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17:14 5th May 2010


The Hatters' disappointingly and frustratingly failed in their bid to regain their Football League status at the first attempt as Chris Carruthers' goal two minutes after the break gave York a 2-0 aggregate victory. At a packed, nervy and colourful Kenilworth Road, the Town were the brighter of the two sides out of the starting blocks. After all, trailing from the first leg, Richard Money's men knew they needed at least one goal to bring the tie level. With the Hatters feeling unjust at losing the first leg to a late goal, there was plenty to like about the Town's first half showing which was both enterprising, but, by the same token, increasingly exasperating. Leading marksman Tom Craddock had the first sniff for the Town on 14 minutes, snatching at a shot which went wide of the post after Simon Heslop had picked him out with a lovely pass on the edge of the area. It was all the Hatters with the Minstermen strikeforce of Richard Brodie and Michael Rankine relying on scraps and on 22 minutes the Hatters should have levelled the aggregate score. Claude Gnakpa beat David McGurk to the ball on the edge of the penalty with the ball dropping kindly for Kevin Gallen. The striker squared to Craddock who gave his veteran partner it back to rifle a side-foot effort that drew a smart stop from Michael Ingham in the City goal. That chance raised the decibel level inside Kenilworth Road but two minutes later Brodie fashioned a great chance all by himself when he cut inside and curled a left-foot shot into the arms of Mark Tyler to send the Town a warning shot of the threat the visitors still possessed. With a gusty win swirling around the ground, long passes were a definite no-no but as the Town continued to try and pass it, all they found was a wall of red and blue halved shirts in their path. A half-chance from a header from Gnakpa got the crowd off their feet on 31 minutes and 10 minutes later - four minutes before the break - a fine passing move around the York penalty area saw Jake Howells drive a dangerous cross goalwards that was eventually cleared. York responded in kind, in first half stoppage time, again through Brodie. This time the BSP's top goal-getter did brilliantly to twist and turn past Freddie Murray and Shane Blackett to blast a shot straight at Tyler. Goalless at the interval it may have been, but two minutes after the restart Hatters hearts sunk to new depths as York doubled their aggregate advantage. Winning a free-kick on the edge of the 18 yard box, Rankine stepped up and arrowed a fierce free-kick that whistled through the Town's wall. The ball bounced off Tyler, running free to the quickest man to it. Unfortunately for the Hatters that man was Carruthers. The blonde haired left-footer had the simple task of poking the loose ball home to send the 1,400 supporters from Yorkshire into ecstasy. Although away goals didn't count, the sucker punch of conceding so early in the second half did at least mean the Town still had 40 minutes to find two goals to take the game to extra time. Money made his first change of the afternoon on 54 minutes when Howells was replaced by Liam Hatch as the Hatters went for the jugular. But if anything York sensed another goal which would have put the game well beyond the hosts and Alex Lawless spurned a great chance to make it 2-0 and 3-0 on aggregate when blasting high and wide after being found unmarked by Rankine. With time against them the Hatters needed to up it but just before the hour Gallen pulled up with what looked a groin problem and was replaced by Matthew Barnes-Homer. Ingham in the Minstermen goal, however, was still enjoying a relatively easy second half between the sticks but on 63 minutes he was called into action to pounce on a Hatch header from Adam Newton's deep right-wing cross as the Town tried in vain to reduce the deficit. With the Town in desperate need for impetus to get their passing game going, they could have done without referee Lewis hobbling off injured, which held the game up for several minutes. The clock continued to tick down and it was almost curtains for the Town on 74 minutes when a Lawless corner bounced up and hit George Pilkington and trickled goalwards. With hearts in mouths, the winner of every end-of-season award under the sun was spared an unfortunate own goal as Newton was on hand to volley off the line to keep it 1-0. Many inside the sell-out crowd were half-consigned to defeat and on 76 minutes many more thought it wasn't going to the be the Hatters' day when Craddock ran through on goal. Asa Hall slipped the striker in one-on-one with Ingham. After getting the better of David McGurk the striker looked away, but the York number five hadn't given up, and an inch-perfect and well-timed tackle robbed the Hatters' number 10 of the ball. As the Town continued to get more desperate in search of a goal, any goal, Hall whacked a free-kick from 20 yards well wide of Ingham's left-hand post before Craddock should have hit the target from the left-side of the penalty area from six yards after delaying a shot following Barnes-Homer's