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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
10:41 26th August 2010

HATTERS 1-1 NEWPORT

Matthew Barnes-Homer's miss from the penalty spot cost the Town their 100 per cent start to the season as they were held at home to Newport County. The striker, enjoying such a rich vein of scoring form in front of goal, saw his spot-kick stopped by County goalkeeper Glyn Thompson on 73 minutes. Dean Holdsworth's Exiles had shocked Kenilworth Road by taking a 26th-minute lead through Charlie Henry. But the visitors' lead was cut short just four minutes later when Czech centre-half Zdenek Kroca poked home the Hatters' equaliser following Andy Drury's right-wing corner. The Town dominated the second period but after Barnes-Homer's miss from the spot, County came close to pinching the points when Gary Warren headed wide five minutes from time. With two minutes left on the clock, the Town, frustrated, were reduced to 10 men when Keith Keane was shown his second yellow card of the night and was subsequently red-carded. Despite the dropped points however, the Hatters do stay top of the table. Every cloud... For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Result from Kenilworth Road Luton Town 1 (Kroca 30) Newport County 1 (Henry 26) Full-time FULL-TIME - LUTON TOWN 1-1 NEWPORT COUNTY - All the reaction and action to come. 90 mins - Five additional mintues to play for either side to find a winner. Come on Luton. 89 mins - RED CARD - The Town are down to 10 as Keane receives a second yellow after clipping Matthews. No arguments there. 88 mins - Half a chance for the Town as they attempt to eek out a winner but Howells heads at Thompson from Drury's cross from the left. How much injury will there be? That's the big question. 87 mins - The Hatters are trying to force their way through the Exiles' back line but just can't do it. Frustration very much the name of the game here with three minutes left. 85 mins - Hearts in mouths time for the Town as Warren heads a Todd corner inches, inches wide of the target. My word that should have been 2-1 to County. 83 mins - Erm, with seven minutes left, Matthews, the County forward, is already playing for time, taking the ball into the corner. Madness. 80 mins - Oh, Thompson's been in fine form for the visitors tonight and he follows up his penalty save by stopping a curling Drury shot from the outside of the box after taking Crow's pass in his stride. It was an excellent shot and it look destined to head in before a glove came out. Can the Town beat this keeper? 79 mins No, not been MBH's night and he's withdrawn for Craddock. Tommy's got 11+ minutes with Crow to force a winner. 76 mins - Half-hearted appeals from the Hatters for a second penalty in the space of four minutes but the ref's not having it as Gleeson goes down in the box. Meanwhile, Craddock is primed to enter the fray. 74 mins - So Barnes-Homer scuppers his chance for his sixth of the campaign. The pen was originally awarded following Rose's rash challenge on Crow. No doubt about the decision but what a disappointing penalty. 15 left to find a winner. 73 mins - MBH misses, Thompson makes the save, diving down to right. Oh dear. 72 mins - PENALTY TO LUTON! 71 mins - Double half sniff for the Hatters, twice from Barnes-Homer as firstly he races clear but is forced wide by Warren and then, from the resulting corner from Drury, Newport. 69 mins - Back come the Town but they can't test Thompson as MBH heads Howells' left wing cross wide at the back post. Can the Hatters regain the ascendency? 68 mins - From the resulting free-kick goalscorer Henry comes within a whisker of curling home County's second. Thar was close. 67 mins - It's frustration around the ground at the minute and it's transmitted onto the pitch as Keane is booked for a foul on Morgan who lays poleaxed on the turf. 65 mins - Tonight's attendance at Kenilworth Road is the biggest of the season so far: 6,945 that includes 423 shouting for County. 64 mins Talking of which...Crow is coming on for Gallen. 63 mins - Just a quick note, if you're in a nervous disposition: Crow and Craddock are still on the bench. The pair hit 44 goals in the Conference last season. Here's hoping...(if they're needed, of course). 61 mins - Close shave at the end of the Town as County press. A deep free-kick from Morgan floated the back-stick finds Matthews who does well, diving to keep the alive but no-one in white can turn the ball home to the relief of the home support. 59 mins - Didn't really want to mention it but County are keen to waste time in every stoppage in play and it's narking the home faithful. Still, half-an-hour left to find a winner. 57 mins - Not been MBH's night so far as he attempts to smash a shot from distance goalwards but it's wayward, flashing well wide of Thompson's goal. 56 mins  Indeed it is Howells as he replaces Gnakpa in the Hatters' first change of the night. Drury moves to the right as Jake goes down the left flank. 54 mins - Activity on the Town bench, looks like Howells... 50 mins - Not much to report so far in the opening five to this half but nice play from County sees Henry feed Morgan down the left but the little left-winger, after cutting inside Gleeson, can only arrow a shot miles wide of the target. 47 mins - Bright start from the Hatters, comfortably possession no more than that though. 46 mins No changes at the break for either side as the Town restart, kicking towards the Kenny. HALF-TIME Sorry, few internet issues, right on the stroke of half-time. Don't worry you didn't miss much: just the sound of the ref blowing for the break. 