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00:13 12th September 2010


The Town returned to winning ways as two first half goals were enough end a run of four games without a victory. Andy Drury put the Hatters ahead on 34 minutes when slotting home from 10 yards after nifty footwork in the box had bamboozled the U's defence. It got better for the Town in first half injury time when captain George Pilkington headed home a Drury corner to double the lead and that was the way in stayed in an exciting game that has become the norm between these two sides. Hatters boss Richard Money made three changes to his starting XI that lost at Grimsby last Saturday with Fred Murray, Drury and Taiwo Atieno all starting. It meant Shane Blackett remained in defence but switched to centre back. Keith Keane did not make the squad with the manager revealing that a scan showed the 23-year-old had a slight tear in his cartilage. It saw Pilkington, moved into central midfield alongside Adam Murray. With plenty of noisy Cambridge supporters in the Oak Road the game kicked-off with a rousing atmosphere but it look eight minutes for either side to create any worthwhile chance. And what an opportunity it was. Claude Gnakpa galloped down the right and swung in a dangerous cross that eluded Barnes-Homer and Atieno but the ball eventually found Drury at the back-post. The winger's first touch was excellent which teed him up to swing a right-boot at the ball but his shot was wide and it flew disappointingly high and wide. The game was slowly starting to come alive and Barnes-Homer should have done better when racing through latching onto ex-United defender Dan Gleeson's raking ball but the striker saw his shot saved by the legs of the on-rushing visiting goalkeeper Simon Brown. Still the Town attacked, and another opportunity to break the deadlock went begging on 16 minutes when home debutant Atieno hooked a shot wide after racing through one-on-one with Brown in a similar move to that of Barnes-Homer's beforehand. The Hatters were still on top playing some decent stuff but they were given a real scare on 32 minutes when United came agonisingly close to taking the lead. A deep cross from the right by Simon Russell was met at the back post by Robbie Willmott whose square cut-back was somehow side-footed wide by Danny Wright from five yards with the goal gaping. That served as a real warning to the hosts and two minutes later they punished the visitors by taking the lead. Freddie Murray's header found Drury with his back to goal in the 18-yard box. A bit of fancy footwork and a calm finish later and that was that. 1-0. Buoyed by the that it was almost 2-0 four minutes later when Barnes-Homer did well to turn and fire a shot against the foot of the post with Brown motionless, after more great wing play from Gnakpa. However the Hatters didn't have to wait long to find the net again as in the first minute of two additional minutes of injury time the captain headed home his first goal of the season. Cambridge needlessly gave away a corner which Drury curled in from the right that saw Pilkington in the right place at the right time to nod the ball past a crowd of players to double his side's advantage. Two-goal leads in recent games between these two sides have proven to be the kiss of death with both sides squandering such leads last season. And despite a bright start by the Hatters in the opening minutes of the second 45 it was Cambridge who began to get on top. Five minutes after the break it was former U Gleeson who came to the Hatters' rescue to keep the score a 2-0 when he stretched to clear Danny Wright's low shot off the line. Sensing a route back into the game Martin Ling's side all of a sudden attacked with real purpose and it was really hearts in the mouth time for the Town faithful on 55 minutes later when Daryl Clare shot wide when well placed and unmarked in the six yard box. The Hatters were letting the visitors play and they thought they had reduced the deficit on 62 minutes when Clare stroked home from 10 yards, but to his frustrations, the goal was chalked off for offside. Yet Cambridge continued to threaten and three minutes later, Clare, who had been quiet until his earlier miss, was denied a real poacher's effort at the near post by an excellent tackle by Blackett. That sprung the Town back into life with Barnes-Homer and substitute Jake Howells coming close as Money's men put the pressure back on the visitors. It looked as though the Hatters had weathered the mini second half storm from the men from the Abbey Stadium but they had other ideas and another goal-line clearance from another ex-Cambridge man kept the score at 2-0. Patient build-up play eventually saw Russell arrow a shot from the right-hand edge of the penalty area. It looked like the ball was going to snake through all the bodies in the box but Freddie Murray was on hand to whack it away despite the best protests from the visitors that it had