through ball on 81 minutes. York supporters in the Oak Road end began to get more vocal as the Town faithful began to realise the dream for another season was over. The frustration had become increasingly difficult to bear and that transmitted itself on to pitch in the second minute of injury time when Newton kicked the ball away after conceding a free-kick and was shown a second yellow card by substitute whistler Berry. And, after a further three minutes of stoppage time and no further chances, that was that. Scenes of jubilation in the away end were met with sadness in the packed-out home areas who had come to cheer their side to what they hoped was a second successive Wembley appearance. Instead, it will be Newport County and Southport for the loyal Town supporters and another season of Conference football. A disappointing day, but we'll be back. In the aftermath, Money spoke of his desire to fight for promotion next season. "We won't roll over and die," he said afterwards. "The board are up for the fight, I'm up for the fight and we need players that are as well." Fighting talk indeed and that's exactly what the Hatters will need to do next season. See you then. Minute-by-minute analysis below. Luton Town 0 (0) York City 1 (2) (Carruthers 47) Aggregate score in brackets Result FULL-TIME LUTON TOWN 0-1 YORK CITY (AGG 0-2) - This is how the season ends. It feels horrible. 90 mins + 5 - It's almost up as the York fans begin to celebrate... 90 mins + 2 - The Hatters are down to 10 men for the final few moments as the ref shows Newton a second yellow for booting the ball away in frustration. To be honest I didn't know he'd been booked. 90 mins - Five additional minutes for the Hatters to find TWO goals. One won't be enough. Then, Claude tries a shot on the turn after Hatch's flick-on but it goes wide. 89 mins - More frustration as Gnakpa sees a free-kick and his follow-up blocked. 88 mins - I wish I could tell you something was happening, but it just isn't. This feels so awful. 86 mins - Four to go now. This isn't looking good. It quite simply hasn't been our day. 84 mins - Six minutes left, still two goals required to take this to extra time as Hatch goes down injured after being on the receiving end of a nasty knock to the face on the edge of the area. 81 mins - Glorious, glorious chance from Craddock as he seizes on MBH's nice throughball, he's clean on goal, racing in from the left-hand edge of the penalty but delays his shot with the home crowd urging him to, and in the end Graham gets in a block. It's all Luton and it needs to be. But they need two. COME ON! 79 mins - Getting desperate now and after Murray is brought down on the edge of the area Hall tries his luck direct from the free-kick which disappointly screws wide of Ingham's left-hand post. 76 mins - 14 minutes left as choruses of "we love you Luton" begin to break out from the home section and then SUPER chance for the Town. Craddock latches on to Hall's raking pass and he's in on goal. He takes it past McGurk and has Ingham to beat but before he can pull the trigger the visiting defender sticks out a leg makes - it pains me to say it - a really, really good tackle. 74 mins - Almost 2-0 and 3-0 on agg as as devious Lawless corner rebounds inadvertendly off Pilkington. It looks like its going to bounce over the line but Newton is the rescue by whacking clear off the line. That was almost curtains. 74 mins - Looking increasingly like we're going to need a comeback of Oxford proportions...The attendance is 9,781. 72 mins  Third and final change for the Hatters as Money throws on Hall for Heslop. 70 mins - 20 minutes left...two goal needed. Meanwhile, Hall is striped ready to come on. 68 mins - He's finally ready...this has taken the sting out of any Hatters impetetus. 67 mins - We've got a change in referee as Mr Lewis has signalled he can't continue. Looks like the fourth official, Mr Berry, is going to take over the whistle. 65 mins - 25 minutes to go and if it wasn't for the away support you could probably here a pin drop. 63 mins - Decent chance for the Hatters as Newton finds Hatch with a deep cross from the right that striker powers with a header from 12 yards that Ingham leaps to keep out. That's better. 62 mins - All hands on deck at the back for York but nothing seems to be going the Town's way. A long throw from Murray is headed on well by Hatch but nobody is there to get hold of it. 59 mins Second sub in five minutes for the Hatters as Gallen is replaced by Barnes-Homer. We've got half-an-hour to do this. 58 mins - More bad news, Gallen has pulled up and looks to be holding his groin. 56 mins - The have upped it and boy do they too as York have Graham to thank for a super header under pressure from Hatch, right underneath his own crossbar. 55 mins - The Minstermen are still going for this, they want more goals. Rankine and then Lawless have both time and space and eventually the latter tries his luck from 12 yards in the right hand edge of the penalty area that goes high and wide. 54 mins There's the first sub, needs must - off goes Howells and on comes Hatch. 