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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
14:24 23rd January 2011

HATTERS 2-2 GATESHEAD

The Hatters came back from two goals down but could not find a winner as they were held to a frustrating draw against Gateshead. After Danny Crow had missed a great chance to open the scoring after two minutes, the visitors stunned Kenilworth Road by taking a two-goal lead inside the first 16 minutes. Firstly Michael Liddle's 25-yarder beat Mark Tyler, going in off the post on 10 minutes before Martin Brittain's right-wing cross deflected off Jake Howells and looped home six minutes later. With white faces everywhere, shocked at the scoreline, the Hatters soon found their feet, Matthew Barnes-Homer coming close to reducing the deficit on 24 minutes when firing at Tim Deasy in the visitors' goal after Lloyd Owusu had flicked-on Claude Gnakpa's cross. However two minutes later the Tynesiders' lead was halved when Crow finished well from a tight angle after being played by Barnes-Homer's slide rule pass. Owusu had two half chances to equalise but the visitors were still confident of scoring again and they should have made it 3-1 on 34 minutes when Jon Shaw powered a header wide of the target when left unmarked six yards out. Off the hook, the Town responded and they found their equaliser on 36 minutes when a Howells free-kick eludes everyone in the box and hit the post but Gnakpa was first to react and the Frenchman poked home to make it 2-2. As the break approached and the Hatters pressed, referee Merchant reduced the visitors to 10 men in first-half stoppage time when showing a second yellow card to captain Ben Clark. After such a frantic first half the second was anything but. 11 against 10 it may have been but the Tynesiders closed ranks, the Town faced by a nine-man wall of white. It meant, on a bog of a pitch, the Hatters struggled to find their rhythm and Tim Deasy in the visitors' goal was largely untroubled, despite the Town's dominance. The hosts almost came close to snatching all three points in the dying minutes when substitute Taiwo Atieno sent a low shot on the turn past the post with the very last kick of the game which meant it ended all square. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Result from Kenilworth Road Luton Town 2 (Crow 26, Gnakpa 36) Gateshead 2 (Liddle 10, Brittain 16) Final score FULL-TIME All over here and it's ended 2-2 in a real game of two halves. Stay around for reaction, action and much more. 90 + 3 mins - Agony...Atieno screws a shot on the turn the wrong side of the post. 90 + 2 mins - Oooooh, cross from Gnakpa goes across the face of goal but neither Kroca or Atieno can't touch it when any would have surely seen the net bulge. 90 + 1 mins - Half a sniff for the Town, Crow curls a shot from the edge of the area into the Kenny End. 90 mins - Three added minute to try and a last gasp winner... 89 mins - A minute to go now. 87 mins - Three to go now, all hands to the pump as the Town chase a winner. 85 mins - Five to go. Frustration at the minute but will there be a late winner? Let's hope so. 84 mins Six to go, third and final change as Adam Watkins replaces Asafu-Adjaye. 81 mins - Pressure building again as Deasy needs to punch clear through a crowd of players but the Hatters can't turn home the loose ball. 80 mins - 10 to go and in truth Deasy in the visitors goal has a pretty comfortable second half. Can the Town find a way through to snatch the points? 77 mins - Almost a sight of goal for Crow but he can't head on a mis-placed clearance from Curtis. 75 mins - The attendance is a smidgen under 6,000: 5,958 which includes 30 shouting for the visitors. 73 mins - Not going for the Town right now as they break with pace with the right with Gnakpa. An awry clearance from Gateshead almost gifts Atieno the chance but he can't turn before Howells sees an effort go wide from 18 yards. 71 mins - Better from the Hatters - it's certainly not been free-flowing stuff  but the less said about Lawless' shot the better - hooking it on the roof of the Kenny End following Asafu-Adjaye's right wing cross. 69 mins - Oh dear, contender for worst pass of the season as Gnakpa strangely sprays it awkards out to the right to Asafu-Adjaye when it looked a better option to take it forward. 67 mins Second change for the Hatters as MBH shakes the hand of Taiwo Atieno. 64 mins - So 21 left, and don't forget it's 11 versus 10 out there. Half a sight of goal for Mulligan for the visitors, but it's well wide. 62 mins There's the change then, Poku on for Owusu. MBH now in attack with Crow. Poku in central midfield with Lawless on the left. 60 mins - Activity on the Town bench, Poku looking primed for action. 58 mins - Still two a piece here and the frustration is beginning to creep in and Gateshead go close to make it 3-2 as Shaw sees a side-foot shot from 12 yards deflected behind by Pilkington. 54 mins - Then there is half a sight of goal as Asafu-Adjaye crosses deep from the right. It eludes Owusu but drops for MBH but the striker lashes at it and the ball ends up in row Z of the Kenny. 53 mins - Err, in truth: not much to tell you about I'm afraid. The pitch is beginning to cut up which isn't helping ball control for both players. 