1-1 at the break, it's been a good game so far. More to come me thinks. Check back in, not 15, but try 10...COYH! 45 + 2 mins - Almost a chance for the Town to lead at the break as Drury tiptoes down the left and squares to Gallen who can only scuff a shot wide. 45 mins - Two additional minutes at the end of this half, by the way. 43 mins - Sorry, currently enjoying watching a lovely spell of possession football from the Hatters. Although it ends with MBH foulding a County defender the Kenilworth Road crowd still sound their appreciation. Nice to watch, that. 42 mins - Thompson is really earning his corn this evening. This time he pounces on a Fred Murray cross from the left after good interplay between Gallen and Drury. 40 mins - As we approach the break the Hatters will be disappointed that, after working Thompson three times, that they don't have the lead. That said, Newport will probably feel the same, although Tyler hasn't been as overworked as his opposite number. 39 mins - Newport's goal means that not a single press box prediction or pre-match betting tip will win today. Sorry. 37 mins - Oh the Newport net should be bulging for a second time as Gallen tees up a Barnes-Homer with a cute square pass but with the goal gaping MBH's shot is well blocked by a brave stop from Thompson. Should be 2-1 but a good save nonetheless. Great awareness from Gallen. 35 mins - End to end stuff now and County don't help themselves as from a long throw from Morgan he receives the ball back down the left. He attempts to pass it all the way back to goalkeeper Thompson but he gets it all wrong and the stopper as to clear it out for a throw level with the six yard box. However, the Town can't punish them. 31 mins - The Town are now surging forward looking for that second and Drury pings a devilish ball from the left across goal. No-one is able to connect and the ball almost shaves the County upright. That was close. Good game this. 31 mins - That's the Czech's second of the season and boy did he enjoy that. He loves playing and scoring, you can tell with that smile. He races over the Town support in the Main Stand corner, sliding to his knees in celebration. Lovely stuff. 30 mins  GOAL!! HATTERS 1-1 Newport - Well that didn't last long! From a right-wing corner from Drury, MBH scuffs a shot goalwards that drops free to who else but Czech defender Kroca who pokes the ball underneath Thompson and despite the best efforts of Odimambo on the line the ball is in the net and crowd - and Kroca - go wild. Get in! 28 mins - County are well on top now and Henry is becoming a right menace down the right. This time he curls a cross aimed for Matthews but Tyler is able to claim an easy catch. The Town need to up it now. 26 mins  GOAL! Hatters 0-1 NEWPORT - Well the the Town had been warned and a minute after Rose had seen a well-hit low shot deflected behind by Murray, Henry gives the visitors the lead. Picking the ball up on the left hand edge of the area he makes a yard of space for himself before sending a low shot skimming off the turf and beyond the dive of Tyler. Oh dear. Great strike. 25 mins - Great chance for County. Kroca sells himself earlier and Matthews skips down the left and cuts it back for no-one and with the goal gaping Keane is able to clear. 24 mins - More enterprise from the Exiles as Morgan balloons a shot high and wide of Tyler's left-hand post when well positioned. He's not happy and neither are his team-mates. 22 mins - County have weathered the Town storm well and come back and threaten the hosts. Firstly neat passing almost gets Reid through by Pilkington's fine interception cuts it out. Seconds later excellent wing play from Henry down the right sees the midfielder dink a dangerous shot aimed for the backpost - and going in - until Tyler stretches to make a good catch. 17 mins - Typically the action subsides but the Hatters have played some decent stuff in this opening quarter-of-an-hour and to be fair to County they're sitting back. Entertaining so far. 14 mins - And still it keeps coming. This time MBH should do better as he scuffs a right-foot shot from the left-hand edge of the six yard box after being found by Drury's cute throughball. It's good to watch but can they find a goal? Let's hope so. 13 mins - More pressure from Money's men as Gallen tests the agilty of Thompson with a snapshot on the turn from 15 yards after tenacious play from Gnakpa left the ball free in the Newport area. Can they make this count? 11 mins - Super stuff from the Town as they register their first shot on target of the night. Lovely close control from Drury, finds Fred Murray who's pass down the line is flicked on around the corner by Gallen into the path of Drury. He plays a first-time pass into MBH who takes a touch before blasting a shot from 20 yards straight at Thompson who has to punch the ball away. Unlucky. 9 mins - Dean Holdsworth's side certainly aren't parking the bus and Tyler get his gloves warm for the first time of the evening to get down to comfortably gather a speculative shot from Kenny Morgan 25 yards out from the left wing. 6 mins - Newport have settled down but back come the Hatters and great play from Drury finds Gnakpa who slides in MBH but the striker, looking for sixth goal in four games, is denied a shot by Todd's intervention right on the edge of the 18 yard box. 4 mins - Anxious glances at referee Berry as Reid goes down under a Town challenge but the whistler's not interested: no pen. 3 mins - Typical early exchanges from both sides with the Town looking confident and County a little nervy, conceding an early corner from which Drury whips in from the right that Kroca heads goalwards but Thompson is equal to in the visitors' goal. 1 min  It's the visitors who get us underway, kicking towards the Kenilworth Road end. Enjoy the updates. COYH! 19:40 HERE THEY COME Out come the two teams, the Town in orange and Newport in their change strip of white shirts and black shorts and socks. 