLEDON. It's all over. It's not good. All the reaction to come. 90 mins + 1 - Chance for 3-1 as Kedwell wriggles down the left flank again and pokes a shot wide of the target with his team-mates screaming at him for pass it square. Still 2-1. 90 mins - Four added minutes for the Town to find do an Oxford again... 90 mins - Great defending from substitute Conroy for the visitors as he heads away Newton's deep and dangerous right wing cross with Hatch lurking at the back post waiting for a tap-in. 89 mins - All the Town as they search in vain of an equaliser. The ball breaks to Barnes-Homer down the right who crosses for an on-rushing Murray who heads over the crossbar from 12 yards. 87 mins Third and final change for the Hatters as Howells replaces Jarvis. 87 mins - Great chance for Newton and it should be 2-2. Newton robs Blanchett and dashes for goal but with only Pullen to beat he can only drag his shot disappointingly wide of the post. 84 mins - The Hatters are seeing plenty of the ball but they cant find away past the Wombles' backline. Frustrating stuff this. 79 mins - All Town pressure now as they look for a leveller as the cries of "shoot!" echo around the ground as Keane swings in a left-wing corner but the Dons defend it well. 76 mins  Yep, it's Hatch on for Hall for the Hatters. That's four strikers on the pitch. Can we get a couple of goals in the last 15 minutes? COYH. 76 mins - It should be two a piece as Jarvis fails to turn home the ball after Murray and Gallen had combined down the left. 75 mins - First change of the day for the Dons as the brilliantly named Ricky Wellard comes on in the place of Elder...Meanwhile more activity on the Town bench. 72 mins - They are trying but it's becoming very frustrating. Murray swings in great centre for Jarvis but the midfielder's header lacks the power and despite being on target it's an easy take for Pullan. 70 mins - The attendance at Kenilworth Road this afternoon is 7,736 which includes 1,012 in the away end. Trailing with 20 to play. Can they turn it around again? 68 mins - My apologies, slight internet connection difficulties and the Hatters are suffering from problems on the pitch too as the visitors lead. Kedwell chased a lost cause down the left, beat Kovacs and drove home a superb finish from a tight angle to send the Dons fans into raptures. 1-2. Not good. On 67 the Town almost fluked themselves level when Murray's cross-cum-shot almost caught out Pullen. 64 mins  GOAL - Hatters 1-2 AFC WIMBLEDON 61 mins  First change for the Town as Barnes-Homer comes on for Nicholls. 59 mins - It's been a scrappy and overall less exicting second half so far. Looks like there is activity on the Hatters bench with Barnes-Homer limbering up by the dugout. 54 mins - Pressure building for the Town as Hall heads over a great chance from Nicholls' left-wing cross to put them in front after Gallen had done well to hold the ball up and lay the ball back to Nico. 51 mins - Some decent play from the Hatters as Nicholls and Murray combine before Craddock switches the ball back down the line for Murray who picks out an unmarked Hall but the midfielder can only hook his left-foot shot well over the crossbar. Good move, shame about the shot. 48 mins - Quiet start to the second half as Hendry, who has a good game for the Dons, shoots from 25 yards that goes straight down Tyler's neck. Easy catch for the Town stopper. 46 mins The two sides are back out on the Kenilworth Road turf ready for the second half and it's the Dons that get the second 45 underway. The Hatters are kicking towards the Kenny End. Come on you Hatters! HALF-TIME A decent first half comes to an end and it's all square at the break following two goals in the space of a minute. It's all very entertaining. Let's hope its more of the same in 15 minutes time. COYH 45 mins - We've got just one minute off time added on at the end of this half. 45 mins - Another decent chance goes begging for Elder as the Dons press. Again its a cross from Gregory from the right that finds the striker who sends a shot into the side netting. He was left alone again. 42 mins - Unrest in on the pitch as Craddock and Taylor both go sliding in on each other with boots flying. Both sets of fans aren't happy either but no cards have been shown by the ref. 39 mins - With half-time fast approaching the Dons almost re-take the lead. Gregory drifts in a cross from the right to an unmarked Elder at the back stick. However the visiting goalscorer can only head into the side netting and the Hatters are let off the hook. 35 mins - There is some lovely football being played out there by the Hatters at the minute. Even the stuff that isn't coming off is good to watch and the home faithful are upping the noise in appreciation. 33 mins - The Town's tails up are up now and Hall is unlucky not to find the net after more good football between Nicholls and Murray down the left. It draws plenty of applause from an impressed home crowd. Come on Luton! 30 mins - Ok, I guess I better tell you about the goals then. Firstly, the visitors take the lead as Elder takes a touch at the back-post from Hendry's right-wing cross to fire past Tyler who almost keeps the ball out before it squirms over the line. Then, 40 seconds later the Hatters are level as Nicholls sees a shot from the edge of the area blocked. The rebound falls nicely to Craddock 12 yards out who expertly guides the ball past Pullen. Lovely finish. 1-1. Game on! 29 mins  GOAL! HATTERS 1-1 AFC Wimbledon 28 mins  GOAL - Hatters 0-1 AFC WIMBLEDON 26 mins - Pullen in the Wombles goal pulls off his second important save of the afternoon and again its from Gallen. Lovely link-up play between the striker and Craddock sees the veteran force the visting stopper into action. 