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22:15 17th August 2010


A hat-trick from Matthew Barnes-Homer eventually proved the difference between the Hatters and a resilient Kettering side in Town's first away game of the new season.

The match may have turned on a second half red card to Poppies striker Iyesden Christie but the truth is, regardless of that fact, Town had already established themselves as the most likely side to take three points in the final stages with a determined display at Rockingham Road.

Former Kidderminster front man Barnes-Homer had given Richard Money's men the lead midway through the first half from the penalty spot, to the delight of Luton's superb travelling supporters who made up more than half the gate.

Ex-Coventry City man Christie levelled seven minutes later to ensure the sides went in at half-time on level terms but he went from hero to villain in the second period when he pushed Zdenek Kroca over the advertising hoardings after 70 mins to collect his second yellow card.

Barnes-Homer went on to add a second after 73 minutes with a powerful close range finish and he made sure of the points with his first treble in Hatters colours with six minutes to go. Ian Roper was twice the aggressor in both penalty incidents and picked up a yellow card on both occassions, reducing the hosts to nine men at the death, as the Hatters took an early lead at the top of the league.

Result from Rockingham Road

Kettering Town 1 (Christie 32)

Luton Town 3 (Barnes-Homer 25 pen, 73, 84 pen)

For minute-by-minute analysis, see below.

FULL-TIME whistleKETTERING TOWN 1-3 LUTON TOWN - A Matthew Barnes-Homer hat-trick wins it for the Hatters to make it six points out of six at the start of the season. All the reaction and photographs to come. COYH!

90 mins + 4 mins - Almost four as Drury lines-up a shot that takes a deflection off Westwood that almost leaves Abbey flat-footed but the ball narrowly bounces wide. Unlucky.

90 mins + 2 mins - Besta, on his debut, has a half-chance, trying his luck from 25 yards that Abbey has covered.

90 mins - We've got four minutes of stoppage time for the Town to find a fourth.

88 mins - Keep ball from the Hatters as the PA announcer says the man of the match, sponsored by specsavers is the ref! Oh dear...

86 mins SubstituteThird and final change as Besta is on for Adam Murray...meanwhile, handbags on the pitch...

84 mins - Kettering's discipline as clearly gone as Abbey, frustrated, boots the ball into the Town fans and is booked for his troubles.

84 mins GOAL! GOAL! Kettering 1-3 HATTERS - Yep, that's the treble, as MBH blasts the spot-kick to Abbey's left. GET IN!


79 mins - 79 minutes in and the Town win their first corner of the night as MBH sees a header deflected behind following Howells' cross. From Drury's flag-kick, that eludes everyone, Howells drives a cross back into the box that takes a deflection which fortunately for Kettering lands up in the gloves of Abbey.

76 mins - All the Town, as they continue to press, like they have done all half, as Adam Murray drag a shot wide of the post.

73 mins GOAL! GOAL! Kettering 1-2 HATTERS - Three minutes after having a man sent off Kettering are behind as Barnes-Homer grabs his second to restore the Town's lead. Crow feeds MBH who in turns finds Drury who smashes a shot straight at Abbey who makes a good save but can't hold and there's the striker, sniffing from close range to power the ball home, high into the net. Get in!

72 mins - The Poppies make their first change of the game now that they're down to 10 with Marna replaced by a fourth ex-Hatters, Paul Furlong.

70 mins - Kettering are down to 10 but we're not sure why, but we're pretty sure it's for a second booking after pushing Kroca needlessly in the back. 11 v 10 for the last 20 minutes.

67 mins - The ball is in the Town net but don't worry it's not going to count as Christie is flagged well offside after heading past Pilkington. Howells is on the left, Drury is now on the right and Crow joins MBH in attack.

65 mins SubstituteDouble change from Richard Money as Danny Crow and Jake Howells come on for Gallen and Gnakpa. The two subs are eventually made a minute between after the referee had restarted the game when only one change had been made.

63 mins - The Hatters are dominating this half but still can't find that second goal. There's another chance as MBH runs forward and finds Gnakpa galloping in the middle of the penalty box. However, good defending from Sol Davis, passing the ball back to Abbey, clears the danger.

60 mins - The attendance at Rockingham Road is 2,906 which includes a magnificent 1,664 shouting or the Town - that's over half the crowd.

59 mins - By the way, followers of our online betting tip have been rewarded with a 5/1 shot when MBH scored first.

57 mins - Frustration for both sides at the minute as they both continue to be guilty of giving the ball away and/or stray offside.

55 mins - A promising start to the second half from the Hatters with three clear-cut chances - let's hope more fall their way and, more importantly, they're taken.

52 mins - It's all the Town now and they really should be ahead as this time MBH heads over a similar - but better - chance to Gnakpa's following another excellent pin-point cross by Drury from the left.

50 mins - Back come the Town as Drury breaks down the left and whips in a cross that Gnakpa meets well with a firm header from just inside the penalty area that goes just over the bar. Unlucky.