crossed the line. Money introduced a third former United man to fray when striker Danny Crow replaced Gnakpa and five minutes after his arrival he saw a snapshot from a tight angle turned away well by Russell. As time ticked down the less likely it seemed of a Cambridge comeback, especially with Crow pestering the visitors' stretched defence. On 83 minutes the striker glanced a Howells cross wide before in the final minute he raced clear of the defence to see a shot blocked by the goalkeeper moments after Brown had nearly let a long back-pass from team-mate Willmott slip underneath his boot and roll goalwards. Crow had one last chance to grab a goal against his former employers with the last kick of the game but once again found Brown the barrier. And that was that. Three points, two goals and a first home clean sheet. It was former Hatter Iain Dowie that coined the phrase bouncebackability. The Town did that well today. League leaders AFC Wimbledon are at Kenilworth Road next on Friday, under floodlights. BE THERE. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Result from Kenilworth Road Luton Town 2 (Drury 34, G. Pilkington 45) Cambridge United 0 FULL-TIME HATTERS 2-0 CAMBRIDGE - Two goals, a clean sheet and three points. Done. All the reaction, photographs and interviews to come. Stay tuned! 90 mins - Not happening for Crow as he has another shot well saved by Brown, unlucky. 90 mins - Almost a comedy of errors for Cambridge as goalkeeper Brown almost lets Wilmott's long back-pass go past him before Crow races through looking to score against his old side but is thwarted by a fine stop from Brown. Two added minutes... 88 mins - Two minutes left here... 85 mins - Five left for either side to change the scoreline as Pilks gets in the way to block a goal-bound effort from Carden. 83 mins - Half a chance for Crow to get his name on the scoresheet against his former side as he glances a header wide of the target after meeting Howells' left-wing centre. 79 mins - Back come the Hatters though as Crow forces Brown into a good fingertip save to turn away the striker's shot from what looked an impossibly tight angle from the right-hand edge of the six yard box. 77 mins - Time ticking down for a Cambridge comeback but I better not speak too soon as another ex Cambridge man clears off the line after Russell's shot from the right had beaten everyone. Definitely not over the line and still 2-0. 74 mins  Third and final change for the Hatters and it's ex-U Crow for Claude. 71 mins - Now all of a sudden it's all the Town and they're playing some lovely stuff. There's 6,691 inside Kenilworth Road including 628 from Cambridge. 70 mins - The Hatters have upped it again and from a right-wing corner from Drury Kroca blasts well, well over but there are calls for a Town pen waved away. Nowt is given but Claude's shirt looks as though it was almost ripped off of his back. 68 mins - Almost half a sniff for the Town as they get back into this. Howells races onto a pass by MBH and draws at Brown. He can't find a shooting angle and squares the ball back to the striker but Cambridge get numbers back and clear the danger. 67 mins - Back come the Hatters though as great play from Drury steps up MBH blasts a shot straight at Brown with Howells screaming for it unmarked to his left. 65 mins - Well and truly all United now as Clare is denied by a superb block by Blackett to divert the striker's shot wide of the post following Wright's cross from the right. Top defending from the Hatters' number 12. Nervy moments. Still 2-0 though. 63 mins - The visitors are on top at the minutes as firstly a free-kick from the left and a corner from the right cause confusion in the Hatters penalty box but it's still 2-0. 62 mins - The ball is in the Hatters net but don't worry Clare's cool finish isn't going to count he's well offside, much to the striker's frustration. 61 mins Second change for the Town then as Howells replaces Atieno. Claude up top with MBH an Drury on the right, with Jake on the left. 59 mins - Looks like Howells is ready to come on for the Hatters. 57 mins - More Cambridge pressure as left-back Jennings whips in a dangerous cross from the left that causes confusion in the Town penalty box but neither Wright or Clare can get to it and the Hatters can clear. 55 mins - Oh dear what a chance as another great chance falls the visitors' way. A lofted ball into the box is nodded down and Clare is all alone on the right-hand edge of the six yard box but he completely fluffs his lines and the ball bounces wide. What a miss. 54 mins - In doing so it looks like Gleeson has picked up an injury and on comes Adam Newton in his place. He slots straight into right-back. 50 mins - Everyone is remembering 2-0 leads both sides threw away last seaosn and the U's almost reduce the deficit as Wright beats Tyler to the ball to poke a shot goalwards. The ball is trickling towards the line but who's there to clear the danger at the last moment? Dan Gleeson, right in front of the Cambridge faithful. 