52 mins - Probably fair to say that the Hatters need to go for it and Hatch looks as though he's coming on. 50 mins - The Town faithful need to up it, it's a long way back from this point. Then, York break, sensing a second and third on aggregate, as Lawless drills a shot over Tyler's crossbar after good hold up play from Brodie. 48 mins - The only consolation is that it's never easy, this Luton lark. 40 minutes to score twice. That's what we need to do. Simple as. 47 mins  GOAL Hatters 0-1 YORK (AGG 0-2) - Rankine blasts a free-kick from the edge of the penalty area that Tyler fails to hold at Carruthers bundles the ball over the line to make it 2-0 to York on aggregate. Mountain to climb now. Silence in the home ends. Not good. 46 mins - No change to either side at the break. 46 mins And we're under way for what is a MASSIVE 45 minutes in the history of Luton Town Football Club. Hold on to your hats...Keep with it, come on! It's York who restart, kicking towards their 1400 fans in the Oak. COYH! HALF-TIME  LUTON TOWN 0-0 YORK CITY  (AGG 0-1) - Referee Lewis brings the first half to a close and it's all square at the break and Town still need a goal. They've come close. But it's been no cigar. Check back for some nervous updates in 15 minutes time. COYH! 45 mins - Then back comes Brodie, the scorer in the first leg as he twists and turns past Murray and Blackett and sends a low shot squirming goalwards that Tyler has to push behind. That was close. We've got two added minutes. 44 mins - Brodie crashes himself in the concrete wall in front of the enclosure but as he's off the pitch the Hatters attack but Ingham does well to cling on a lofted pass from Gallen. 41 mins - The Hatters have upped it again by York are throwing themselves at everything. A flowing move involved Gallen, Craddock and Howells sees the latter drive a cross from the left across goal by Purkiss is there to clear the visitors' lines. Very frustrating at the minute. 38 mins - Still 0-0, a goal will change EVERYTHING. The crowd are still somewhat subdued. 36 mins - Who said Keane was struggling? He's playing brilliantly. It does look like he has a knock but it aint showing now. 35 mins - It is all Town but, I think there are a lot of nerves out there. On the pitch, in the stand and in the press box. 34 mins - Shot from Rankine clears Tyler's crossbar after he's ran between Pilkington and Murray. No alarms there. 31 mins - Half a chance for the Hatters as Keane floats in a free-kick into the box after Howells had been upended by Meredith but Gnakpa flicks a faint header off target. 28 mins - It's just not falling for the Town at the minute and it looks as though Keano is struggling in the middle of the park at the minute. 24 mins - Back come York and Tyler is tested for the first time as Brodie hits a decent-looking left-shot looking for the top corner that the Town goalkeeper is equal to. I've said many time before this season: he makes it look so easy. 22 mins - CHANCE. Gnakpa beats McGurk to the ball and Gallen nabs it off his teammate to wriggle inside the area. He squares to Craddock who passes it back to his strike partner. He sends a low, side-foot shot goalwards that looks for all the world 1-0 but Ingham has other ideas ands and pulls of a wonderful save, diving to his left. Good save, good move. Unlucky. 19 mins - Great play by Keane and Claude sets up the Frenchman on a trademark marauding run down the right flank. He does brillaintly to beat Carruthers but then loses the ball. 18 mins - Didn't really want to mention this but York are wasting time every time they take a throw or set-piece. As you can imagine it isn't going down well wit h the home faithful. 17 mins - After a stoppage in play Keane finally takes it. Delivering it quick to the near post it's Brodie that heads clear the danger. The ball then is popped out to Howells who sends a dangerous, curling shot to the back stick that Ingham does well to hold on to. 15 mins - First corner for the Hatters, cries of "shoot" go up as Keane trots over to take it. It's in the exactly same position where he scored against Oxford. 14 mins - First bit of space for Craddock as Helsop does brilliantly to find the striker 18 yards from goal in a central position. He takes a touch but snatches at it, not realising he had a split second more time, and drags a shot wide. Encouraging play from the Hatters. 10 mins - Gallen's getting annoyed with the rough and tumble nature of the visitors' defending so far. He's telling the ref exactly what he thinks. 9 mins - Just noticed that York are sporting their home red and blue halved strip. Not a colour clash? The Hatters wore their white away strip at Bootham Crescent while the Minstermen wore their change sky blue colours when they visited Kenilworth Road in October. 8 mins - Not really much action to tell you about so far but what I can say is that the wind is going to play havoc. Pass it on the deck and we'll be fine. 7 mins Damien Hatchard in Australia, emails: "All the way from Ballarat Australia. Im thinking 3 - 0 .Wembley is calling our name.Lets make it happen HATTERS" 6 mins Kevin Crowe in Namibia, emails: "Huddled round the laptop in my office at the Namibia Football Association. Very nervous, but confident that the boys can do it. 4-1 Luton, Gallen brace, Craddock and Gnakpa. Come on Luton!!" 