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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:48 14th April 2010

LUTON TOWN 6-3 HISTON

Tom Craddock scored his first senior hat-trick as the Hatters went goal crazy again at Kenilworth Road to score six for the second home game running to move to within a point of leaders Stevenage. Against a Histon side still not safe from relegation, for the third home game in a row it took the Town half-an-hour to break the deadlock but once that was broken the floodgates opened. Jake Howells scored the first of his two goals of the night to get the ball rolling on 28 minutes when he tapped home Craddock's neat cut back. Three minutes later the Town doubled their lead when Craddock placed a superb finish beyond Histon goalkeeper David Knight taking Keith Keane's pass in his stride. If it wasn't for Knight in the Stutes' goal the Hatters could have been even further ahead but the home faithful only had to wait four minutes into the second half to see a third goal when Craddock pounced on some awful defending to place another shot home for his second of the night. Three became four on 56 minutes when Howells tucked home his second when Craddock spurned the chance for his treble when seeing a header saved by Knight from Adam Newton's dinked cross. However, back come the visitors and Daniel Sparkes reduced arrears on 69 minutes to make it 4-1 when crashing home a shot from close range at the back post in off the crossbar. The Town were getting lax and Histon made it 4-2 when Nat Knight-Percival sent the ball past Mark Tyler on 74 minutes. But three minutes later the three goal cushion was restored when Simon Heslop was upended in the penalty area by Glen Southam and Craddock sent Knight the wrong way to ensure he went home with the matchball. On 84 minutes Kevin Gallen got in on the act to hit the Hatters' sixth striking a shot straight at Knight who fumbled the ball through his hands much to the delight of the home crowd. However, the Stutes responded again and Southam cracked home possibly was the goal of the night from the edge of the box with a super curling shot to make it 6-3 with three minutes to go. Chances continued to fall the Town's way as they chased a seventh but they had to settle for six...again to make it 30 goals scored in their past seven home matches - all of which have been won. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Full-time from Kenilworth Road Luton Town 6 (Howells 29, 56 Craddock 32, 49, 77 (pen), Gallen 84) Histon 3 (Sparkes 69, Knight-Percival 74, Southam 87) Final score FULL-TIME LUTON TOWN 6-3 HISTON - Another win, another six goals. On the Town march. Keep it lutontown.co.uk for all the reaction and interviews. Get in! 90 + 3 - Almost 7-3 as Helsop sees a scorching low drive whistle just past the post. Great hit. Unlucky. 90 mins - Four added minutes for the Hatters to find a seventh...can they get it? 88 mins  Second sub for the Town as Hatch replaces Gallen. 87 mins  GOAL - Hatters 6-3 HISTON - Top strike from Southam, curling home a delightful goal from the edge of the penalty area for the visitors that draws applause from the home faithful. 84 mins  GOOOOOOOAL! HATTERS 6-2 Histon - Erm, make that six...The ball drops to Gallen 15 yards out and the striker whacks it goalwards and for once Knight can't hold it and it squirms hapless over the goaline. That's 30 goals in the last seven home games...do keep up. 82 mins - The attendance at Kenilworth Road is another healthy one: 7,083 including 44 shouting for Histon. 82 mins  First sub of the night for the Hatters as MBH replaces Newton. 78 mins - That's Craddock's 23rd of the season and his 13th goal in 11 matches...not bad going. 77 mins  GOOOOOOOOOAL! HATTERS 5-2 Histon - Tom sends Knight the wrong way and that's the hat-trick. It was Heslop who was upended by Southam. Get in! 76 mins - PENALTY TO LUTON - Chance for Craddock treble. 74 mins  GOAL - Hatters 4-2 HISTON - The Town are getting sloppy as Pilkington's toe away only finds Knight-Percival who taps home. 72 mins - Histon are making a game of this now as tenacious play and close control from Verma results in the midfielder eventually curling a shot just wide of Tyler's left-hand post from the edge of the area. 71 mins -  Back come the Town with half chances for Craddock (blocked) and Heslop (high, wide and handsome). 69 mins GOAL - Hatters 4-1 HISTON - Yeah, so note the lack of extra O's and exclaimation marks in that "GOAL". Histon have pulled one back with Sparkes smashing one home at the back stick in off the crossbar to silence Kenilworth Road. 67 mins - Almost 4-1 as the Hatters have Tyler to thank as Sheringham rifles a terrific shot from 30 yards that catches the Town keeper by surprise but he still manages to parry it to safety. Top effort. 