49 mins - Positive start to the second 45 from Money's men and MBH and the crowd can't believe he's onside following Adam Murray's intelligent header forward. He could have taken it and headed goalwards but, thinking he was ahead of the play, he decided to leave it. The flag had stayed down. 47 mins - And an early half chance for the Hatters as MBH twists tight down the left-hand edge of the penalty area before seeing a low cross aimed at the near post cut out by Brown. 46 mins  And we're off for the second half as United kick-off shooting towards the Oak Road end. No changes for either side at the interval. HALF-TIME  Town 2-0 Cambridge - Not a bad first half and the Hatters have the dreaded two-goal advantage. They're such a dangerous scoreline in fixtures between these two sides. Check back in 15 minutes for the second half updates. 45 mins + 1  HATTERS 2-0 United - Simple one this. Drury's corner and there's midfielder and skipper George Pilkington to head home from close range. It was either kicked in by a Cambridge defender or clipped the post but who cares, it's 2-0 and there's the half-time whistle. Get in! 45 mins - We've got one additional minute of injury time before the half-time whistle as the Hatters force their second corner. 43 mins - Two minutes to the break and it's still 1-0 but how on earth it's that score is anyone's guess. The Hatters could be at least 3-1 up. Pre-match predictions of a good game are spot on as it stands (and it alway helps when we're winning...) 38 mins - Town tell on top now and it's almost 2-0 as Gnakpa does well down the right to dig out a cross to MBH who turns 15 yards before for hooking a shot goalwards that clips the outside of the post. How unlucky. Great play. 34 mins  HATTERS 1-0 United - Oh lovely stuff and at long last the Hatters have the lead. Fred Murray heads the ball into the path of Drury. He turns his man and with lovely technique finds his way into a great position before caressing a lovely left-foot finish beyond Brown for this second goal in two games. Get in! 32 mins - What a chance and it's hearts in mouths time for the Town as somehow U's strike Wright sidefoots wide with the goal at his mercy after Willmott had done tremendously well to keep the ball in play, sneaking in at the back post down the left to square the ball across goal. What a let-off. 29 mins - ...from which Drury curls harmlessly over the crossbar. Still 0-0. 28 mins - First booking of the afternoon goes to Saah as he chops down MBH and the striker and Gnakpa look to bear down on goal. Free-kick to the Hatters 30 yards out. 25 mins - More evidence of a nice little partnership between the front two as Atieno heads on Fred Murray's long pass really well into the path of MBH who tries to get the better of Coulson before the defender manages to clear. 23 mins - The game has lost its way slightly since that injury but the atmosphere inside the ground is still pretty good, it always helps with a healthy away following. 20 mins - Early change then for the visitors then as Sam Ives comes on for the injured Platt. 18 mins - A stoppage in play as United's Platt receives treatment on the far side. Looks like he's playing no further part, he's being stretchered off. 16 mins - Another great opportunity for the Town to take the lead is spurned as again they beat the offside trap. This time it's Atieno who draws out Brown but just sees his hooked shot find the side netting. All the Hatters now...can they find one? 13 mins - Back come the Town though as they win a succession of long throws each Fred Murray hurls into the visitors' penalty box. The final one Brown makes a hash of trying to claim and Claude is almost kicked in the head by a Cambridge boot. No pen says the ref. Could have been an indirect free-kick in the box. Still no. 9 mins - Breathless action as United break again up field and win a corner but after taking an age to take it, once they do they their short routine is flagged offside. The Hatters could easily be 2-0 up right now. But they're not. It's 0-0. Good game, though. 9 mins - End-to-end stuff as Gleeson plays in MBH who beats the offside trap and is one-on-one with Brown however with all the time in the world he hits a shot at the goalkeeper's legs. 8 mins - And then there is one and it should be 1-0 to the Hatters as Gnakpa whips in a cross from the right. It eludes everyone in the box but falls to Drury at the back stick who sizes up his options before curling a shot high and wide when really well placed. Then, Cambridge break and Wright blasts a shot from 25 yards narrowly over the bar. 7 mins - Still no clear cut chance for either side but I've just noticed Barnes-Homer has nice white boots whilst Taiwo has bright blue ones. 5 mins - Good early link-up, strength and heading prowess from MBH and Atieno up top. Promising so far. Has the makings of the good game, even at this early stage. Probably end 0-0 now. 4 mins - Top atmosphere inside the ground as the Town have the ball for the first time. Good play from MBH releases Claude who pings a ball looking for Atieno but United keeper Brown has is first touch, a simple catch. 