19:37 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 3-0 Luton, James Cunliffe: 2-0 Luton, Mark Wood: 4-0 Luton, Mike Simmonds: 2-0 Luton, Simon Pitts 1-0 Luton, Ian Pearce: 3-0 Luton. 19:28 BUILDING-UP As Yes' Owner of a Lonely heart echoes around the ground through the PA system the ground is filling up nicely including, already, 250 or so from Newport in the away end. We're expecting around 500 from South Wales here at Kenilworth Road this evening. 19:20 PITCH PERFECT We've just been pitchside and as manager's Richard Money and Dean Holdsworth enjoy a chinwag as the players warm up, you can't help notice that the pitch looks in immaculate condition. With both teams keen to get the ball down the deck and play it should be a very good game tonight. 19:05 ONE CHANGE Richard Money makes one change to the Town starting XI that beat Fleetwood Town 3-0 at the weekend. Kevin Gallen returns in attack in the place of Danny Crow who drops to the bench - and what a strong one that looks. Hatters: Tyler, Gleeson, F. Murray, Keane, G. Pilkington, Barnes-Homer, Drury, Kroca, Besta, Gnakpa, Gallen. Subs: Newton, Craddock, Howells, Crow, G. Pilkington. Newport: Thompson, Bignot, Collins, Warren, Todd, Rose, Reid, Henry, Odhiambo, Matthews, Morgan. Subs: Rogers, Foley, Thorne, Knights, Garner. 18:50 TEAMS COMING SOON Will Richard Money make any changes following Saturday's 3-0 win over Fleetwood? Stay tuned over the next 25 minutes for all the news from the dressing room. 18:35 LOOK AROUND The Newport players have just walked out onto the lovely Kenilworth Road turf and survey the stadium...and duly get drenched by a water sprinkler... 18:25 BRIGHTER SKIES The sun is emerging over Kenilworth Road with kick-off one hour and 20 minutes away. 18:00 ON THIS DAY The Town have played 16 times on the 24th August and have an indifferent record of six wins, seven defeats and three draws. Only two of those wins were by more than the odd goal with a 2-0 victory over Coventry in 1949 and a 3-1 success over Rotherham in 1968 the best. The most illustrious opponents on this day were Liverpool when they were held to a goalless draw at Kenilworth Road at the start of the 1991/92 season. 17:30 WEATHER WATCH A tad overcast here in LU4. 16:00 CONNECT FOUR Considering after 87 minutes of the opening game of the season the Town's campaign was already considered in jeopardy by a small minority, the 122 minutes that have followed ain't been bad have they? Starting with Matthew Barnes-Homer splendid strike to earn all three points against Altrincham 10 days ago, the Hatters - and Barnes-Homer in particular - have gone from strength to strength. "It will be a very tough week," manager Richard Money said the Monday before the Town embarked on paper what looked tricky trips to Kettering and Fleetwood. Six goals and six points later the Hatters find themselves looking down on the rest from the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier, even at this early stage of a seasonmany tip Money's men to flourish. And boy doesn't it feel good? Of course it does. But let's not get carried away just yet. Remember Oxford? Ok, whisper it quietly they went onto win promotion eventually via the Play-Offs, but the U's stormed to the summit of the BSBP last term with bookies on the verge of paying out on Chris Wilder's side to win the Championship, such was their advantage over the rest as Christmas approached before they were eventually overhauled and overtaken by Stevenage. While the Hatters are still some way off from recording such a blistering start to the campaign this time round, expectations will no doubt rocket skywards once again. After all, they're our team, right? So, three games and nine points up (an improvement of just two points from last season's start by the way) and the Town are playing some pretty impressive stuff which has got everybody talking. Managing expectation and calming an excited group of footballers down is the job of Money and that will be exactly what the Hatters boss be explaining to his players before they entertain Newport County this evening. Newly-promoted from the Blue Square South as runaway Champions last season, obtaining 100 points and scoring 100+ goals in the process, Dean Holdsworth's County will be keen to upset the Town's perfect start to this season and show the division that they are better value than the two points that sit next to their name in the table. The last time the Hatters won their opening four games to a campaign they went on and won promotion to the Championship as League 1 champions in 2005. And five years on the Town's objective remains the same. Promotion certainty isn't won in August but if a fourth successive win was achieved tonight the talk of the Town might just resound a little louder come 10 o'clock. Well, whatever happens at Kenilworth Road this evening, and throughout the season, 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 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 still brought to you by Simon "Statto" Pitts but he's got company this time! The DiverseFM team have collaborated with BBC Three Counties radio and the Club to bring you the Luton Town Show. Following the final whistle we'll have all the reaction from the men that matter this after, bringing you exclusive video content from Richard Money and from the dressing room. We'll have plenty of content to keep you interested as we'll have all of the post-match reaction from Richard as well as match action from Gareth Owen to follow after the final whistle. Be sure to check out www.hatterspics.co.uk - our online image library. Like a picture you see and fancy having that on a mug? Well, fancy no more - with Hatters Pics it's a reality. 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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