66 mins - Still all the Town and the crowd are in good spirits...Tyler claims a comfortable catch, bowls it quickly out to Gallen who in turn plays a fabulous cross-field pass to Howells who drives forward, cuts inside and sends a right-foot shot narrowly wide of Knight's left-hand post. Great stuff. 65 mins - Half chance for five as Heslop drags a shot wide of the post from 20 yards. 63 mins - All I can say is that the Town are playing some really top football at the minute. Oozing class and confidence. It's great to watch. 62 mins - It must be said that Histon really haven't helped themselves tonight, their defenidng hasn't been great and three of the Hatters goals have come from mistakes by the away defence. 60 mins - Both Craddock and Howells are both sensing hat-tricks now. Murrays bursts down the left and into the box and squares to Craddock who sees a first-time shot blocked before Howells blasts the follow-up straight down Knight's throat with an arrowed drive from 18 yards. How many more can the Town get tonight? 59 mins - Histon have lacked anything in attack and Sheringham sums up their play so far by trying his luck from way outside the area from the right flank that is easy catching practise for Tyler. 56 mins  GOOOOOOOAL! HATTERS 4-0 Histon - This goal lark is easy...Craddock should have the matchball but instead it's Howells whi has his second. Gallen spreads the ball to Asafu-Adjaye down the right. He gets the better of his marker brilliantly to send a cross towards an unmarked Craddock. The hat-trick is at his mercy as he plants a header straight at Knight. But Howells is first to react to side-foot into the empty net. Get in! 52 mins - I said at half-time to the fellow press corps that Craddock would go on and net a hat-trick...He might well do, it just depend on how long Richard Money gives him with MBH and Hatch on the bench. That's his 22nd of the season. He's rising in the goalscoring charts... 49 mins  GOOOOOOAL! HATTERS 3-0 Histon - Easy peasy this one. Tann gives the ball straight to Craddock 25 yards out, the striker runs through unchallenged one-on-one against Knight and the striker pings a delicious first time shot beyond the keeper. 3-0. Good night. 46 mins - No changes for either side at the break. It's getting colder. It's meant to be April! Oh well, let's hope a few goals can warm us up... 46 mins And we're off again for the second half as Histon kick-off with the Town  now shooting towards the 20 or so supporters who have made the journey from Cambrigeshire. COYH! 20:37 CONGRATULATIONS Town fan and current Under-18 Adam Watkins has signed his professional contract on the pitch at half-time. We hope to catch with Adam afterwards on Hatters Player so stay tuned. HALF-TIME LUTON TOWN 2-0 HISTON - Referee Malone calls time on the first 45 minutes and, as usual at Kenilworth Road, the Town are in front and as ever, it took them 30 minutes to break the deadlock. It's been comfortable stuff so far, let's hope for some more goals in the second half. Check back in 15 minutes for all the updates. 45 mins - We've got one additional minute added on at the end of the first 45 as Histon make a change with Oyebanjo withdrawn for Stewart. 44 mins - More work for Knight as he denies Heslop finishing a lovely flowing Town move involving Keane, Craddock, Gallen and Murray. It was the midfielder's shot from close from Murray's cross. We would have been purring over the quality of that one had it gone in. Unlucky. 42 mins - Half a chance for Histon to reduce arrears before the break as Tyler bounces on a dangerous Daniel Sparkes cross from the left with Sheringham sniffing for a tap in. 38 mins - Still all the Hatters and they're looking very comfortable. They are quicker to the ball than Histon almost all the time. 36 mins - Yet more action for the overworked Histon keeper Knight as he has to be alert to tip over Murray's cross is caught in the wind that almost dips into the net from the left. It very, very nearly caught him out. 35 mins - I'm just going to draw your attention to this article...Jake at anytime, anyone? 34 mins - Keane's been everywhere again tonight for the Town but he won't be happy with that effort, skying one way, way over the bar from the edge of the area. 32 mins  GOOOOOOAL! HATTERS 2-0 Histon - Always scoring in bursts. How I love to try and keep up doing these updates. Histon give the ball straight to Keane who races through unchallenged. He finds Craddock to his left who runs with the ball into the area, checks back inside onto his right foot before firing past a flat-footed Knight for his 21st goal of the season. Easy when you know how. Get in! 29 mins  GOOOOOOAL! HATTERS 1-0 Histon - Told you. Just like the Salisbury and Grays games were goalless after half-an-hour the Town now have the lead. Oyebanjo's slip allows Craddock in on goal down the left and he finds Howells with neat pass to fire home first time. Get in! 28 mins - More work for Knight as he has to punch away Keane's left-wing free-kick from underneath the crossbar. 