2 mins - As predicted the Hatters are lining-up 4-4-2 with Pilks in central midfield with Adam Murray. Blackett is at centre half with Kroca. United on top early doors. No chances of yet. 1 min  And we're off as the Town kick-off shooting towards the Oak Road end where around 450 Cambridge fans are decked out in yellow. 14:58 ALMOST READY Handshakes and coin toss out of the way, we're almost set...enjoy the updates COYH! 14:56 HERE THEY COME The two sides are out on the pitch, the Town in orange with United in their change strip of 'electric blue'. More boos for Crow, more stares back by the striker. 14:51 ATMOSPHERE Yes, atmosphere, it's here inside Kenilworth Road. At last some noisy away support on a Saturday. Should make for a cracking afternoon. 14:48 BOOOOOOO Danny Crow leaves the field to return to the dressing room and is roundly booed by the Cambridge support in the Oak Road end. He gives them a perplexed look, as if to say "why?". Good motivation for him if/when he comes off the bench. 14:45 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 2-1 Luton, Mark Wood: 2-0 Luton, Simon Pitts, 2-1 Luton, Mike Simmonds: 1-1 draw, Ian Pearce: 2-0 Luton, Ian Ryan: 3-2 Luton. 14:35 HOME ON SEPTEMBER 11th On this very day the Town's home record is: played 12, won seven, drawn four, lost one. 14:30 HISTORY LESSON 25 years ago a Mick Harford goal in front of 10,720 earned the Hatters a point in a 1-1 draw at Kenilworth Road against Chelsea. The Hatters went onto finish ninth in the old first (top) division. 14:10 THREE CHANGES Keith Keane is not passed fit to face the U's - who are unchanged by the way from last week's win at Gateshead - as Town boss Richard Money makes three changes to the side that lost 2-0 at Grimsby last Saturday. Andy Drury returns from suspension whilst ex-U Fred Murray comes back in after injury. Shane Blackett, however, retains his place with, what we think, George Pilkington moving into a central midfield position. The other change sees striker Taiwo Atieno partner Matthew Barnes-Homer in attack. Other former Cambridge men included in the Town squad today are Dan Gleeson, who continues at right back and Danny Crow, who is on the bench. Hatters: Tyler, Gleeson, Kroca, Blackett, F.Murray, Gnakpa, A.Murray, G.Pilkington, Drury, Barnes-Homer, Atieno. Subs: K.Pilkington, Newton, Howells, Crow, Besta. U's: Brown, Jenning, Coulson, Saah, Russell, Wright, Clare, Willmott, McAuley, Platt, Carden. Subs: Naisbitt, Partridge, Gray, Ives, Marriott. 14:00 TEAM NEWS COMING SOON Changes, I reckon... 12:45 RESPONSE REQUIRED Four games without a win and all of a sudden there's a sense of panic. Remember, folks this is Luton Town. We never do things the easy way. Three wins to kick the season off got everyone believing that come the end of the season the Town team would match the Arsenal's invincible season. Or that's what it seemed. As Richard Money said yesterday: "To take 10 points from our first four games got everyone a little carried away and the three results since have brought everyone back down to earth." Never a true word spoken. The upbeat-as-ever Hatters boss also said that for a mere 40 minutes (20 minutes against Tamworth and 20 against Grimsby) they haven't performed. For the other 590 minutes the side have played either good, very good or excellent. Three games so far have come at Kenilworth Road and this afternoon an unbeaten home record is on the line. Looking out over the lush green grass before me sitting here in the press box it looks in FABULOUS condition. The football played by the Hatters here has been a joy to watch and today's game promised to be no exception. What's more is that Cambrige United are the visitors. Making the short trip south they will be backed by 500+ in the Oak Road end, buoyed by a 5-0 thumping of Gateshead last weekend. Throw in the added spice of Fred Murray, Dan Gleeson, Danny Crow and Gary Brabin all set to be reunited with their former club and only then do you realise that is game is going to be a cracker. But then, wait! There's more. Last season's two league fixtures were two tumultuous, titanic battles. A 4-3 win for the Hatters at the Abbey Stadium (2-0 down and a man down at half-time) was followed by a 2-2 draw at Kenilworth Road (The Town this time 2-0 up with 10 minutes left - Danny Crow scoring and missing a penalty!). So yes, how do I end this opening gambit? But you're money on a 0-0? No way, this is going to be a good. Well, whatever happens at the Kenilworth Road this afternoon, and indeed 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 - 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 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


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