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17:19 29th September 2010


On a night of high drama the Hatters missed three penalties but two goals in three minutes kept up their unbeaten home record with a 2-0 victory over 10-man Mansfield. Debutant Amari Morgan-Smith and Danny Crow both scored their first goals for the club as the Hatters bounced back to winning ways after the Saturday defeat to Gateshead. But that only tells half the story as Claude Gnakpa, Crow and Matthew Barnes-Homer all missed from 12 yards. With Richard Money making three changes following the defeat in the North East, the Town began well with Morgan-Smith - playing on the left hand side of midfield - a nuisance for Gary Silk, the Stags' right-back right from the start. The night's tension, however, began in a two-minute period starting as early as the sixth minute when referee Cook cautioned Mansfield left-back Kevin Sandwith for a cynical foul on Gnakpa before he booked Keith Keane for a challenge on Kyle Nix. Those bookings seem to be the catalyst for the explosions later - seven more yellow cards and a red were still to follow. When football was played it was the Hatters that were enjoying the most of the ball and, on 14 minutes, they should have had the lead. Crow, 20 yards from goal, spotted Gnakpa racing into the inside right channel and a perfect throughball later the Frenchman was baring down on goal with time to drive a shot that Alan Marriott blocked well. The ball bounced back to Gnakpa who guided a snap-shot goalwards again, but this time the effort rolled just the wrong side of the post. With the Hatters working hard to keep the pressure on David Holdsworth's side, Crow bundled a shot wide of the post after another fine move involving Morgan-Smith, Barnes-Homer and Gnakpa on 25 minutes. The Stags' threat had been minimal but three minutes later the Kenilworth Road faithful were wiping sweat from their brows when Adam Smith somehow headed wide at the back-post when left unmarked. After that let-off the Town upped it again in search of the opening goal with Crow and Gnakpa, in particular, causing the visitors plenty of problems as half-time approached. But with two minutes before the break the drama started which saw two missed penalties, two sending-offs and a 19-man brawl. After Keane had seen a routine free-kick into the box handled by Gary Mills, referee Cook pointed to the penalty spot. Arguments then ensued on who the taker should be with Gnakpa eventually coming out on top to take it. However, Marriott guessed the right way, diving to his left, to keep out the Frenchman's side-footed effort but as the Mansfield players and supporters celebrated the referee spotted encroachment and signalled for a re-take. In the protests Stags skipper Steve Foster was booked but, incredibly, the Town spurned their second bite of the cherry when Crow saw his effort from 12 yards superbly stopped by Marriott, again diving to his left. Within seconds though, as time ticked past the 45 minute mark, 19 players became involved in a ugly confrontation in the Oak Road/Executive Boxes corner which resulted in Foster's second booking and subsequent dismissal. Narked by that decision, visiting boss Holdsworth was sent from the dugout and, eventually, after seven minutes of added time, the referee blew for half-time giving the crowd time to catch their breath. With most inside Kenilworth Road still talking about the incidents at the end of the first 45 they had more to talk about just 13 seconds into the second period when Gnakpa was sent tumbling in the box by Sandwith to give the Hatters their third chance to net from the spot. Marriott had to be at his best to keep out the first two penalties but celebrated this time without needing to intervene as Barnes-Homer lashed his effort high and wide over the crossbar into a disbelieving Kenilworth Road end. A minute later Barnes-Homer saw a shot saved by Marriott but on 51 minutes the relief around the ground was lifted when, finally, the Town had the lead. Jake Howells took a short corner from Keane down the right and squared for Crow who took a touch to beat his man and work a yard of space before thumping an unstoppable right-foot shot into the roof of the net to send the home faithful into raptures. The goal brought the house down and ensured the former Cambridge striker's first goal in Hatters colours since his arrival in the summer. Yet there was no let-up in the action and Hatters fans were on their feet three minutes later to celebrate Morgan-Smith's debut goal. Keane lofted a deep free-kick into the mix that Marriott punched away. The ball fell kindly to the 21-year-old who did the rest - hitting an accurate first-time shot through a sea bodies into the net to double the lead. With Mansfield a man down and two goals down by the hour mark, there was already a sense that the game was over as a contest and Morgan-Smith missed an opportunity to put the game beyond doubt when sending a low shot into the arms