5 mins - Back come the visitors as central midfielder Barrett tries his luck from 20 yards that Tyler gets down to his left, saving comfortably. 4 mins - Almost everyone in the executive box balconies are on their feet. 3 mins - Half chance for the Town as Craddock takes a chest pass from Gallen, beats Purkiss, gets into the box, pulls the trigger and sees a shot blocked. He gets to the byline but can't pick out Gallen. Good start for the Hatters. 2 mins - So it's as you were at a sunny but windy Kenilworth Road. Tyler in goal, a defence of Newton, Pilkington, the captain, Blackett, Murray, a midfield of Claude, Howells, Keane and Heslop with Gallen and Craddock up top. 1 mins  The Hatters kick-off and it's an early touch for Ingham in the York goal. 15:05 SWITCH The teams are switching ends, the Town are attacking the Kenny end in this first half. 15:04 THE MESSAGE IS CLEAR COME ON YOU HATTERS 15:04 HANDSHAKES All done and dusted, coin toss decided - almost ready... 15:02 PARTISAN? Fully behind the Hatters from the press box this afternoon. COYH! 15:01 HERE THEY ARE! WOW. What an entrance. 14:56 PLEASE NOTE There will be NO press box predictions this afternoon. 14:55 WHAT A SIGHT The ground looks incredible. That's all I'm saying. Packed to the rafters. Colour, noise, just missing one thing: the players. 14:55 WI-FI! We're live now in the press box and fans in the Century Club are getting in the way of the WiFi signal! 14:54 GREAT ATMOSPHERE At a SELL OUT Kenilworth Road. Nothing better. Five minutes to go... 14:45 RICHARD MONEY Bumped into the Town boss in the tunnel. He's swings around a white and orange scarf. The next Mancini? 14:42 ORANGE Splashes of orange now decorate Kenilworth Road as the noise goes up for the first time as the teams are read out over the public address system for the first time. York fans are making themselves heard and back bite the Hatters fans in the corner. Atmosphere is building. 14:35 PITCHSIDE Just off pitchside to soak up the pre-match atmosphere. 14:33 DUTCH COURAGE Guy Mutton emails: "Sitting in the Algarve, having a few Superboks to calm the nerves. I hope Rushden wasn't my last match this seasons. COYH" 14:30 TEXAS CALLING Judi Polansky emails: "Hi Andrew, No bank holiday here in Texas so I will be following your text updates from work again. My 12 year old son couldn't come to the JPT last year because of exams but I told him if we make it this time I'll bring him and his sister. So lots of finger crossing over here! Good luck to the Town today." 14:30 PRESS PACK Plenty of interest this one from the local and national media. Local ITV and BBC camera crews are here, as are Sky Sports. 14:25 FILLING UP The famous old ground of ours is slowly filling up...mostly with visiting York fans. The sun is out but it's very windy. 14:14 BOTH TEAMS UNCHANGED Both Richard Money and Martin Foyle name unchanged sides following the first leg. It's the same subs for the Hatters while York make one change on the bench with ex-Town loanee Courtney Pitt named. Hatters: Tyler; Newton, Pilkington, Blackett, Murray; Gnakpa, Heslop, Keane, Howells; Gallen, Craddock. Subs: Hall, Kovacs, Gore, Hatch, Barnes-Homer. York: Ingham, Rankine, Graham, Purkiss, Brodie, Meredith, Carruthers, McGurk, Lawless, Mackin, Barrett. Subs: Gash, Mimms, Parslow, Sangare, Pitt. 14:00 ONE HOUR TO GO The atmosphere in and around the ground is building. All that does is highten the nerves! 13:50 HISTORY LESSON An important game today, important games 25 and 51 years ago. A quarter of a century ago Arsenal were the visitors to Kenilworth Road. On 4th May 1985, wo goals from Mick Harford and one from Emeka Nwajiobi helped the Hatters to a 3-1 win in the old first division. 26 years before that, 2nd May 1959, it the prize was much bigger - at stake: the FA Cup. The Hatters lost at Wembley in front of 100,000 people against Nottingham Forest. 13:25 GOOD OMEN? I bump into fan Andy Lightowler outside the ground. He is confident of success this afternoon and there's a reason why. The Hatters are currently on a sequence of one win in their last five matches... ...that kind of form (one win in five) has happened twice before and the Town have twice gone onto win the sixth match in the sequence... 13:10 BREAKING NEWS As revealed in today's match programme - season ticket prices for 2010/11 have been held. Click here for more details. 13:00 FACEBOOK THOUGHTS An absolute shed-load of feedback on Facebook - fans from across the globe giving their feedback online the social networking website. Plenty of confident predictions and nerves, as one would expect. Check out 12:55 YOUR EMAILS ( Gary in Daventry: "Morning all

absolutley gutted i can't make it today. have had to go into work, will be out in time to listen to it, so i'm hoping to hear the roof lift off the place and a few goals hit the back of the net, no nails left from in the week so there could be a couple of lagers sunk to calm the nerves. Prediction 3-0 Hatters - Craddock 2, MBH 1. COYH."