26 mins - Not much goal action in the BSP tonight. Seven games and just one goal so far. 24 mins - Two half-chances in the space of a matter of seconds. Asafu-Adjaye stands up another good cross from the right that Gallen is under. He heads goalwards but his effort is blocked before Craddock attempts a first-time shot on the turn from the rebound that is easy for Knight. 24 mins - All the Hatters now as Knight is called into making another decent save. Keane feeds an unmarked Howells who plunders a great first-time shot that takes the visiting keeper by surprise, gathering it at the second attempt. It's coming... 21 mins - End-to-end now as the Hatters come forward. Firstly a rampaging run from Howells is defended well by Oyebanjo and then a Keane pass finds Craddock who is hacked down in the box by a rash challenge by Knight but the ref says no pen. Still goalless. 20 mins - Back come Histon and Tyler has to be brave cut out a low left-wing cross from Southam. 18 mins - The Town are coming into the much more now. This reminds me of the Salisbury and Grays games. Once one comes, more will follow...(That's jinxed that, then...). 16 mins - Chance for the Hatters and it should be 1-0. Gallen taps the ball back for Ed who launches a right-wing cross to Newton 18 yards from goal. The winger takes the ball on his chest, which beats his marker, before poking a low shot goalwards that is well-saved by a sprawling stop by Knight. Unlucky. 15 mins - I don't think he could do that again if he tried. Histon keeper David Knight miscues his long punt downfield and the ball finds the net...the net underneath the TV gantry that is! 14 mins - The Town are still having plenty of the ball but can't find a way through...yet. 11 mins - Better from the Hatters. Gallen skips down the inside left channel and cuts the ball back for striker partner Craddock but he can only scuff the ball goalwards from 10 yards. The ball eventually falls to Keane, again lurking on the outside of the area, but his shot is deflected wide for a corner. 10 mins - Forward come the Stutes again and Tyler is tested for the first time as he gets down low to his left to keep out Okay's right-foot effort from 25 yards. 7 mins - Chance for Histon. Right-back Oyebanjo gallops down the Town left and sends a terrific cross to the back stick where Charlie Sheringham is lurking. But the son of former England international Teddy can't get onto it as an excellent header from Asafu-Adjaye clears the danger. 4 mins - Very low key opening at cold and windy Kenilworth Road, the only excitement we've had so far is good interplay between Craddock and Howells down the left that Histon eventual clear. 2 mins - It's the usual 4-4-2 for the Town tonight: Tyler in goal, a back four of Ed, Pilks, Blackett and Murray, a midfield four of Howells and Newton down the left and right wings with Keano and Heslop in the middle. Then its Craddock and Gallen up top. 1 min And we're off! At the third time of asking, this game is finally on and it's the Town to get us underway, after changing ends the Hatters are shooting towards the Kenilworth Road end. Come on Luton! 19:47 ALMOST SET Handshakes, photographs and coin tossing done, we're now almost set. Enjoy the updates...COYH! 19:44 HERE THEY COME Out come the two sides onto the pitch, the Town in their traditional orange led by Pilks, Histon in their blue and white hooped away shirts. 19:43 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 5-0 Luton. Carl Field: 3-0 Luton. Bill Cole: 4-0 Luton. James Cunliffe: 2-0 Luton. Euan Duncan: 4-0 Luton. Ian Pearce: 4-0 Luton. 19:35 FILLING IT UP It's all of a sudden got a bit overcast here at Kenilworth Road but the ground is filling up nicely. Plenty of young fans taking advantage of the Kids of 2020 offer. Should be hitting over 7,000 inside the famous old ground tonight. Not many are in the away from Histon, however. About nine at my last count five minutes ago. 19:20 WEATHER WATCH A nice Spring evening but it's tad chilly in Bedfordshire tonight. No sign of any snow/rain/hurricanes on the horizon. 19:05 TWO CHANGES Town boss Richard Money makes two changes to the side that drew 1-1 at Tamworth on Saturday. In come Kevin Gallen and Adam Newton for Liam Hatch and Claude Gnakpa. Hatch takes his seat on another strong bench while the Frenchman has not recovered from a hamstring injury and sits this one out. Hatters: Tyler; Asafu-Adjaye, Pilkington, Blackett, Murray; Newton, Heslop, Keane, Howells; Craddock, Gallen. Subs: Kovacs, Hatch, Barnes-Homer, Nelthorpe, Jarvis. Histon: Knight, Tann, Bygrave, Sheringham, Southam, Verma, Sparkes, Knight-Percival, Oyebanjo, Smith, Okay. Subs: Tidswell, Key, Stewaet, York, Taffe. 