49 mins - Half a chance for the hosts as Dance curls a decent free-kick over Pilkington's crossbar from 22 yards after Kroca had felled Christie.

46 mins - Oh dear, it should be 2-1 to the Hatters. A defensive mistake from Graham allows Gallen to square to the on-rushing Drury who drives a shot over the bar when well placed. Unbelievable as Kettering are let off the hook big time.

46 mins whistleSecond half is underway and it's Kettering that kick-off with the Town kicking towards the massed ranks of their away support. No change either at half-time.

HALF-TIME whistleKETTERING TOWN 1-1 LUTON TOWN - All square at the interval here at Rockingham Road with the Hatters marginally on top. Check back in 15 minutes for all the second half updates.

45 + 2 mins - Late flurry from the Town as good play between the front two again sees Gallen have a shot blocked by the midriff of Roper.

45 mins - Two minutes added time at the end of this first half...can the Hatters find a second before the interval?

42 mins - Kettering are guilty of giving the ball away to often, much to annoyance of their manager and supporters, and that enables Drury to feed Gnakpa after tidy play on the ball. However, the Frenchman, 25 yards out, blasts a shot way, way over Abbey's crossbar.

41 mins - It's become a little bit niggly in the past five minutes but then the Town front two combine well after MBH had robbed Roper of the ball down the left. A quick interchange of passing later and Gallen sees a left-foot shot saved comfortably by Abbey.

34 mins - Oh it should be 2-1 to the Town as MBH spurns a great chance for his double. Gallen sprays a lovely ball out to Gnapka down the right who sends a dangerous cross on a plate for the Hatters goalscorer who somehow balloons a shot on the run over Abbey's crossbar. What a miss. Moments before Drury had gone down in the box but this time referee Haywood said no pen.

33 mins GOAL! GOAL! KETTERING 1-1 Hatters - It had been coming and the Poppies are level. Makofo wins a corner down the left from which Dance bends one in that finds an unmarked Christie who planted a firm header past Pilkington.

32 mins - Kettering have upped it since going behind and Makofo is causing the Town all sorts of problems down the left flank.

30 mins - MBH is sensing a second and after bringing down a Fred Murray left-wing cross well, he shifts the ball to his right to work a yard of space before sending a low shot straight at Abbey.

26 mins - Not often you see Richard Money storm out of the dugout but he's not happy about something as he remonstrates with the fourth official. Kettering have done well since going behind and have since forced the first corner of the evening.

25 mins GOAL! GOAL! Kettering 0-1 HATTERS - Two in two for MBH as the striker belts the ball down the middle of the goal past Abbey. The spot-kick had been awarded after Gallen had latched onto Gleeson's pass before being upended by Roper, who was booked for his troubles. Get in!

23 mins - PENALTY TO LUTON - Roper fouls Gallen.

21 mins - Don't worry there's been no internet issues there's just not been much to talk about. It Town slightly have the edge but it remains to be seen if we'll get any goal action to report.

16 mins - End-to-end now as Dance wins a free-kick falling under a challenge from Adam Murray from which Christie glances a header way, way wide Pilkington's right-hand post.

15 mins - Back come the Hatters though as Drury feeds an overlapping Fred Murray who slides in Barnes-Homer who can only slice a left-foot shot high and wide from six yards.

14 mins - First shot on target of the evening and it falls to the hosts. Gleeson gives the ball to Roper who in turn feeds Boucaud. He spots Dance running forward who's eyes light up 20 yards out and fires a low shot which is straight and comfortable for Pilkington in the Town goal.

10 mins - Just so you know the Hatters are lining-up: K. Pilks in goal, a back four of F. Murray, G. Pilks, Kroca and Gleeson; a midfield of Claude on the right, Drury on the left and Keane and A. Murray in the middle with Gallen and MBH up top.

8 mins - Ouch. Kettering's Boucaud gets the ball right in the face following a Adam Murray's forward pass. That must have hurt.

6 mins - First move of any note as it's from the Hatters as Claude does well to force his way past two Kettering men before passing to Barnes-Homer. The striker, confident and in-form fancies his chances but, after taking the ball past another Poppies man he sees a shot driven from the edge of the area blocked by Sol Davis.

3 mins - No action to speak of yet but the away end is packed to the rafters away to our right, almost 1,700 Hatters fans have made the short journey to Rockingham Road.

2 mins - Kettering have made five changes following their goalless draw at Gateshead on Saturday. In their starting XI is three ex Town men: Ian Roper, Sol Davis and goalkeeper Nathan Abbey.

1 min - Apologies but we are here and here is the team news. It's two changes for the Town with goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington and midfielder Claude Gnakpa in for Mark Tyler and Jake Howells who both drop to the bench. There's no place on that bench for Shane Blackett or Tom Craddock but Czech midfielder has passed international clearance and is in the squad.

1 min - And we're off as the Town get us underway all in white. COYH.

19:43 WE'RE HERE!

We've had a few problems with our internet connection but don't worry we are here...standby for all the updates.

    Data provided by Press Association


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