of Marriott after Crow had raced clear and unselfishly squared to the new boy. The Hatters were playing keep ball as time ticked away and chances continued to fall their way. Dan Gleeson curled a shot narrowly high and wide on 68 minutes before he set-up his former Cambridge colleague Crow four minutes later that drew a smart reflex save from Marriott. Mansfield almost grabbed a goal against the run of play on 82 minutes but excellent covering from Gleeson snuffed out a chance for Connor to make it 2-1. With the oles ringing around the ground Marriott again came to the visitors' rescue two minutes from time to keep the score at 2-0 when he did well to keep out Zdenek Kroca's glancing header from a Keane free-kick. But after four minutes of added time Cook - who had let the game boil over towards the end of the first 45 - called time on a breathless encounter which will probably be remembered more for the misses from the penalty spot than the victory itself. More importantly it was three points and a third straight home victory and clean sheet. It's back on the motorway for the longest trip of the season to Barrow on Saturday but after that, just think: all three of the Hatters' longest journeys of the campaign are out of the way. And then big-spending Crawley are in town on the Tuesday. See you in Cumbria... For minute-by-minute analysis, see below. Result from Kenilworth Road Luton Town 2 (Crow 51, Morgan-Smith 54) Mansfield Town 0 Final score FULL-TIME LUTON TOWN 2-0 MANSFIELD TOWN - Another home win on an incredible evening's football. All the reaction, action and highlights to follow. 90 mins + 1 - It was three men on three as the Town race clear hunting a third but Newton can't force home a shot after good play between Atieno and Gnakpa. 90 mins - We've got four added minutes to play. Time for a third? 88 mins - Almost three-zip and Marriott comes to the Stags' rescue again, pouncing on a glancing Kroca header from six yards. That was so close. The stopper spilled the shot but neither Atieno or, eventually, Newton, could turn the ball home. 85 mins Third and final sub for the Town as Atieno replaces Crow, who also gets a standing ovation. 82 mins - Half a sniff for the visitors to get one back as Medley races down the right and crosses for Connor but good covering from Gleeson snuffs out the danger. Good defending. 81 mins  Second sub and it's a standing ovation for Morgan-Smith who is replaced by Adam Newton. 80 mins - Not much to tell you about, other than the attendance: 6,024 which includes 303 shouting for the Stags. 75 mins - 15 minutes left and it's total control for the Town at the minute. A few more goals would be nice. 72 mins - Almost a second for Crow as he an ex-Cambridge team-mate Gleeson combine well down the right. The ball is swung in from the flank to find the striker who turns sharply in the box and smashes a shot goalwards that Marriott does really well to parry over the crossbar. Good shot, good save. 71 mins First change of the night for the Town and it's Adam Murray on for Barnes-Homer. 68 mins - Keep ball for the Hatters at the minute and it will take an epic recovery from the visitors if they're to get something from this. Then there's another chance for 3-0 as Gnakpa finds Gleeson 25 yards out who tries his luck with a curling effort that lands up in the Kenny End. 67 mins - It's gone a bit quiet now but Marriott, who has done really well for the Stags tonight in goal, almosts lets a Silk back-past slip underneath his boot and into the net. 63 mins - Breathless action here, two goals, three missed pens and eight booking...and to think there's still around half-an-hour left... 60 mins - Chance for 3-0 and AMS' second as a following move involving MBH and Crow saw the latter race through and square to Morgan-Smith who sees a shot saved by Marriott. Then, moments later Mills is in the book for a cynical challenge on the Town debutant. A lucky boy. 59 mins - This lad Morgan-Smith, or AMS as I'm now calling him, is having a great game and nice wing play from him, linking-up with Murray sets-up a chance for Barnes-Homer (MBH) but he can't get a shot away, crowded out by the Mansfield defence, and the visitors are able to clear. 57 mins - It's all happening here as substitute Medley is booked for simulation by the ref after he'd gone down in the box looking for a pen that wasn't given. 54 mins  GOAL! HATTERS 2-0 Mansfield - Worrying? Us? Not now...And after Crow notches his first for the club, debutant Morgan-Smith does the same. Keane clips in  a deep free-kick that Marriott punches away but the ball falls straight at the feet of the new signing who does the rest, hitting a terrific shot goalwards that beats two Mansfield men on the line. Get in! 51 mins  GOAL! HATTERS 1-0 Mansfield - At last, thank goodness and what a moment for Danny Crow as he blasts home his first goal for the club from six yards after taking a lovely pass from Howells following a short corner from Keane down the left. GET IN! 49 mins - No need for Marriott to keep that one out, this truly is remarkable stuff. Back come the Town though and Barnes-Homer picks the ball up 25 yards out, runs with it before hitting a shot straight at the visiting goalkeeper. 