18:45 ON THIS DAY This evening's history lesson...74 years ago today the Hatters beat Bristol Rovers 12-0 at Kenilworth Road with Joe Payne scoring 10 of them. What odds on a 12-0 win tonight with Craddock to score 10? 18:25 QUIZ CHAMP We've just had Adam Newton and Shane Gore in the office as they battle out the general knowledge quiz final for Saturday's Altrincham programme. We've had them on video and with the questions naturally tough for the final duel, correct answers are scarce...we'll have the evidence on Hatters Player over the next few days and of course the results in Saturday's programme - so make sure you buy a copy. 18:05 FACEBOOK THOUGHTS Once again our Facebook followers have been expressing their opinion on the official fan page. As usual it's full of confident Hatters fans...some more confident that others!Ollie Dooley: 5-0 Luton "Heslop to get the first." David James: 6-0 Luton. Yvette Jenkins: "As long as we get that result I'm not bothered what the score is." Dusko Dutina: 3-0 Luton. Jamie Mann: 5-1 Luton. Mick McGonnell: 13-0 Luton. Paul Vincent: 2-0 Luton. Matty Clarke: 5-0 Luton. Mark Cunningham: 2-1 Luton. AJ Leakey: 2-0 Luton. James Bacon: "1-0 - an own goal, a goal miles offside, or off someone's hand - I don't care as long as we win" Michael Creamer: 5-0 Luton. Carl Logan: "5-0 sounds good to me." Andy Yule: "2-0 Luton, two first half goals." Greg Rankin: "4-0 - two goals in each half." Mark James: 3-0 Luton. Claire Reeves: 5-0 Luton "COYH - Sending our support from Sandhurst, Berkshire." Steve Brinklow: "COYH - Support from Farnborough, Hampshire." Andy Brett: 9-0 Luton. Bradley Vengina: "If Gallen starts it will be 7-0!" Tracy Ring: "Gutted we drew Saturday. 5-0 if Gallen starts. Marc Bathers: 3-0 Luton Wendy Balzan: "COYH!" Julie Dalton Scudder: 3-1 Luton. Petey Staniforth: "We need as many goals as possible...hopefully a couple from Tom Craddock...because some of us still believe we can pull the title out of the bag, those who are like me and from an era when we used to always survive on the last day of the season know ANYTHING can still happen...and we KNOW we're the better ... See moreside out of us and Stevenage...I've got my son with me tonight, and my son and daughter on Saturday...and you can ask the lower rows in Block D, Kenny End, my kids are the best 'good luck charms' in the game...so COME ON YOU HATTERS!!!....and don't stop believing in our boys." Scott Dryden: 4-0 Luton. 17:30 UH-OH The game is off...apparently the ground is too hard, according to Kevin Watson... Actually, let's not even joke. THE GAME IS ON. 17:10 THIRD TIME LUCKY Good news! As we look out over the Kenilworth Road pitch it is bathed in April sunshine. There's no snow stacked up around the side of the pitch, no ice gripping the steps in the stands and no puddles of water in either goalmouth. Thank goodness for that. It looks - at 5pm - as though at long last Luton Town and Histon will get to play a Blue Square Premier match at Kenilworth Road. About time too. The original Boxing Day game was frustratingly called off because of a deluge of snow while the game on 23rd February fell foul of heavy showers as the Kenilworth Road turf resembled a quagmire. After their winning run of nine successive wins was ended at Tamworth on Saturday the Town will want to get back to winning ways this evening against a Stutes side who still need the points to guarantee safety in the BSP for another season. It's certainly been a rollercoaster season for Alan Lewer's side which disappointingly for the Bridge Road faithful has been nothing like their campaign a year ago in which they reached the Play-offs and were for much of the season challenging Burton for the title. It might be another case of being patient tonight but the Town will hope their good form can continue. A victory would make it seven wins at home on the bounce and would extend their unbeaten run to 12 matches. In any case, a win tonight will close the gap on leaders Stevenage to just one point... ...Graham Westley's side might have two games in hand but there's nothing like putting a bit of pressure on them is there? Let's hope Altrincham, Kidderminster and Gateshead can do us a favour over the next week. Well, whatever happens at Kenilworth Road this evening 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. After Saturday's trip to a tight-squeeze of a press box he's got the freedom of the Kenilworth Road gantry tonight to call home the shots. 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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