49 mins - Still all the Hatters but at the minute they are faced by a eight-man wall of Gateshead shirts. This won't be easy to break down. 47 mins - So will this be 45 minutes of non-stop possession? Bright start so far. 46 mins  Right you lot, are you ready for the second half? The Town are, they're kicking off this second 45 shooting towards a Kenilworth Road end that will try and suck in a third goal early doors. There's a change for the visitors - a defender for a midfielder as Craig Baxter replaces Edmundsson. HALF-TIME Referee Merchant calls time on the end of this first 45 minutes full of incident. The Town were 2-0 now but have since pulled in back with two goals in 10 minutes and in the second half they'll be up against just 10 men. Phew. Should be an exciting second half. Join me, won't you, in 15 minutes. 45 mins + 3 - I said we've had it all but we haven't...until now...Gateshead captain Ben Clark is sent-off. 11 v 10 in the second half then... 45 mins - Three added minutes here to find a third before the break... 43 mins - Two minutes to the break in this first half full of thrills and spills. A good game for the neutral. But I'm not a neutral. And neither are you, I assume. 41 mins - It's all go here, end-to-end stuff as back come Gateshead with a last ditch tackle from Kroca to deny Shaw from rampaging through before a deflected shot from Edmunsson flashes past the post. Hearts in mouth time there. 39 mins - Almost a sniff for the Hatters as nice skill from Claude gets him in the box but a dodgy touch later and Gateshead are able to clear. Unlucky. 36 mins  GOOOOOOOOOAL! TOWN 2-2 Gateshead - Well, well, well, two goals in 10 minutes and all of a sudden we're all square. Owusu wins a free-kick 25 yards from goal. Howells swings in it, it eludes everyone and pings back off the post. Everyone's watches it for a second before CLAUDE GNAKPA reacts first to poke the ball over the line and sent Kenilworth Road bonkers. Get in! 34 mins - Blimey almost 1-3 and the visitors still sense blood. Brittain finds space to cross from the right and Jon Shaw finds space in the Hatters' six yard box to send a diving header a yard the wrong side of the post. Let off. 31 mins - All of the today's press box predictions have gone up in smoke, in case you didn't realise. 30 mins - Almost a sniff for Owusu level as the ball drops to him eight yards out after latching onto a high Howells cross but Deasy is there to save and concede a corner that the visitors clear. An equaliser before the break please? This is the Town's best spell so far. 27 mins - Impetutus with the Town now and as Howells stands up a cross from the left that Owusu gets up to head but his effort his off target. This is going to be interesting now. 26 mins GOAL! TOWN 1-2 Gateshead - GAME ON. Lovely goal this and the Town are within one as Gnakpa finds MBH who strokes through a super to DANNY CROW who rounds Deasy and finishes with aplomb from a tight angle. Up goes the noise. 24 mins - Chance. And it's almost 1-2 as Gnakpa raids down the right, goes down, but get up to cross for Owusu who heads on at the near post to an unmarked MBH who turns and sees a shot blocked by the legs of Deasy. 24 mins - Simple equation: The Town need at least three goals to collect three points this afternoon. Sorry for stating the obvious. 21 mins - Frustration is the name of the game here. The visitors have simply shocked all and sundry. A goal for the Town and things will change... 18 mins - Richard Money was certainly on the money yesterday when he said Gateshead would come here intent on winning. They're the better side at the minute, no doubt about that. 17 mins - Shocked looks all round and the Hatters aren't helping themselves as passes go a stray. Plenty of time left to salvage this but it's looking as glum as the grey skies above Kenilworth Road at the minute. They need a goal. 16 mins  GOAL Town 0-2 GATESHEAD - Oh my word. A nice move down the right, started by Tavernier sees MARTIN BRITTAIN send in a right-wing cross that takes a huge deflection off Jake Howells and beats Tyler. Incredible scenes. 13 mins - Ooh, so close to the equaliser as the Hatters try to come to terms with going behind. Crow wins a corner which is swung in by Lawless and met at the near post by Kroca who's swift volley zooms narrowly over the crossbar. Unlucky. 10 mins  GOAL Town 0-1 GATESHEAD - Well this is a turn up for the book and the Hatters' record of clean sheets comes to an end five minutes shy of 600 minutes as the visitors shock Kenilworth Road. MICHAEL LIDDLE picks the ball up 30 yards out, drives forward, looks up and arrows a low shot goalwards that goes past Tyler, in off the post. Plenty of jaws drop. 0-1. 8 mins - All the Hatters in the early stages as Tim Deasy, in the visitors goal gets his hands to Gnakpa's flick-on from Barnes-Homer cross. Owusu was lurking for the knock-down but the keeper was there to smother the danger. 5 mins - Visiting striker Gary Mulligan is let off the hook by referee Merchant after he'd upended Keane. Just a ticking off. 3 mins - So, after those two early sights I'll tell you how the Hatters are lining up: It's Tyler in goal, Asafu-Adjaye at right-back, Kroca and Pilkington at centre half, Howells at left back, Barnes-Homer on the left wing, Gnakpa on the right, Lawless and Keane in the middle with Crow and Owusu up front. 