Christopher Higby: "Can't get to the game your commentary is fantastic hoping and praying with everything crossed 3-1 Hatters." Rudolf Kyd, Zurich, Switzerland: "Another 3 hours to go - i'm sitting in my office in Z├╝rich and longing for kick off c'mon you hatters - !!!!!" Graham: "Oh My God Andrew. I have never been so nervous in my life !!
What is it about this club of ours that brings out such emotion, tears of pain, tears of joy and now nervous tears made worse by not being there for the first time in many years, I am tempted to just hang around outside the ground just to soak up the atmosphere whilst listening on the radio, which is first class by the way, hats off to Simon for his unbiased commentary. My thoughts and wishes go out to all fans and everyone connected with Luton town FC.. Come on you Hatters..."

David in Nicosia, Cyprus: "Andrew, I am watching with interest the website as I live and work in Cyprus and for reasons obvious will not be able to see or listen to the game. Please if you can send my best wishes to the team.Will be crossing fingers and everything! Come on Town show them how to play." The Darragh Family, Sydney, Australia: "Hi Andrew, Mark here from Sydney, Australia. Will be up tonight taking in your colourful descriptions as the game unfolds. Fantastic for an overseas supporter to be in tune with the match. Best of luck to Luton Town in their quest for reinstatement to where they belong - Back in The League .Best regards from a loyal fan far far away." 12:45 FIGHTING TALK Click here and here for Richard Money's pre-match thoughts. Click here for Gary Sweet's rallying call. 12:15 RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW Well, here we go. Deep breath... Three hours to kick-off and the atmosphere around Kenilworth Road is buzzing already. The turnstiles might not be open yet but you only need to take one look around the famous old ground to realise how exciting, how nerve-racking the next few hours are going to be. Trailing from a last-gasp goal from the first leg, the formula is simple for the Town: win. Nothing else will do. Two clear goals will be enough to take them to Wembley for the second successive season. A goal victory will take it to extra time and possibly penalties. Away goals DO NOT count. It's been well documented that following the Hatters is never easy. I guess the first leg summed that up. After 88 minutes last Thursday a confident, slick display at Bootham Crescent gave everyone cause for optimism. A minute later and that positivity took a slight knock when Richard Brodie put the Minstermen ahead with a cool finish. Which sets up today's nicely, doesn't it. A full house at Kenilworth Road - the place is going to be rocking. Nerves, tension, excitement, colour and noise. It's what following the Hatters is all about. COME ON LUTON. Well, whatever happens at Bootham Crescent 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. He up on his perch for the very last time this season and appears in the programme! That boy gets everywhere. He'll be feeling the nerves too, so tune in to get that proper Hatters fan experience. 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 - our brand new online image library. Remember, we want you to get in touch. Join the updates and get in touch! Email 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! 11:40 PITCH PERFECT Head groundsman Richard Bird is putting the finishing touches to the Kenilworth Road turf. It looks in terrific condition. He admits it looks better than he thought it would as he marks out new white lines in the Oak Road goalmouth. 11:15 WEATHER WATCH Sunshine, the occasional shower but windy at Kenilworth Road. 10:20 GOOD MORNING Good morning Town fans. A little earlier than usual, we're opening up our live updates. Nervous? I bet. We'll post a detailed preview in an hour, but for the time being, remember to get in touch. Very keen to hear any fans with superstitions who are coming to the game or listening or reading at home. Plus anything else of course: email
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    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.