47 mins - Oh dear, oh dear. Barnes-Homer fires it miserably way, way over the crossbar. Incredible scenes. 46 mins - PENALTY TO LUTON! 13 seconds in, it'll be MBH. 46  mins Annnnnnnd we're away for the second half as the Town,  now playing against 10 remember, restart this game, shooting towards the Keniworth Road end. Come on Luton! Come on Luton! The Stags have made a change at the break taking off Adam Smith and replacing him with Tom Naylor. HALF-TIME HATTERS 0-0 MANSFIELD - Ok, to summarise...Mansfield are down to 10....somehow it's goalless...The Town have missed two penalties (although it will only count as one) and after seven added minutes at the end of the half we all can't wait for the second 45 minutes...check back in 15 minutes. 45 + 6 mins - Chance right at the end of the half from Claude, poking it goalwards after Crow had flicked on a Fred Murray right wing cross. Incredible. 45 + 6 mins - We're into the sixth minute of added time... 45 + 3 mins - David Holdsworth, the Stags' boss has been sent to the stands too... 45 + 2 mins - Mansfield's captain Foster has been sent-off for a second booking. Blimey. 45 mins - Now there's a brawl over the far side, 19 players involved. Marriott's made two saves. High drama here. 45 mins - CROW MISSES - INCREDIBLE 45 mins - It'll be Crow this time. 44 mins - CLAUDE MISSES BUT IT'S A RETAKE! 43 mins - PENALTY TO LUTON! Handball by Mills...discussions over the penalty's going to Gnakpa... 42 mins - Three minutes to the break...general consesus so far: the Hatters are the better side but haven't made the breakthrough...yet. 38 mins - Mansfield continue to threaten in patches and Adam Smith, their man source of danger, goes close with a cross-cum-shot that whistles past the post following good play down the left. 36 mins - Still all the a goal coming before the break? More good play from Claude - he's definitely in the mood (is his mum cooking him soup again?) - as he sets-up Gleeson, running ahead from right-back but after he puts in a booming tackle in on Foster, Marriott is able to gather. 33 mins - Succession of corners for the Town as they up it looking to break the deadlock. From the first Crow almost hooks an overhead kick past Marriott but striker Duffy is there to head over the crossbar. 31 mins - Back come the Hatters as Crow robs Sandwith of the ball, he spots Marriott of his line and, almost from the half-way line, the striker goes to lob the goalkeeper but is wayward with his effort which is comfortable for the stopper. 28 mins - Hearts in mouths time for the Town as Manfield miss a good chance. From a corner with Gleeson off the pitch receiving treatment, Smith heads a chance wide when he was all alone at the back post. It looked as though he was in two minds, whether to go for goal or head across goal for a team-mate. Either way, a let-off. 25 mins - Another chance for the Hatters as they continue to press. Morgan-Smith finds MBH just outside the box. Again they look for the ball right to Gnakpa who surges into the box, beats Sandwith with pace and power and sends a vicious low cross to the near post that Crow meets but just sends wide. It was almost as if Crow just fell into the cross, under pressure from Foster. 21 mins - The referee's decisions have frustrated the home faithful so far this evening but this time another one gets on Money's nerves. He wasn't happy. 18 mins - More good play from the Hatters and they're unlucky not to win a corner after good play between Morgan-Smith and Crow slips in Gnakpa again but after tip-toping past Smith he sees a shot just taken off of his foot. Everyone shouts corner. The ref says no. 14 mins - Chance. And it falls to the Town and it's very, very close to the opening goal. Nice play eventually sees Crow in a central position 20 yards out. He spots Gnakpa galloping into the box down the right-hand channel and feeds the Frenchman superbly. Claude is in on goal and shoots fiercely but sees his shot blocked by Marriott. However the ball rebounds back to Gnakpa who instinctively hits a shot back that rolls agonisingly the wrong side of the post. Great  all-round play. Unlucky. 12 mins - The Hatters are on top and Sandwith has got to be really careful. Already on a booking he hauls down Gnakpa and the Town have a free-kick. It could be a long night for Mansfield left-back. 10 mins - Our game-by-game 'boot watch' continues. New boy Morgan-Smith is sporting bright electric blue ones. Very snazzy. 