2 mins - Chance. And it should be 1-0 to the Town. Gnakpa slides a pass through into the path of Crow but the striker with time on his side pokes a shot wide of the target with the outside of his right foot. 1 min - 35 second in and the first shot on goal is for the Town but it's off target from Lawless from the edge of the penalty area. 1 min And we're off as Gateshead get us underway, they'll be shooting towards the Kenilworth Road end in this first half. Enjoy the updates. COYH! 14:55 HERE THEY COME Out come the two sides here at Kenilworth Road, Town in his usual orange home strip, Gateshead in their traditional black and white. 14:52 MATCHDAY MUSIC Bryan Adams - Run To You currently rocking Kenilworth Road. 14:50 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 5-0 Luton, Simon Pitts: 1-0 Luton, Ian Pearce: 2-0 Luton, Mike Simmonds: 3-0 Luton, Mark Wood: 3-0 Luton, Bill Cole: 2-0 Luton. 14:40 KEEP IT CLEAN Talking to Simon Pitts and Roger Wash the Hatters are on course to equal a record of seven successive first team clean sheets witha shut-out today. It goes back to the 1923/24 season, beginning on 13th October and ending on 23th November. The Hatters have previously kept seven clean sheets in league competition back in 1993/94. However, there was a 5-1 home defeat to Derby County in that run. 14:36 ON THIS DAY The Hatters have a decent record on this day, 22nd January, winning eight of 13 matches. Last time out the Town were on the wrong end of a seven-goal thriller at AFC Bournemouth in 2008. Perhaps the most memorable was back in 1994 when Scott Oakes' wonder goal secured a 2-1 win over Derby County at Kenilworth Road. 14:31 WEATHER WATCH In two words for you: cold, dull. 14:18 WE THINK Tyler and the usual back four, Matthew Barnes-Homer on the left, Lawless and Keith Keane in central midfield with Crow and Lloyd Owusu in attack. 14:15 THE TEAMS Hatters: Tyler, Asafu-Adjaye, Pilkington, Kroca, Howells, Barnes-Homer, Keane, Lawless, Gnakpa, Owusu, Crow. Subs: Atieno, Poku, O'Donnell, Watkins Kidd. Gateshead: Deasy, Gate, Curtis, Clark, Brittain, Turnbull, Shaw, Mulligan, Liddle, Simun Edmunsson, Tavernier. Subs: Baxter, Farman, Wake, Fisher, Gillies 14:10 THREE CHANGES Quickly tell you there are three changes: Ed Asafu-Adjaye, Alex Lawless and Danny Crow all start. Andy Drury is out with a hamstring injury, Dan Gleeson is missing after being stretchered off on Tuesday and Godfrey Poku drops to the bench. 13:45 ALL CHANGE Talking to Gateshead press officer Jeff Bowron, he tells me only four players are in the visitors' squad today were involved back at Kenilworth Road when the Town won 2-1 way back in August last season. 13:00 TWO DOWN, FIVE TO GO... Good afternoon and welcome you lovely people, it's good to be back...again. Today the Town entertain Gateshead in what will be their third successive game at Kenilworth Road in a sequence of seven in the space of a month. It's been two wins from two so far and confidence in the camp is high following 4-0 and 5-0 victories over Uxbridge and York respectively. The win over the Minstermen last Tuesday was imperative with Crawley and Wimbledon both picking up points from tricky away fixtures. Crawley's win and the Dons' draw put Steve Evans' side top of the table. But it was the emphatic scoreline - five different goalscorers found the net in the week - that sent out a message to the rest of the league that the Hatters are motoring. With half the season still to play, what better time to hit your peak? Not that Richard Money and co. will think that has been hit yet. The win over York also saw the Hatters keep their sixth consecutive clean sheet. The record is seven. It could be equalled today. Not that Gateshead care. In fact Ian Bogie's Tynesiders will fancy their chances of repeating their 1-0 victory over the Town back in September. "Our worst performance of the season," the Town boss recalled at his press conference yesterday. This afternoon's visitors make the long journey south in good form themselves. Three wins on the spin including a 6-0 hammering of Hampton & Richmond in the FA Trophy last Saturday was followed by a 3-0 win over Barrow at the International Stadium on Tuesday. The Heed are now a full-time outfit. Bogie, the first full-time manager at the club in 20 odd years. Their success this season has once again rubbished pre-season predictions of a campaign of toil after surviving last season by the narrowest of margins. So anyone expecting the Hatters to roll over today's visitors can think again. You only have to look back at all three of the past meetings with the clubs over the past two seasons. The Town's two wins and Gateshead's one have all been by the odd goal. Well once more, as ever, win, lose or draw this afternoon lutontown.co.uk will be following every step of the way. As usual 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 fantastic mobile site. Check it out if you're on the move @ http://mobile.lutontown.co.uk 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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