25 mins - Half a chance for the Town as Kovacs heads the ball goalwards following Nico's chipped free-kick into the box. 24 mins - While it's pretty much all the Hatters at the minute they need to be careful. Nicholls and Newton are both guilty of giving the ball away and that sets-up Hendy for a chance to fire a shot goalwards from 25 yards but that's not going to harm Tyler and the ball flashes well wide. 19 mins - More good stuff from the Town as Nicholls finds Craddock in the penalty area with a lovely cross-field pass. The striker spots Jarvis square to his left with a nice header by the midfielder scuffs his shot behind. Nice play with Gallen at the heart of things earlier in the passing move. 17 mins - Chance for the Town as Gallen forces Pullen into a great low save, diving down to his right to keep out the striker's free-kick after Craddock had been upended on the edge of the area by Judge. Then, from the resulting short corner, Pilkington flicks the ball on at the near post but no Hatters man can turn the ball home. 12 mins - More possession from the visitors as firstly Kovacs gets in a crucial touch to head away from Elder before Kedwell makes a hash of a shot 12 yards from goal. 9 mins - Back come the Town as good play between Newton and Jarvis see the latter centre a cross aimed for Gallen who gets his head to the ball before the on-rushing Pullen in the Dons goal. However the visitors are first to the loose ball and the move breaks down. 8 mins - Plenty of songs are being sung by both sets of supporters about a team a certain team a 20 miles north of Luton... 7 mins - The Wombles are finding their feet now as Kedwell chances his arm from 25 yards but sees his low effort blocked by Keane. 5  mins - Chance for the Dons from a set piece as Keane concedes a foul on the edge of the penalty area, however Hendry can only curl over the resulting free-kick. 3 mins - Still all the Town at the this early stage as Hall tries his luck from distance that flashes over the crossbar. Looking good so far. 2 mins - Bright and dominant opening from the Hatters. Gallen holds the ball up in the penalty area and finds Murray down the left who digs out and hooks a brilliant cross to the back post to Jarvis who sends a header goalwards with interest that comes back off the crossbar. That would have been the perfect start. Unlucky. 1 min We're off as the Town get us underway shooting towards a packed Oak Road end. 14:57 HERE THEY COME Out come the two sides greeted by a huge around of applause from both sets of supporters. The Town are in their home strip of orange shirts, white shorts and white socks while the Dons are in their traditional royal blue and yellow shirts, blue shorts and socks. We're almost set...COYH 14:40 ANOTHER BUMPER CROWD We're going to be touching 8,000 for today's attendance and that is going to be helped by 1,000-odd Wombles in the the Oak Road end. That should make for an electric atmosphere. A big Saturday home game atmosphere has been sorely missed this season. 14:30 COLD It's another cold February afternoon at Kenilworth Road. Plenty of hats and scarves on fans and players alike! That said I've just seen one fan just in a home shirt. Funnily enough it had Gallen 20 on the back. Did he know he was going to start today? 14:20 ONE CHANGE The teams are in and there's one change one for the Town. And it's in attack where Kevin Gallen takes the place of Liam Hatch who drops to the substitutes' bench. Howells, Blackett, Hatch and Barnes-Homer on the bench. Not a bad quartet to call upon. Hatters: Tyler, Keane, Kovacs, Pilkington, Newton, Nicholls, Craddock, Hall, Jarvis, Gallen, Murray. Substitutes: Gore, Howells, Blackett, Barnes-Homer, Hatch. Wimbledon: Pullen, Hatton, Blanchett, Gregory, Lorraine, Judge, Poole, Taylor, Kedwell, Elder, Henry. Substitutes: Conroy, Main, Brown, Duncan, Wellard. 14:05 GOALS FROM CORNERS Plenty of people are still talking about Keith Keane's match-winning goal direct from a corner the last time we were at Kenilworth Road when Oxford were beaten. It begs the question, when was the last time we scored a goal straight from a corner? Well, we have the answer...Ceri Hughes, a former Wimbledon player of course, scored for the Town direct from his flag-kick in a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham City on 9th January 1993. And before that? Well that was a Brian Lewis strike in a 2-0 home win over Plymouth Arygle on 21st December 1968. Another today? It's odds-on that the crowd will cry "shoot" every time we go to take one this afternoon. 13:55 HATTERS HISTORY As Roger Wash writes in his page in the Town programme this afternoon, we thought we better tell you that 73 years ago today the Hatters were 3-1 winners at Watford. Ace marksman Joe Payne scored once and set the other two up before a crowd 27,461. Get in! 13:45 HOME COMFORTS It's nice to be at home again. The Hatters have certainly been clocking up the miles so far in 2010 following trips to Southampton, Gateshead, Histon, Barrow, Eastbourne and York. Not that we're complaining as four wins and a draw from the five league fixtures has seen the Town make stealthy progress up the table and into fourth place. With the play-off place continually being cemented, it's the top three teams they are gunning for now especially as Oxford, Stevenage and York are in action in the FA Trophy this afternoon. That said, any Town fan thinking today's game against AFC Wimbledon will be a cakewalk should think again. Terry Brown's Wombles are in fine fettle this season, currently sit in eighth place, and Richard Money said yesterday that they are one of the best teams in the league at the minute. So you've been warned! With both teams in good form, a big crowd expected  - including a big contingent from Wimbledon - it has all the makings of a fascinating 90 minutes. Almost 8,000 people are due through the Kenilworth Road turnstiles this afternoon but if you're not 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, 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. His commentary in injury time against Oxford has sent shockwaves through the local, national and international media and he has overnight become a cult hero! Once again he'll be high above the rest of us, up in the gods of the gantry calling home the shots. The best view in the house for the best commentary in town. Beat that. 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 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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