8 mins - 1-1 in bookings now as the ref shows Keano a yellow for a foul on Nix. From the free-kick, communication breaks down between Sandwith and Nix as they both leave it for each other in another contender for worst set-piece routine of the season (there was an entry by Gateshead at the weekend, too.) 6 mins - Six minutes in and referee Cook has to get his cards out as he books the visitors' Sandwith for a crunching challenge on Gnakpa. From the free-kick floated in by Keane, Gnakpa gets up above everyone to head goalwards but his effort narrowly drops wide. 4 mins - Debutant Morgan-Smith has already had a couple of confident touches but he then does his best bit yet. Robbing Stags' right-back Silk he races into the box. He gets past another defender but is slightly knocked off the ball and can't quite get enough on his cross to find Barnes-Homer. 2 mins - So the Hatters are lining up just as thought (see 18:58). Tyler in goal, a back four of Fred Murray, Kroca, Pilks - the skipper, Gleeson, with Morgan-Smith on the left of midfield, Claude on the right, Howells and Keane in the middle of the park with Crow and MBH up top. 1 min Welcome to Kenilworth Road and our live updates and after pre-match huddle it's our visitors Manfield kick-off, shooting towards the Kenilworth Road end. Enjoy the updates. COYH! 19:44 HERE THEY COME Out come the two sides: Town are in orange shirts but have had to change to navy shorts as Mansfield are all in white with a St George's cross emblazoned on their chests. 19:40 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 2-1 Luton, Simon Pitts: 1-1, Ian Pearce: 2-1 Luton, Mark Wood: 2-0 Luton, Mike Simmonds: 3-3, James Cunliffe: 1-1. 19:28 ON THIS DAY The Hatters' record on this day, 28th September, is mixed. It's been six wins, seven defeats and one draw from 14 games since the first in 1929 (a 3-2 home defeat to Walsall). The last game on this date the Town conceded twice in injury time in an LDV Trophy tie against Swansea City in 2004. The full record:
1929 D3S Walsall H L 2-3
1931 D3S Northampton Town A W 2-1
1935 D3S Reading A L 1-2
1946 DIV2 Plymouth Argyle A L 1-2
1957 DIV1 Sunderland A L 0-3
1963 DIV3 Brentford H L 0-2
1968 DIV3 Torquay United H W 1-0
1971 DIV2 Fulham H W 2-0
1974 DIV1 Carlisle United H W 3-1
1985 DIV1 Sheffield Wednesday A L 2-3
1991 DIV1 Notts. County H D 1-1
1996 LD2 Blackpool H W 1-0
2002 LD2 Swindon Town H W 3-0
2004 ASSM Swansea City A L 0-2
18:58 SO... Zdenek Kroca has over come his concussion and Taiwo Atieno is on the bench after his dismissal at Gateshead was overturned. Looks like George Pilkington back in defence alongside Kroca with Jake Howells in central midfield with Keith Keane. New boy Amari Morgan-Smith will be on the wing with Danny Crow and MBH up top. 18:55 AS PROMISED: Yep, three changes as Newton, Blackett and Atieno all make way for Howells, Crow and debutant Morgan-Smith. Visitors Mansfield are unchanged following their 4-0 win over Eastbourne at the weekend. Luton Town: Tyler, Gleeson, F. Murray, Keane, G. Pilkington, Morgan-Smith, Barnes-Homer, Kroca, Howells, Gnakpa, Crow. Subs: Newton, Atieno, Blackett, A. Murray, K. Pilkington. Mansfield Town: Marriott, Silk, Sandwith, Mills, Foster, C. Smith, Duffy, Nix, A. Smith, Istead, Connor. Subs: Briscoe, Naylor, Stonehouse, Medley, Collett. 18:45 THREE CHANGES Howells, Crow and new signing Morgan-Smith in...Full team to follow. 18:30 WEATHER WATCH It's a mild, still evening here at Kenilworth Road. 18:00 A BUSY DAY SO FAR It's been a busy day at Kenilworth Road with the following news all released FIRST on New signing Amari Morgan-Smith signs Taiwo Atieno's red card over-turned Forest Green game moved to Monday 11th October 17:00 HOME COMFORTS After spending last week travelling 1,000 miles to the North East and back the Town are - thankfully - back on home soil tonight. (We won't mention it's Barrow away on Saturday...) High-flying and free-scoring Mansfield Town are the visitors and after a disappointing showing at Gateshead on Saturday, the Hatters will hope to bounce back to winning ways this evening against David Holdsworth's visitors. They've walloped York 5-0 and thrashed Eastbourne 4-0 in their last two games and went top of the Blue Square Bet Premier on Saturday evening. Okay so they were displaced by Crawley on the Sunday but that won't dampen the feel-good factor currently surging throughout the Stags' camp. They were also buoyed by news that a new owner took control at Field Mill with a promise to get them back in the Football League. Two games without a win, Richard Money's men go in search of a victory to banish the memories of taking just one point from two arduous journeys to Darlington and Gateshead last week. Back strutting their stuff on the lush green and well-maintained Kenilworth Road turf will be a bonus. Unbeaten in front of the Town faithful, Money's troops have reserved their best performances in LU4. It's the making of a fortress that needs to be kept-up this evening. Cambridge and Wimbledon, the last two visitors to this neck of the woods, were both seen off in convincing fashion here. All the Hatters hope for now is that Mansfield is added to the list of victims to leave Kenilworth Road pointless. Well, whatever happens tonight, 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.